A Georeferenced Historical Database
BasArt collects, standardizes, and, where necessary, quantifies, stores and makes available in a variety of ways, including for machine-to-machine automatic interaction, information found in art historians’ traditional primary sources, namely exhibition catalogues, catalogues raisonnés, auction catalogues, gallery directories, publishing catalogues, etc.
Organized in a PostGIS database, this historical data can be statistically analyzed and processed through both traditional, desktop-based GIS software and through web-based spatial services and analytic platforms (see F. de Maupeou and L. Saint‑Raymond’s contribution to Artl@s Bulletin, Volume I, Issue 1 (Fall 2012): 41‑47).
A Platform for Digital Collaboration
BasArt is a collaborative project. Users are contributors. BasArt is continuously growing and expanding as the scholars who are using it add to it. Note that its enrichment follows strict criteria: any data entered must be sourced, linked to its authors, and verified by a scientific committee.
Furthermore, contributing researchers receive feedback and converse with the committee, which ensures healthy two-way communication and gives participants an incentive to improve the project’s data. This process also guarantees the validity of the information found in the database.
In addition, Artl@s contributors receive more than they contribute; when they share their data, they are granted access to data sets that have been entered in the database by other scholars. BasArt thus creates strong incentives for sharing information and provides a platform for digital collaboration.
An Innovative Relational Database
The significance of BasArt is that it centralizes and further disseminates information which art historians have at their disposal but do not have the means to process on their own.
Its strength rests on its relational capacity, which automatically connects data entered by different scholars working on different projects, thereby generating new data. For example, as information is added we may discover that an individual who collected works by this and that artist also wrote in this journal and worked in the building of that gallery.
BasArt is therefore an indispensable tool for precise and comprehensive information on dates, places, titles, names, etc. that cannot be found elsewhere. It also has the capacity to automatically georeference addresses entered, even if they no longer exist.
Project Management: Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel, Catherine Dossin, and Léa Saint-Raymond
BasArt Design and Programming: Yann Le Boulanger.
Query and Visualization Interface: Yann Le Boulanger, and the Artlas Team, under the direction of B. Joyeux-Prunel and C.Dossin.