I updated the Bestiary site today. If you are wondering why I update so infrequently, well… it’s a lot of work!

This update is mostly about images, with an addition of about 400 from various sources. I have decided to use whatever images I can get my hands on; previously I was only using public domain images or images I had permission to use. I have now decided that art produced hundreds of years ago does not properly belong to anyone (or belongs to everyone), that copyright claims on such art or reproductions of it are bogus (a view upheld by the courts), and I have the right (nay, even a duty) to make the images available to all. This gives me a much larger stock of images to work with, and I am ever so slowly (a lot of work, remember?) adding more of them to my database.

A note on image quality: I grab medieval animal images from a lot of sources, and in many cases I have no control over the quality of the image. The digital facsimiles of manuscripts that libraries and museums publish  on the web are often of surprisingly low quality, and while I can (and do) use Photoshop tricks to improve the images somewhat, there is a limit to what can be done. This means you will see a wide variation in image quality here; I include these less than ideal images in the hope that they will be of some use. By the way, my use of Photoshop is only to enhance the appearance of images; I do not alter the image content on the main site, though I do sometimes take liberties on the Chimaera blog.

This update also fixes a bunch of broken links. People will move web pages around, leaving my links dangling. Unfortunately, a few of the pages I linked to have vanished entirely, so I have had to remove the links.

There are also updates to most sections of the site, but nothing major. I have plans for site revisions, but they will also be a lot of work, so don’t stay up waiting for them to appear.

Statistics! Everybody likes numbers, right? Right? Well, never mind, I like them, so here’s a bunch:

Number of visits to bestiary.ca in 2008: 454,238   
Number of page views in 2008: 1,478,193
Number of beasts: 141
Number of manuscripts: 257
Number of bibliography entries: 1521
Number of beast images: 1303

Do try the “wall of beasts” on the Beasts page; it goes on forever now.