Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research
  The British Channel Seen from the Dorsetshire Cliffs (detail) 1871

Creating an on-line interactive database to aid research into historic printmaking processes and techniques

Awarding body: AHRC
Awarded to:Dr Paul Thirkell,
Researchers: Victoria Hill
Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers diploma print collection
Project details:
The proposed research was to construct an on-line database cataloguing the works contained in the print collection of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, founded in 1880 by Francis Seymour Haden. The research included digital reproductions of the works alongside the descriptive and technical information relating to the print as well as biographical details pertaining to each artist The importance of the collection lies in the fact that it spans a period of 125 years and includes examples from a diverse group of printmakers including established and emerging artists.

Through increasing access to this collection and supplying supplementary information, such as biographical detail, this body of work proved a significant contribution to the history of printmaking. The body of information contained in the database will also help to form a social and technical contextual framework for the prints to be viewed through, preventing the prints from being viewed in isolation.

Running alongside this is the idea of research into what constitutes best practice when designing and building databases to present a collection through. This will include looking at issues such as methodologies for identifying and capturing the relevant information from the physical collection, structuring this information to the best effect in the database as well as creating strategies for knowledge retrieval.