Press Room » Archives » July 2021

Notre Dame launches platform for online access to Hesburgh Library, Snite Museum holdings

Author: Gina Costa

Marble News Rep V2 01

The Hesburgh Libraries and the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame have launched Marble (Museum, Archives, Rare Books and Libraries Exploration) — an online teaching and research platform designed to make distinctive cultural heritage collections from across the University accessible through a single portal.


The development of Marble was made possible, in part, by a three-and-one-half-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create an open-access, unified software solution that would enable universities to access museum and library holdings through a single online platform.


University libraries, archives and museums nationwide have been digitizing collections for well over a decade and have long sought collaborative solutions that would enable their respective holdings to be easily discovered online and used for teaching and research. However, there have been many obstacles preventing efficient and expansive research across collections, including disparate technical systems, discipline-specific practices and descriptive metadata norms.


A cross-disciplinary team developed Marble to address this universal challenge and to help transform teaching and research at Notre Dame and other institutions facing similar needs.


“Thanks to the hard work of so many in the Hesburgh Libraries and Snite Museum of Art and the generosity of the Mellon Foundation, Notre Dame is transforming the way scholars on campus and around the world further knowledge and advance research,” said Marie Lynn Miranda, the Charles and Jill Fischer Provost. “Its a wonderful privilege for Notre Dame to play a role in preserving these important cultural heritage collections and in making those collections easier to access, explore, and investigate.”


The Snite Museum of Art, Rare Books & Special Collections and the University Archives have historically been independent gateways for faculty and students to engage with research collections, historical information and cultural objects. Users could access the physical collections at different locations and some item descriptions online, but few resources have been made available as digital surrogates, let alone through a single web platform.


In this unified discovery space, users now have open access to a selection of digitized cultural heritage collections that were once inaccessible. While these digitized materials are only a fraction of the University’s holdings, cross-institutional teams will collaborate to add new items regularly.


“The museum is grateful to be a part of this research partnership and the initial phase of the Marble project,” said Joseph Antenucci Becherer, director of the Snite Museum. “Offering the academy, and all users, access to our collections is deeply meaningful and useful in guiding the future of both research and teaching, not to mention pure enjoyment for even the more casual, curious user.” 


“Marble offers key features that fundamentally transform the way digital collections can be used for teaching and research,” said Diane Parr Walker, the Edward H. Arnold University Librarian. “The museum and library collaboration and the grant outcomes will have a transformational impact on pedagogical access, scholarly engagement and research outcomes at Notre Dame.”


Faculty, students and the general public can browse Marble and download select digitized materials from the Snite Museum of Art, Rare Books & Special Collections and the University Archives in a single platform — including books, manuscripts, sculptures, paintings, photographs, ephemera and more. Each item displays one or more images with descriptive information and linked metadata to view related or similar items.


At the heart of Marble is an open-source image sharing standard called IIIF, or the International Image Interoperability Framework. IIIF is a set of universal specifications that provides a standardized way of storing and displaying images. One of the benefits of using IIIF images is that they can be viewed alongside other IIIF-compliant images from institutions around the world. IIIF viewing features include zoom, rotation, color manipulation, comparable viewing and options for cross-institutional research.


The Portfolio tool turns members of the Notre Dame community into curators, allowing each person to create customized lists and collections of content. Users browse, search and easily save items of interest into portfolios for future viewing. Portfolios are versatile — they can be shared for teaching, used for course assignments or annotated for individual research. They can remain private for personal use or be shared with students, campus peers or the public.


“Marble’s features are designed to facilitate primary resource discovery and streamline the research process. This platform allows for deep integration of the University’s cultural heritage holdings — regardless of where they reside,” said Mikala Narlock, digital collections strategy librarian. “We hope Marble will become an essential and indispensable platform for teaching and learning with digital collections at Notre Dame.”


The University of Notre Dame shares the Mellon Foundation’s commitment to advancing museum-library collaborations through freely available, scalable solutions.


The Marble software has been developed in the cloud, making it more scalable and less costly than software deployed on a local network infrastructure. It uses a harvest model to draw descriptive information from key source systems and features a shared administrative back-end to augment harvested data. This solution is possible due to a shared understanding of different descriptive terms.


In addition to a technical solution, the grant team facilitated critical social infrastructure conversations to optimize collection management and metadata workflows. The development roadmap will enable new features and continue to improve collaboration between libraries and museums.


The code for the Marble project was developed and will be maintained by the Hesburgh Libraries development team. The platform code is openly licensed under an Apache 2.0 license and available on GitHub. Project documentation, technical diagrams, collaborative processes and best practices are published on the Open Science Framework.


Online access to these selections of distinctive cultural heritage materials at Notre Dame is free and open to the public. Visit often to see new materials and featured portfolios published throughout the year.


Consultations and demonstrations for using Marble in teaching, research or general study are available by appointment. Contact Mikala Narlock,, to arrange a time.


Contact: Gina Costa, Snite Museum of Art, 574-631-4720,; Tara O’Leary, Hesburgh Libraries, 574-631-1856,  Marble Release

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Jim Dine: American Icon opens August 21 at the Snite Museum of Art

Author: Gina Costa

Jime Dine At The SniteScreen Shot 2021 07 16 At 8


From an Extraordinary Gift comes an Exhibition: Jim Dine: American Icon opens August 21 at the Snite Museum of Art



Notre Dame, IN: The Snite Museum of Art and the University of Notre Dame are honored to announce the exhibition Jim Dine: American Icon. Made possible by the artist’s exceptional gift of a collection of two hundred and thirty-eight prints, covering nearly every aspect of Dine’s repertoire from 1969 to the present, the exhibition draws from the collection to highlight every significant facet of the artist’s renowned body of work.


Jim Dine: American Icon will be on view from August 21 through December 11, 2021, at the Museum.


Among the most distinguished figures in Contemporary art, Dine has been at the forefront of the American avant-garde since the Pop Art movement of the 1950s and ’60s. Born in Cincinnati, Dine attended the Art Academy of Cincinnati before transferring to Ohio University. Immediately following graduation, he moved to New York, fell in with Claes Oldenburg and Alan Kaprow, and participated in numerous Happenings in the late 1950s and early 1960s. His work was a vital presence in most of the Pop movement’s defining exhibitions. In contrast to the cool remove of Oldenburg’s and Andy Warhol’s work, and Roy Lichtenstein’s link to popular imagery, Dine focused on a series of icons that often held personal significance: images of tools, the heart, the “Venus de Milo,” and Pinocchio, among others, played a critical role in his iconography.


Best known for his paintings and sculpture, Dine is also among the most prodigious and prolific printmakers of his time, often combining techniques to a highly inventive end. The earliest works in the Museum’s gift are lithographs and etchings from the late 1960s and notable woodcuts from the 1980s.


Dating to 1875, the University of Notre Dame art collections are among the most acclaimed in the United States. Dine’s transformative gift is among the largest and most distinguished presented to the University by a single artist; it both increases the Museum’s holdings in Contemporary art and significantly contributes to its highly-regarded collection of works on paper.


You are invited to a public reception for the exhibition hosted by the Friends of the Snite Museum on Thursday, August 26, 5-7:00 p.m.  The reception is free and open to all.


image credit:

Jim Dine (American, born 1935)

Rancho Woodcut Heart, 1982

Woodcut, 47 3/4 x 40 1/2 inches

Gift of Jim Dine


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