Digital Spotlight: Robots Reading Vogue

In this month’s installment of Digital Spotlight, Andy Carter, ATLA Digital Projects Manager, shares Robots Reading Vogue.

The Digital Humanities at Yale University Library acquired the text, scans, and metadata of the entire Vogue catalog (1892-present) from ProQuest. As the library states, “One of the great things about academic libraries is the way they can bring together seemingly disparate research interests–for example, fashion and data mining.” The project includes 27,000 covers, 400,000 pages, and 6 TB of data.

They built some interesting tools, one in particular is the Colormetric Space. According to the library, 

We have long been inspired by the work of Lev Manovich and his Software Studies Initiative. Their team has produced a wonderful free tool called ImagePlot along with copious documentation and examples. Together, these tools and resources allow new and exciting work with image collections, exposing some of the inherent dimensions of visual material such as hue, saturation and brightness. ImagePlot lets us quantitatively visualize how colorful Vogue covers were over time — from the 1890s on the left to the 2010s on the right.

The image selected is from the Colormetric Space and demonstrates how in the late 1970s women’s faces completely filled the covers significantly bumping the average saturation of covers. See their 20,000 pixel-wide graph for more information.

Learn more.

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