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:
- 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);
- 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);
- 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;
- 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);
- 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:
- 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);
- 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);
- 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);
- 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).