Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Atlas database of exhibits at Musee du Louvre

Louvre has various online databases which are available online. Atlas is a database of exhibits at Musee de Louvre.
The Atlas database currently contains 35,000 works-98% of the museum’s exhibits, distributed are as follows:
-Near Eastern Antiquities: 5777
-Islamic Art: 1283
-Egyptian Antiquities: 4851
-Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities: 6099
-Decorative Arts: 6613
-Sculptures: 1764
-Paintings: 3507
-Prints and Drawings: 113
-Medieval Louvre and History of the Louvre: 136
The database is constantly updated and new images are being added all the time.
Online consultation allows visitors access the basic information displayed on labels accompanying works in the museum, together with authoritative commentary and analysis by the curators and staff. However, the explanatory texts in the database are currently available in French only.
Online visitors could carry out simple or advanced searches by keyword, artist, title, inventory number, medium, technique, department or room. It meets the needs of users at different level. Furthermore, Atlas allows visitors to create a personalized album. When printed, the selected works are grouped by location within the museum (wing and floor number).
Simple search is convenient to those visitors who might not have specific purpose but just randomly search. Visitors could start the searching with artists’ names or works’ names and choose numbers of works displayed per page. The pages comes out with the thumbnails of the works and relevant information such as artist, title, location as well as department information are associated with the thumbnails. Visitors could learn more details about an individual work by clicking the thumbnail. For example, there is a visual illustration of the work’s actual location at Louvre. Visitors have a chance to see the works closely via a pop-out window but are not allowed to scroll through the images. Further, there’s another chance for visitors to get close to the images, they pre-set the images in parts and visitors could click the names of the parts. That is all what a visitor could do with the image.
As Louvre is the most famous museum in the world, its online database, as I see, should be given the same reputation. It is user-friendly, and provides the possibility of online tour to worldwide patrons. The metadata is benefit and if they have English version on the explanation, it would be much friendly.

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