Visual Arts Network For The Exchange Of Cultural Knowledge
The Van Eyck project (Visual Arts Network for the Exchange of Cultural Knowledge) aims to realise a system which will allow users in the art history, museum and educational field, as well as other groups of users, to simultaneously access multiple art historical databases.
Goals of the project
Many art historical libraries and archives in Europe and throughout the world maintain extensive collections of textual and image information on all aspects of art in its broadest sense. Many of these collections are being digitised, allowing individual users access to the wealth of information, albeit on a one-to-one basis, i.e. access is only possible to one database at a time. To facilitate the use of cultural information and improve accessibility, a system is needed which will allow users to access numerous files/databases at the same time. The Van Eyck project (Visual Arts Network for the Exchange of Cultural Knowledge) aims to realise such a system which will allow users in the art history, museum and educational field, as well as other groups of users, to simultaneously access multiple art historical databases.
Target user addressed
The market for a Van Eyck system can be divided into three main sectors:
- Art History Libraries and Archives, and researchers.
- Museums, publishers, auction houses, art dealers, police, customs and insurance companies.
- The educational community (universities, colleges and secondary education).
The primary market will be Europe and the USA, but it may be extended to include Australia, East Asia and (parts of ) Africa.
The technology used for Van Eyck is based on client/server technology. The basis is formed by Oracle databases at the participating archives, containing the data of these archives. Access will be mainly given through TCP/IP and standard web interfaces, built with HTML and Java scripting, but PTP connections using ISDN are also possible.
Van Eyck II has by nature a EU coverage, but extends also outside the boundaries of the EU as regards users and information providers.
A fully operational Van Eyck system will support researchers by giving them an insight into where and what type of information can be found. The Van Eyck Core Record information is by nature a limited data format, but it does list all the most relevant data related to a work of art. More information may be held in the production databases of the Van Eyck information providers, which can be accessed on a one-to-one basis. As researchers will have more information about which archive holds the information or expertise they require, their personal travel may diminish. On the other hand, access to the system may lead to more cultural tourism as potential visitors of (museum) collections find a thematic overview of art matching their interests.
A full Van Eyck system will reflect Europe's cultural richness, while allowing for cultural diversity. If and when education establishments use the system, it will open up Europe's culture to students, giving them an insight into its richness, and providing them with essential information needed for their studies. Elderly and less able people will also be given access to a culture source of unprecedented scale and variety, enabling them to participate fully in Europe's culture. When the scope of the project is broadened to the USA and other parts of the world at a later stage, the diversity of information offered by Van Eyck will even be greater.
Progress and results
The Consortium will have the web interface ready by mid 2000, and expects to be operational within the time span of the project (2 years).
Reports to be available on the Website
The main results of the project will be made available on the project's website, limited to public documents:
- core record
- marketing and business information
- test versions of database access