(V&A) As a live database, "Search the Collections" will continually grow and be updated as new research and photography is carried out, objects are moved and new acquisitions made.
V&A Museum Puts Details of One Million Objects on Website
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SEPTEMBER 28, 2010
Victoria & Albert Museum

The V&A has made available over one million records detailing objects in its collections ranging from well known treasures such as Tippoo’s Tiger to less familiar paintings and ceramics. People using Search the Collections, at collections.vam.ac.uk, will find images of more than 100,000 objects with more images and details to follow as they become available.
The online records vary from detailed studies written by curators to more basic inventory information which might include the maker, provenance, production technique and style. Visitors can also look up whether an object is on display and where in the Museum it can be found.
As a live database, Search the Collections will continually grow and be updated as new research and photography is carried out, objects are moved and new acquisitions made.
Mark Jones, Director of the V&A, said, “This is a very exciting development for the V&A as for the first time we are able to make our wealth of knowledge and expertise available to everybody. We know our visitors and website users want to know more about the V&A’s collections, whether it is a school child working on a project or an artist or craftsperson looking for inspiration.”
Users explore the site by clicking on images that scroll across the screen or by accessing the powerful search engine that identifies objects by type, maker, date, material or location in the V&A. Google maps show places of origin. Text mining technologies also allow searching of all the text associated with an object so for the first time researchers are able to move from one theme to another.
Collective intelligence gathered from people using the site will influence future developments. The V&A will track the way the search facility is being used to create new connections between objects and adding frequently used research categories. Crowdsourcing will harness the public’s help to improve the way information is presented on the site, for example by selecting the most useful photograph crops.
Search the Collections was designed by The Other Media and created by the V&A’s web team using a range of existing open source technologies freely available on the internet. The raw data of the collection records has also been made available through an API making it possible for the information to be used in many innovative ways across web and mobile technologies.