Our Information Management System is specifically designed to enable researchers to fill gaps, correct errors, and bring vital information about artworks up to date.
The software follows cataloging best practices as recommended by leading members of the Catalogue Raisonné Scholars Association • we refer to the Visual Resources Association guidelines for describing cultural works and images • we use The Chicago Manual of Style as a guide in formatting texts.
And we continuously work with professionals in the art industry to improve and update our product features and protocols.
“One of our challenges is to create a complex online reference tool that can cover the many aspects of Lichtenstein’s work – sometimes it is rather difficult to establish a clear and integrated architecture. But with the help of our panOpticon database we are making great progress.”
The System utilizes uniform data standards, automatically formats and styles data, uses controlled vocabularies whenever possible, allows you to manage relationships yourself, contains an authoring environment, and is a publishing tool.
|Notable Feature: Uniform Data Standards
Our Software architecture conforms to the guidelines of the Catalogue Raisonné Scholars Association. We use Categories for the Description of Works of Art as a standard for describing cultural objects and The Chicago Manual of Style as a style guide. And we work continuously with professional catalogers to update and improve our Software protocols. Uniform data standards not only promote the recording of information consistently, but are fundamental to retrieving it efficiently. They improve content management, eliminate redundancy, and encourage data sharing.
Components There are different ways to enter the catalogue, including indices of Works, Owners, Exhibitions, and Literature. The index pages display fifty records at a time, along with a number of methods to filter, sort, and navigate through selected data sets.
The Works Index is a display of all the works in the catalogue with a thumbnail and link to each individual record. The list can be sorted by alternate catalogue number, date(s), title, etc., or sorted by title, decade, medium, theme, or attribution. The input/edit screens for description, provenance, exhibition histories, and published references can be accessed from the Works Index.
The Owners Index is a full list of owners linked to their respective contact records. The list can be filtered by name, location, type, or present owners only. The list can also be sorted by name, or location. Sensitive information regarding owners and ownership is hidden from all but the administrator.
The Exhibitions Index displays all the exhibitions in the database. The list can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically. It can also be filtered by sponsor/venue, location, show type (i.e. solo, group), or by decade.
The Literature Index displays all the literature in the database. The list can be sorted alphabetically or chronologically. It can also be filtered by author, publication type (i.e. book, journal, newspaper, exhibition catalogue), or by decade.
Editing and Managing Content The well-organized interface allows for ease of managing data. Prompts next to data entry fields give immediate assistance. A complete user manual is available online as well.
|Notable Feature: Automatic Formatting and Styling
Our interface prompts you to enter data properly just by the way it’s laid out. All data attached to a record is displayed on the left side of the screen. To the right is a preview of just the information meant to be published. As soon as you input and update a record, the result appears on your screen—correctly formatted and styled—exactly as it will look when it’s published.
Every catalogue entry is divided into four sections, each with its own editing/input screen.
Description contains information about an object’s characteristics and attribution such as title, creation date(s), medium(s) & support, measurements, signature, inscriptions, marks & labels, condition, current location, and credit line.
Provenance traces the entire ownership history of a work from the time it left the Artist’s studio to the present day and displays it chronologically.
Exhibition histories: Each work record is linked to every exhibition. [The visual display shows every work in an exhibition in the order it appeared on the checklist or catalog, along with its lender’s name if known. [add: solo, group, traveling.]
Published references Each work is connected to every text where it was ever referenced (including websites). The interface guides you through the process of entering a book as opposed to a journal, a newspaper as opposed to a chapter in a book or a catalog, etc.
|Notable Feature: Controlled Vocabularies
We keep free-text fields to a minimum, since a cataloger is often forced to cram too much or too diverse data into these. Instead, we use larger sets of controlled fields, each with their own separate vocabularies. Controlled vocabularies are groups of preferred words or phrases of delimited scope (linked to authority files) that are used to index and retrieve content efficiently. As a simple example, we have different fields for a newspaper date and a journal date. An added benefit is that each of these dates is differently styled by the tool.
Intrinsic and Extrinsic Relationships Related works are works in the catalogue which have intrinsic relationships to each other. Some works are related because one appears on the back of the other (recto/verso). Some works are related because one may be a study, or a model, or sketch for the other. Some works are best understood in the context of a series. The cataloger links related works together.
|Notable Feature: Manage Relationships Yourself
All relationships are managed by the cataloger including the cross-linking of images, supplementals (maps, diagrams, photos, videos, sound files), condition & examination reports, stockbooks & archives, editions, versions, series & sets, studies, macquettes, keywords and commentaries.
Some catalogues don’t include a place for extrinsic relationships, since some institutions find it unnecessary to identify them. We have accommodated these types of works and given over to the cataloger the ability to define as many tables for the gathering of this kind of documentation. They include letters, news clippings, posters, manifests, photographs (old and new) of motifs and subjects, conservation reports, x-ray and infrared images, site maps, and graphics specially created for purposes of comparison and interpretation. Everything stored in these tables can be put to use by cross-linking them to works in the catalogue. Catalogers also need to incorporate documentation and research, and prepare them for publication. You can compose texts directly in our tool.
|Notable Feature: Authoring Environment
One advantage to having an authoring environment is being able to format and style texts in your tool and keep them with your content. Another is to be able to mutually link texts to works and other documents in your catalogue.
Searching / Reporting / Exporting There are a significant number ways to filter, sort, and search the catalogue’s data. There are also a variety of ways to collect, print, flag data, save lists and data sets, create reports, and export data as excel spreadsheets or as word documents.
|Notable Feature: Publish Whenever You Wish
Your back-end is joined to your site, so you publish online right from your tool. You can update your publication yourself whenever you’re ready, so it remains timely.
With all the Software’s extras you can create enriched website add-ons (animated or interactive elements) that draw from deeper levels of your database content.
Top of page: Susannah Shepherd of panOpticon (center) working with Andrea Theil, Catalogue Raisonné Manager and Researcher (left) and Crystal Sourour, Assistant to the Catalogue Raisonné Manager (right), both of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, New York.
Seeing is believing: arrange for an online demonstration.