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Telematics for Libraries - Projects


Updated: 07 SEP 98

Project Number and Title
1054 - Visual Arts Network for the Exchange of Cultural Knowledge
Programme/Action line Call Topic(s) Start End Project Duration
in Months
FP 3/ IV Theme 17 January 1993 July 1997 43 months for both phases I and II
image banks; image capture; image recognition; image indexing; remote image delivery; EURO-ISDN; copyright

blue bullet Additional information is available from the VAN EYCK web site . (

New bibliographic record products and services applying internationally recognised standards (Theme: 17)
Project description
The project developed the technical means for storing, selecting and transmitting high quality images in digital form held in the collections of three art history photographic libraries.
It built upon relevant experience of projects in the field of arts & technology funded under other EU programmes.
The project was split in two phases. Phase one was completed in 1994 and focussed on user and market needs, cataloguing, the feasibility of the system and the exploration and testing of image recognition techniques.
In phase II, a pilot system was developed. Phase II started early 1995 and envisages EURO-ISDN links between the three libraries involved, the operational prototype, based on client-server architecture, piloted links to sister institutions and the complete core record structure which has been easily adaptable for other related databases. A representative sample of records (2500 scanned photographs) was entered into the system which allowed testing in a real environment. The image recognition technology was implemented into the system.
At a later stage a further roll-out through Europe including 'server-arms' to the system has been foreseen.
Technical approach
Each phase was divided into seven workpackages:
  • User needs analysis and market forecasting for art photo libraries;
  • Artist identification and cataloguing (including dates and geographical location) and prototype software development;
  • Subject identification and cataloguing and prototype software development;
  • Telecomms systems design;
  • Image recognition research;
  • Total system design of the prototype and planning of Phase II;
  • Technology watch, (on new and pertinent developments) liaison with other R&D projects and dissemination of Phase I results.
  • Finalisation of information systems and telecomms architecture;
  • Core record structure for art classification;
  • Data preparation, input and repository creation;
  • Prototyping;
  • Morelli application;
  • Tests and user trials;
  • Technology watch, liaison with other projects, dissemination and exploitation planning..
Specialists systems development support in Phase II was provided by library systems suppliers, that were selected during the the ealry stages of this phase. The telecommunication links envisaged include EURO-ISDN and academic research telecommunication facilities.
Phase II of VAN EYCK made use of the spiral prototyping methodologies developed under other EU funded projects thus enabling the project to develop the experimental prototypes relatively fast and against low cost. The operational system based on client-server architecture was developed by a commercial software developer. Extensive trials involving end-users were carried out during large parts of the project.
The core record structure developed under Phase I has been extended to include necessary fields such as object description, image description, ownership, and subject matter.
A representative sample of approximately 2.500 records (spread over the participating institutions) has been entered into the system.
The image recognition system MORELLI was further developed and fully integrated into the VAN EYCK system.
Key issues
Phase I:
  • Analysis of user & markets needs;
  • Artist and subject identification and cataloguing, comparing existing data structures, applying relevant existing standards, adapting Iconclass Browser;
  • Telecoms design using ISDN;
  • Image recognition research based on the existing MORELLI system, adaptation and enhancement;
  • Copyright.
Phase II:
  • implementation of EURO-ISDN links;
  • client-server architecture;
  • prototyping and development of the system;
  • integration of MORELLI;
  • extension of the core record structure;
  • a plan for the approach to copyright;
  • an exploitation and 'roll-out' plan.
Impact and results
Phase I: A report on user and market needs, the design of the first prototype (input station for image acquisition, data and image base management systems, server and consultation stations and the telecommunications system) and the planning of Phase II.
Phase II: The operational system, including: the servers and the client application; an experimental service based on EURO-ISDN; further input to the standards used in this area of visual arts and electronic imaging; the exploitation plan of the service.
VAN EYCK has been promoting research by - and substantially upgrade services for - art history library users., while protecting fragile documents from over-use by physical handling. It may also provide an important source of revenue for participating libraries.
Improved access to art history has fostered collective appreciation of our common European heritage.
Phase I reports on systems design of telecommunications and the prototype are confidential, but in the public domain are reports on:
  • User Requirements and Market Forecast Summary;
  • Artist Identification Summary;
  • Subject Identification;
  • Art Library Application Software;
  • Technical Watch, Liaison and Dissemination.
The main Phase II deliverables was a series of prototypes including the advanced Morelli prototype. Specifications, reports on user trials, technology watch and exploitation are confidential. Publicly available are:
  • Requirements and functional specification summary;
  • Results dissemination reports.
Documentation can be obtained from the contact below and from .
Phase I: 15 months
Phase II: 28 months


Name of Institution/Organisation Postal Code / City Country
Vasari Ltd. UK - HAMPSHIRE - GU13 9AD UK
Title, First Name, Name Dr. James R. HEMSLEY
Managing director
Address: Clark House
2 Kings Road, Fleet
Tel: +44-1252-81 22 52 Fax: +44-1252-81 57 02
E-mail 1: E-mail 2:

Other Partners

Name of Institution/Organisation Country Role
Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie NL P
Witt Library UK P
Trinity College IRL P
University of Utrecht NL P

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