The Lazurite concept

The idea behind the program

Many museums have paper files of their paintings information. These files are usually not easily searchable, or are dependent on an individual's knowledge. Painting samples and their metadata on where the sample was taken and what additional information is usually available, but is often kept somewhere else. Samples may also have a limited shelf life because the connection between the sample and its data may become lost when the information is older than the life time of the keeper. Besides, many museums don't even hold the samples anymore, or have only limited access to the original analytical data. It is our experience, however, that keeping images of the paintings and the areas of interest together with notes and analytical data reduces the clutter and make the information much more easily accessible to a larger interest group.

The Lazurite program has been designed to overcome many of these problems by creating an integrated resource appropriate to the needs of the conservation, conservation science and technical art history communities. It is extremely flexible in the way it can be used, but typically one might first present the painting itself, with IRR images of underdrawing, condition reports, before and after cleaning images and description and so forth. Alongside this, sample and analytical data is immediately available. Individual entries can also be linked directly, say from a discussion of a detail in a painting through to the related samples and analysis.

One of the most powerful features is the ability to create interactive maps. For example, specific areas on a painting can be outlined and made to open up into a new enlarged view of the area. This area can be used for zooming in to show a view of a sample area or a specific feature that needs to be recorded. The sample area can also be linked in turn to light microscopic images of paint cross sections, or data on chemical microscopic imaging by FTIR, SEM-EDX mapping, imaging SIMS and Raman. These in turn would be linked to relevant spectra. However, such maps could also be used to display condition information, or cleaning tests, or even animations and voice notes.

Although primarily designed to record analytical and conservation information on paintings, dictionaries and thesauri are essential elements to this database, primarily for the reason of effective searching (as well as promoting high standards in professional documentation). A range of different resources can be built, including simple dictionaries, synonym and controlled term lists through to complex thesauri of broader, narrower and related terms. So far a translating dictionary and a pigment terms thesaurus have been created.

Other facilities available include a logbook, a 'slide' viewer where disparate images can be put together for discussion, the ability to create indexes and so on. New tools can also be built externally and added as 'plug-ins', such as a solubility parameter calculator.

Lazurite section

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