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Interview Transcript

Students now have access to AMICO database
Arts Report, December 22, 1998
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Radio

Michael Crabbe: (host) Art students at the University of Alberta now have access to North America's largest virtual art gallery. It's called the AMICO Database. It contains artworks from some of the most prominent galleries and museums in North America. The U of A is one of two Canadian universities testing out the database in its trial year. In Edmonton, Jennifer Keene has more.

Jennifer Keene (reporter) When professor Colleen Skidmore logs onto the AMICO Database, she can call up the images of 20,000 artworks. They're culled from museums such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Metropolitan Museum and the Art institute of Chicago. Skidmore is using these images to teach a class in Canadian art history at the University of Alberta. So instead of cracking the books, her students are logging on and Skidmore says its bringing her classroom up to date.

Colleen Skidmore (professor) the standard art history textbooks for Canadian subject matter have been textbooks that are focused on painting for the most part, and haven't been updated in the last 10 years, though the discipline of art history has changed tremendously in the last 15 years.

Keene:one of the ways that the discipline has changed is to place a greater emphasis on interactive learning. Colleen Skidmore says that's something the database encourages. Students don't just look at the pictures, they can zoom in and out to get a closer look. They can place images side by side to make comparisons.

Skidmore: It's wonderful. The students are a lot more engaged with the work. Now as a good example, we have tow students sit at each monitor. They have to talk to each other. It's a way of increasing the interaction both with the material and it's so - as you can see looking at it - visually the quality is so high that they become enthusiastic just looking at it.

Keene: Colleen Skidmore says the technology was a hit with students in the first semester. She says their attendance was better, and most importantly, they took away a greater understanding of Canadian art history. For the Arts Report, I'm Jennifer Keene in Edmonton.


In June of 2005, the members of the Art Museum Image Consortium voted to dissolve their collaboration. This site remains online for archival reasons.