An interview in the KU Leuven university journal Campuskrant with prof. Lieve Watteeuw the KU Leuven, contributions to the FINGERPRINT project have been highlighted in length. The Campus article focuses on the work with the original drawings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder and how the imaging effort by the FINGERPRINT-team have made the difference to better understand the virtuosity of Breugel the artist. These results will also be presented on the KBR exhibition: The World of Bruegel in Black and White.
The Imaging Lab was responsible for the digitisation of all drawings and prints and also carried out the advanced imaging enabling in-depth visualisations.
KU Leuven Libraries presents a new platform: Digital Heritage Online. It gathers all digitized heritage objects from its collections, with objects dating from the 9th up to the 20th century, in one viewing interface. The platform enables users to browse these digitized objects in an open and visually appealing way. It also provides a search environment within the Digital Heritage Online collection.
The user may browse the collections and items based on either content theme, material type, or location of the physical object. A fourth entry shows which objects were made digitally available during the previous three months.
Start window of Digital Heritage Online platform with four entries to discover the database.
By clicking on an object thumbnail within the collection, the user can consult the extended bibliographic information in the library catalogue and view the full object online.
Catalogue item description with ‘Teneo’ link to view the full object and detailed bibliographic information.
Additionally, the extended object description names all collections to which the object belongs and shows other related items. This allows for contextualized browsing of the digitized collection in the library catalogue environment.
Catalogue item description with ‘Collection path’ showing the collections to which a single item belongs as well as thumbnails of related collection items, two features supporting contextualised browsing.
One can also execute specific searches within the Digital Heritage Online collection, excluding non-digitized collection items in the search results. Searches may be performed either in Digital Heritage Online as a whole or within its subcollections. Searches via the blue search button will include items in collections outside of the Digital Heritage Online platform.
Search results for ‘Leuven’ in the Digital Heritage Online collection, employing the search box on the left.
Digital Heritage Online may be accessed either directly via this link or through the homepage of KU Leuven Libraries’ integrated search interface and catalogue: Limo, by clicking on ‘Curated Collections’.
Limo homepage view with access to Digital Heritage Online as one of the ‘curated collections’.
Over the past ten years, KU Leuven Libraries has intensively worked on digitizing its documentary heritage. At the time of writing this blog post, the digitized collection held almost 88.000 objects and it is continuously expanding week by week.
Since 2016, we have focused our attention on opening up our digitized collection in a clearer and more user-friendly way. While we keep in mind the FAIR principles as a long-term goal, the most pressing needs were increasing the findability and accessibility of the collection. Parts of the collection were already available through aggregator platforms such as Europeana and Flandrica or KU Leuven platforms such as Magister Dixit and Lovaniensia. A selection of heritage objects figure in virtual exhibitions on our EXPO site. And whenever copyright and intellectual property rights allow consultation and use, digitized collection items can be consulted through Limo, the library’s integrated search interface mentioned above, where users can search the full library catalogue and view items that have a digital representation online.
The Digital Heritage Online platform now provides a clear access point and a search environment for our digitized heritage. It enables a unified view on all digitized content and a true visual browsing environment. It is, naturally, only a first step into opening up the digitized collection. Opening up the data itself (images, metadata and content) for use and reuse is firmly positioned on our agenda. But for now: happy exploring!
Digital Heritage Online is the result of a close collaboration between different services of KU Leuven Libraries. LIBIS took care of the design and technical development of the Collection Discovery platform in KU Leuven Libraries’ catalogue and search interface. Digital Heritage Online was the pilot project for this new Limo implementation. Together with the various collection curators and thanks to the many digitisation projects, the Digitisation Department designed a structure for the various sub-collections. Technical operations for bringing together the many heritage object descriptions in the correct Alma collections were carried out in collaboration with the Document Processing Department. The content coordination of Digital Heritage Online is in the hands of the Digitisation Department.
KU Leuven Libraries is happy to present a new online platform for accessing its fragile heritage collections online: EXPO.
EXPO offers virtual exhibitions and a gallery of individual collection items, and informs about digitization and imaging projects at the library.
The virtual exhibitions connect collection items with other works and may or may not be a continuation of actual library exhibitions. Exceptional works from the KU Leuven Libraries’ collections are highlighted in the gallery, which gathers both recognized masterpieces and other fascinating works with a unique story. The project pages introduce the website visitor to ongoing and past activities in the field of digitization. Both initiatives aiming at the digital disclosure of the library collections as well as projects in the context of research and technical imaging are presented.
EXPO is the result of a close collaboration between various departments. Exhibition curators, collection keepers, and other heritage collaborators and partners create the exhibitions and fill the gallery with collection highlights. LIBIS carried out the technical implementation of the site as part of the Heron (Heritage Online) service. The site is based on the open source web publishing platform Omeka. For the site’s development, LIBIS created a direct connection between Omeka, the library management system Alma and the preservation system Teneo/Rosetta, allowing curators to work within a single, integrated environment. The coordination of EXPO is taken on by KU Leuven Libraries Digitisation & Document Delivery. This department manages digitisation projects, executes digitisation in its Imaging Lab and supports research projects with bespoke digitisation techniques and the specific expertise required for scientific imaging.
The Imaging Lab is partner in the ArtGarden research project. The project aims to test and develop an efficient (“best practices”) matrix (tool – protocol) for monitoring, imaging and documenting (art-technical), fragile historic mixed media objects. This is used to facilitate decision making during conservation and preservation practice.
The Imaging Lab is involved to investigate the historical materials and techniques through scientific imaging tools such as multi-spectral imaging or the Microdome (developed within the RICH project)
The focus of the project is the guiding and evaluation of conservation treatment and the transportation, display in a museum environment and long-term storage of complex degraded historic mixed media artefacts. Up until now, guidelines have concentrated on one material characteristic. The complex nature of a large number of historic mixed-media artefacts in museum collections is more challenging and less developed. The ArtGarden project combines documentation, conservation and preservation protocols (Terminology defined by ICOM-CC, New Delhi, 2008) to create an innovative tool to support collection care, maintenance, display and valorization of complex historic collection artefacts.
Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, KIK/IRPA
University of Antwerp
In a previous blogpost, we introduced the FINGERPRINT project. FINGERPRINT is an interdisciplinary collection and data management project on the exceptional collection of graphic works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (ca. 1520-1569). It involves the collection and processing of a large amount of visual and material data. To obtain that visual data we have an extensive toolbox at our disposal: a high resolution medium format digital back, a motorized repro stand, a Nikon DSLR modified for multispectral imaging with a collection of multispectral filters, the RICH microdomes and much more. A brief overview. Continue reading →
Pieter Bruegel, Justitia, S II 133 707 (detail), 1559, 224 x 295 mm, KBR Print Room, Brussels, Imaging with Multi-Spectral Microdome (RICH project)
The Imaging Lab is one of the partners in FINGERPRINT: an interdisciplinary collection- and data management project, involving art history, art technical research, digital imaging, image processing, conservation science.
The aim is to monitor and evaluate the phases of the genesis of a print, from the unique preparatory drawings over proof impressions to later states and editions. This will be accomplished through advanced digital imaging, statistical processing and laboratory analyses.
The graphic works of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (ca. 1520-1569) in the collection of the Royal Library of Belgium is the test corpus for the FINGERPRINT project. The tools and methods developed to gather and treat the data will be designed to answer specific questions regarding the prints and drawings from this corpus. These questions concern both collection management, technical art history and conservation science as well as production, distribution and consumption history of the corpus of artifacts of Bruegel. Continue reading →