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Developing an Open Catalogue Raisonné Platform: The OpenArt Project

Posted by Kathryn Stine

In conducting art historical or visual studies research, faculty, students, and independent scholars face the challenges of organizing images, descriptions of works, and related visual and textual resources, and, more often than not, do so by using available digital tools that likely were not designed to directly support these activities. Beyond simply organizing, researchers need reliable means for describing and then mining the significant relationships and interconnections that they have found or made between these resources. They may also want to share these resources online in order to promote dialogue and encourage new findings. Each of these pursuits can be addressed through the creation of a digital catalog (or, as appropriate, a catalogue raisonné) backed with a database structure.

In a guest post on the Digital Humanities at Berkeley blog, Senior Digital Curator Kathryn Stine provides an update on a collaborative research project that the Visual Resources Center has been conducting with Associate Professor Elizabeth Honig and incoming graduate student Jess Bailey to design an online toolkit that will support art history or visual studies researchers engaged in creating database-backed digital catalogs, the OpenArt project. The OpenArt project team, which also includes Principal Digital Curator Lynn Cunningham, Senior Digital Curator Jason Hosford, and Drupal consultant, Stephanie Moore, has been working since early 2015 on preliminary designs for a freely available online platform, modeled on Professor Honig's online catalogue documenting Jan Brueghel's work.

OpenArt will ultimately help researchers record, store, link, search, and share images, descriptions, and related resources as a catalog organized around authorship, theme, material and techniques, geography, or other attributes of the artwork or visual culture contained therein. OpenArt has been initially funded by through the Digital Humanities at Berkeley's Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant "Capacity Building and Integration in the Digital Humanities", and through an International Music and Art Foundation grant, along with in-kind support from the Department of the History of Art.

Digital Humanities    Honig    Mellon grant    VRC