BoW Title: Archives & Access project - Tate
Institution: Tate
Designer: In-house
URL: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/
Category: Research / Collections Online

In October 2014, Tate launched online the culmination of a project to digitise a selection of objects from Tate’s Archive. The unique ambition for the project was to integrate our archive collection (where the data sits in a database called CALM) into the same interface as our art collection (where the data sits in a database called TMS), in the Art & artists section of the Tate website. The interface has:

  1. a combined search & browse feature – which enables users to search across both collections via easy touch points such as creator, subject, art movement or date (http://www.tate.org.uk/art/search);
  2. integrated single and multi-piece archive items into the front-end design maintaining the integrity of each object (http://www.tate.org.uk/art/archive/tga-9019-1-4-5-12/gotch-tuke-glass-negative-photograph-of-naked-male-model-lying-on-the-beach and http://www.tate.org.uk/art/archive/tga-7247-39/hepworth-volume-of-sculpture-records);
  3. rich content around archive items – archive objects catalogued to the individual page level and used constituent links, the subject index and artwork reference numbers to enable cross-linking back to the art collection;
  4. maintains each archive collection hierarchy via a breadcrumb and a bespoke page to navigate within each archive collection for super-users who are highly engaged with archive cataloguing techniques (http://www.tate.org.uk/art/archive/tga-9019/the-personal-papers-of-thomas-cooper-gotch-1854-1931-and-henry-scott-tuke-1858-1929);
  5. a new navigation route into just the archive material via a dedicated landing page, called ‘Sketches and letters etc’ so that the type of material in the collection is clearer to non-archive specialists (http://www.tate.org.uk/art/archive).

This project also enabled:

  1. links from artwork and artists pages back to related videos, articles, exhibitions and blogs on the rest of the Tate website (http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/dame-barbara-hepworth-1274);
  2. rich content around material from the Tate Archive via the Animating the Archives film series (http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/video/archive-access-project-animating-archives);
  3. new licensing agreements to release archive material images under Creative Commons so that audiences can download and share the images (http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/blogs/archives-access-project-making-art-common);
  4. revamping the technical infrastructure to provide access to Tate’s databases via a RESTful API and using this to release the source metadata to GitHub using a Creative Commons Zero licence (http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/blogs/archives-access-project-making-art-common).
A screenshot of the search results on the Tate's website

Figure 1: Combining artworks and archive material in the search interface

A screenshot of an scrapbook page from the Tate website

Figure 2. Rich cross linking between archive material and artworks including via shared artists, to artworks in the Tate collection and via a shared subject index