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The Courtauld Institute of Art

The Courtauld Institute of Art Preserves and Publishes Its Prestigious Collection with Portfolio Server

Industry: Heritage & Culture

Product Line: Digital Asset Management


Where they started…

The Courtauld Institute of Art, one of the world’s leading centers for the study of art history and conservation, is also home to a remarkable art collection that includes more than 550 paintings, 9,500 prints and 35,000 photographs. Located at Somerset House, on Museum Mile, in London, the collection includes masterpieces from the early Renaissance into the 20th century and is particularly renowned for its unrivalled collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. These include Van Gogh’s Self Portrait with a Bandaged Ear and A Bar at the Folies Bergère by Édouard Manet. Highlights from the Renaissance collection include several works by Botticelli together with Lucas Cranach the Elder’s Adam and Eve.

Following a National Lottery Grant in 2001, The Courtauld Institute initially invested in an out-sourced digital asset management (DAM) solution; however, this turned out to be both expensive and time consuming since it proved difficult to make modifications to the database.

What they did…

Keen to digitize the Institute’s entire collection and place these image libraries online, The Courtauld Institute went in search for an alternative DAM solution that was not only cost effective, but also easy to configure and maintain internally. It was also imperative the new solution should integrate seamlessly with the Institute’s Collections Management System–MuseumPlus by zetcom.

The Courtauld Institute turned to Portfolio Server for archiving images of its extensive collection, using the product’s metadata import functions so that each asset can be easily found and shared across departments.

The Courtauld Institute also leveraged Portfolio Server’s Application Programming Interface (API), which enables the Institute’s collection management system to integrate with Portfolio Server. Portfolio Server’s ability to connect to MuseumPlus was a great advantage in accessing not just the original digital files, but also to create on-demand copies in multiple resolutions and sizes through Portfolio Server’s media processing functions.

Where they landed…

By using Extensis’ digital asset management solution along with its existing collection management system, The Courtauld Institute is improving efficiency and ensuring long-term preservation of its irreplaceable and priceless collection.

Where they’re heading…

By leveraging the tools within Portfolio Server across the institute and from within their collections management system, The Courtauld Institute will be able to make the images available to all of their students – a priority that they have now been able to make a reality.