British Museum Launches Searchable Collection Database

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 18, 2007

“Welcome to the British Museum collection database. When complete, it will contain a record of every object in the Museum collection. This is the first release and contains records for the collection of two-dimensional works (almost entirely drawings, prints and paintings) from all over the world. New records and images are being added every week as work on the database continues…The entire database contains records for more than 1,698,000 objects. It is still in its early stages, and work is continuing to improve the information recorded in it. In many cases it does not represent the best available knowledge about the objects. This is being added as fast as possible, but will take many years.”

  • Collection database search – Currently 262,565 objects in the collection are available online 98,745 of these have one or more images. This currently comprises the Museum’s collection of 2-dimensional pictorial art.”
  • Rembrandt reaches the web – James Fenton taps into an online treasure trove, Saturday November 10, 2007, The Guardian: “…The website is unrestricted and you can print off any image. A battle was won before this was allowed to happen, and the result is that anyone – student, teacher or amateur – can get hold of a decent A4 reproduction of the drawing or print they are interested in, for personal use. For scholarly use, there will shortly be an automatic downloading option that gives a free image (for use in a scholarly article or book) of a suitable quality for reproduction. This is going to make an amazing difference in academic life, and it is part of a general trend (begun by Mark Jones at the V&A) of public institutions not charging for educational use of copyright material.”
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