November 20 (sun.) Panel 1: Invited Speakers

> 日本語

Alfred Haft(Project Curator, Japanese Section, Department of Asia British Museum)

Advanced Digital Technology at the British Museum

In October 2007, the British Museum began making its collection database available to the general public through the museum’s website. At that time, anyone accessing the website could learn directly about 257,000 different objects (mostly prints and drawings), around half of which had accompanying images.Since then, with the support of the Information Technology department, and the participation of curators museum-wide, the number of digitally catalogued objects hasincreased nearly eightfold.As a custodian of the past, the museum has embraced the technologies of the present, because these technologies can make the past alive and available to more people worldwidethan ever before: around 5.7 million visitors walked through the doors of the museum in the twelve months from April 2009 to April 2010; visitors traversed the museum’s webportal almost as many times in March of this year alone.

     In this presentation, I would like briefly toconsider how digital technology is making the British Museum a more viable and productive research environment. First I will look at the museum’s Collection Online (or COL) system, which is available for anyone to search via the internet.Then, after reviewing a survey of COL usage by academic researchers, I will introducethe work of the Japanese section and the generous contributions of volunteers from the Art Research Center at Ritsumeikan. Finally, I will present some aspects of advanced digital technology that the museumis embracing througha pilot project called ResearchSpace.