Professor’s site earns spot on Britannica list of top sources

An honor has recently been bestowed upon a faculty member of Sam Houston State University, one that very few people know about. The Picasso Project by Dr. Enrique Malln, a professor of Spanish, has been chosen by the editors of Encyclopedia Britannica as a Britannica iGuide site.

The Britannica iGuide is a directory of the Internet’s best sites, as determined by the editors of the prestigious information bank. Every year, the editors handpick websites that are of the best quality to be featured under their topic section. These cream-of-the-crop sites are then linked with Britannica information, so that any searcher will get both sites as results.

This year, the site researched, developed and designed by Malln was chosen.

Malln’s site is an in-depth look at the famous Spanish painter and sculptor, including 665 catalogued artworks, 10,497 biographical entries, 3,667 references and 6,631 articles, just to name a few.

“The Picasso Project is designed to be a never-ending endeavor,” Malln said. “My goal is to compile the most detailed resource on a single artist ever created. The information in our multiple and interrelated databases needs to be updated on a daily basis. The reason for this is that Picasso’s works continue to be exhibited worldwide, they continue to be transferred from museum to museum, from gallery to gallery and new aspects of his career are examined in upcoming books, etc.”

Dr. Malln began the project as an instructional tool and it grew and grew over the years. He has taught art history for over a decade at different universities, and saw how dramatically instructional technology changed.

“I have had the opportunity to see instructional technology change drastically,” Malln said. “The most commonly used tool earlier on was the slide projector. When the Internet started, I immediately realized the advantages of showing artworks in large format on the screen.”

This accomplishment is important for SHSU because it shows the exceptional quality of the faculty within their field and within the ever-expanding realm of Internet information gathering.

“The Picasso Project has transformed the way we examine an artist’s career. Just the amount of artworks available for study and comparison is astounding,” Malln said. “In my classes we go through hundreds of images, examining and comparing features across paintings, etc. Students are also able to read detailed art-historical commentaries on hundreds of artworks while they see them displayed on the screen.”

Professors and students from many different fields such as art history, literature, and computer science, collaborated with Malln to work on the project, including graduate students completing their theses.

The main goal of the Britannica iGuide project, according to Malln, is to bring the best websites to the forefront so users don’t have to slosh through a variety of irrelevant websites. To be listed as one of the best of the best available online is an honor.

“[Encyclopedia Britannica] realized that the Internet is a tremendous source of information. However, this information needs to be filtered, as the Internet also contains thousands of pages with incorrect or irrelevant information,” Malln said.

Now that his site is listed on the Encyclopedia’s guide, Malln can be confident that his “never-ending project” will have a wide audience following its evolution.

“What distinguishes the Picasso Project from a paper publication is that it continues to grow as new information is entered,” Malln said. “Pablo Picasso is the most important artist of the 20th century, so I started with him and I have yet to finish.”

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