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Art & Technology

What's happening in the world of information technology in the museum community

A three-day conference and exhibition in London with new projects on show

The sixth annual EVA (Electronic Imaging and the Visual Arts) conference registered more delegates this year than ever before, reflecting the increasingly widespread interest in information technologies in the museum community.

Organised by Vasari Enterprises, a three-day conference at the National Gallery, London (24-29 July), brought together users, suppliers and researchers to discuss topics ranging from copyright to the World Wide Web to 3-D modelling. Tutorials and workshops were held at the Charing Cross Hotel, and for the first time an exhibition complementing the event provided a useful opportunity to view current and pilot projects and to sample them first hand.

At the EVA exhibition the breadth of projects on display was both terrifying for the uninitiated and at the same time a heartening measure of the commitment of museum professionals and the private sector alike to keeping the museum community up to speed in the new information society. Among the exhibitors were:

Vasari Enterprises

A demonstration of "The Van Eyck Project", a prototype libraries programme which will initially link three art-history photo archives (the Witt Library, at the Courtauld Institute, UK, RKD in the Netherlands, and Trinity College, Dublin). It will eventually provide remote database access and image retrieval, and the prototype on display consisted of a small database of one hundred masterpieces from the Witt Library at the Courtauld Institute.

The State Historical Museum, Moscow

Project CD-ROMUS, begun last year, proposes to produce high-quality electronic images of museum objects from the State Historical Museum, to create an image bank for use by museums, educators and others.

iBase Image Systems Ltd

Leading image databasing experts, demonstrating work produced for the British Library and the Guildhall Library and Museums, among others. Tel: 01943-603636 fax: 602841.

The National Galleries of Scotland

A pilot multimedia project, "The Royal House of Stewart", based on the "Dynasty" exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, was on display. For information contact the registrar. National Galleries of Scotland, Tel: 0131-556 8921 fax: 3324939.

System Simulation Ltd

A leading software engineering company, which was demonstrating its collection management system currently being produced for the National Gallery, London. This comprehensive information resource stores complete curatorial data for curators, archivists and information desk staff. The company has also worked with the Commonwealth Institute, and the London Transport Museum. Tel: 0171-836 7406 fax: 838 7690.

AXIS National Artists Register for England

This unique multimedia database provides information on practising artists within England for a wide range of users. Each entry on the register contains a summary curriculum vitae including contact details and an artist's statement. Artists can be traced under different criteria such as skill, influences, experience or geographical location. High quality images of each artist's work are included. Access to the register is free, at its offices at Leeds Metropolitan University, Tel: 0113 2833125.

The conference was organised with the support of the EC, and in particular the Esprit programme, the European Commission's research and development initiative for information technology. EVA Berlin, EVA Paris, and EVA Edinburgh are being planned for late 1995, and EVA Florence for early 1996. EVA '96 will take place at the National Gallery, London, from 22 to 27 July.

For information, and conference proceedings, contact: James Hemsley, conference chairman, Vasari Enterprises Ltd, Clark House, Kings Road. Fleet, Hants, GU13 9AD, UK, tel. 01252 812506, fax 815772.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 51 September 1995