This major project involves the conversion of the University's photographic archives of Middle Eastern art and archaeology into a modern digital resource. Of central importance to this project is the development of a tailor-made database to allow for the storage and delivery of the tens of thousands of images which make up the archives. The development of this system has been undertaken by Daniel Burt, the centre's Computing Officer, who has over 20 years' experience in developing data management systems in both academic and commercial environments. The advantage of developing an in-house system is that it can focus on the needs of the centre, whilst also encompassing the needs of future University initiatives, such as the work being done on a centralised image repository.
The digitisation project involves scanning tens of thousands of slides and prints, and entering detailed descriptions of their subjects into the database to create a world-leading digital archive of Islamic and Middle Eastern art and material culture that will allow users to exchange information, share knowledge, and further develop the archive itself.
"What is especially exciting is how it is enabling us to look afresh at the way we teach" explained Professor Johns. "Instead of pulling out a carousel-full of slides, delivering a lecture and putting them back again until next year, we can now make the images permanently available through the web to our students for independent study and for revision."
The image archive is available online at http://krcfm.orient.ox.ac.uk/fmi/webd/krcid