We’ve finally got the Collection online!!!

After more than two years’ hard work it’s a great pleasure to be able to offer a first online version of the database of the Picasso Museum’s catalogue, with more than two thousand works. Making the collection accessible online was one of the major objectives for 2009.

It is difficult to transmit the muddle of mixed feelings: first of all a high degree of satisfaction (almost emotion!), to finally see tangible results for such an effort put in by the whole team who have collaborated and opened up to the public a thorough knowledge about our collection of the works of Picasso. I will mention just a few of the functionalities that the system presents:

  • Technical details of about 2,500 works (title, place and year, technique, dimensions, Registry number)
  • 1,400 images
  • access to works related to the one we are looking at, which is a way of enriching the consultation.
  • the advanced search lets you match techniques, materials and years.
  • the browser of free text search(quick and simple, like Google) and that at the same time lets you see groups of works of the same theme (portraits, father, Barcelona, old, and a long etcetera).
  • the results of the search can be seen in the form of a list, or with a gallery of images in diverse formats (2×3, 4×5, etc)
  • as you consult works you can mark them asfavourites” and see them in groups or print them.


Who took part?

A multi-disciplinary team of the museum has been working on the revision and updating of the catalogue of the collection, made up of 4,000 works, as well as the digitisation of the artworks.

The work carried out by the Registrar’s Department, with Anna Fàbregas in charge, has been crucial: Registrar has been the hard core of the project, both in terms of the revision of the collection of the works, as well as the introduction of the data, and the definition and validation of the different phases of putting it together on Internet.

This has really been a team effort, given clear priority by the director, which has also included the collaboration of the departments of Preventive Conservation and Restoration, Conservation of the Collection, Photographic Archive, and the Library, as well, of course, as the Internet section. All of this without leaving the museum. There have also been other services that have contributed, such as the Departments of Heritage and of Communication of the Institute of Culture and the municipal IT services, as well as external providers (programmers), and the General Directorate of Heritage of the Generalitat de Catalunya, the promoter of the project Museus en línia, (Museums Online). Finally, the Picasso Administration, the owner of the reproduction rights of Picasso’s works, with the headquarters in Paris, who gave the go-ahead for the publication of the collection online.

As you can imagine with this diversity of agents and institutions involved, the orchestration of the project has been complex and not without some critical moments in the fixing of priorities and, above all, “domesticating” the technological difficulties that have had to be dealt with, so that we struggled that logic and usability took priority over the imperatives of the software!

What is there left to do?

Despite all the work we have done we still haven’t achieved the perfect tool that the museum needs and the users deserve. Therefore, among other feelings, apart from happiness, there is also a point of dissatisfaction at not having been able yet to achieve some challenges:

– The complete translation to Spanish and English (at the moment just the names of the fields are translated and the interactive features of the highlights).

– The elaboration of an explicative text of each work (the forty highlights do have this).

– The possibility of introducing social tagging that have given such good results to those museums around the world that have incorporated them. This basically means that the users can give key words to describe a museum object. We’ll talk more about this on another day on the blog.

This, it is clear, leads to a third type of reaction, that of the feeling of commitment to make all this possible soon, and a certain sense of overwhelming about the amount of work still to be done, which is added to all the other projects and new ways that the museum is opening up. But this isn’t a cause for despondency because the most difficult and laborious work is already done and today you can all be participants in the result.

Participants… and critics: please send us your opinion, your comments, good or bad experiences, fulfilled expectations or not. Knowing all this helps us to complete and improve the online catalogue. You can do so here on the blog or by any other of the channels we have open on Facebook, Twitter.

Conxa Rodà
Project Manager

Do you find browsing the catalogue easy and usable? And the search engine?

If you answer more than just yes or no and explain a little, we would be doubly grateful!

  • Oscar Loin
    December 26, 2009

    Extraordinario. Su trabajo on-line es muy agradable, invita a volver a entrar, aporta belleza y conocimiento, da paz al espíritu. Su blog es fantástico en su contenido y se agradecen muchísimo los links con que salpican los textos. Gracias !!!

  • paula llanos
    June 21, 2010

    ¿El edificio del museo es patrimonio histórico?por favor responder a mi mail pllanosclavijo@gmail.com

  • Museu Picasso
    June 25, 2010

    El conjunto de edificios que alberga el Museu Picasso figura, efectivamente, en el Catálogo del Patrimonio Arquitectónico, Histórico y Artístico de Barcelona.

    Para consultas directas, es preferible dirigirlas al correo electrónico museupicasso@bcn.cat, y usar la plataforma de comentarios en el blog para comentar cada artículo.
    Gracias por su interés.

  • Marta Oriola
    July 21, 2010

    Primer de tot moltes felicitats per la feina feta pel que fa al catàleg online! Fa temps vaig treballar amb el tema de MuseumPlus i sé el que costa poder arribar a oferir dades acurades de totes les obres…!

    Són molt útils totes les funcionalitats de cerques, així com la informació obtinguda, imatge, etc…

    El que no he sapigut com fer és exportar la informació obtinguda en fer una cerca per poder tenir un llistat en Word o similar dels resultats de la cerca… Suposo que de moment encara no es pot fer, oi?


  • Redacció museu
    July 22, 2010

    Hola Marta,
    Moltes gràcies per les felicitacions! Actualment no és possible exportar la informació de forma automàtica. El que es pot fer per a cerques puntuals és copiar i enganxar la informació en un document de text per després guardar-ho o imprimir-ho.
    Gràcies per l’interès.

  • Rafa
    October 5, 2010

    Visited the museum today. There were supposed to be 3,800 works in the permanent collection but we went through every room and i am doubtful there were more than a few hundred. Please explain.

  • adminmuseu
    October 22, 2010

    Thanks for your visit! The collection of the museum has aproximately 3.800 works, but given the space limitations, only a rellevant selection are on view. We change the works exposed regularly, so we can offer our audiences an overview of our holdings, and also for preventive conservation purposes, specially for works on paper, that are very fragile and sensitive to light. (Sorry for the delay due to technical problems)

  • Debby
    April 14, 2012

    I know the catalogue search is still in beta, but I am having difficulty getting back to the original place to enter search details. I just had to guess at what i was looking for because i don’t speak sufficient Catalan, and now I can’t find the list to guess again.

  • Museu Picasso
    April 16, 2012

    Hy Debby, we apologize for the problems. This is the page where you can enter search details http://bit.ly/J0fJni
    Thanks for your interest.

  • Antonio
    March 31, 2013

    Siento discrepar, pero la experiencia “online” no ha sido positiva. La manía miedosa -seguramente pensando que en caso contrario, la gente no iría al museo- de poner los cuadros en tamaño minúsculo, y la visión con lupa, desde luego no deja ganas de revisitar la página. Echen un vistazo a la web del Prado y verán lo que es una gran experiencia visual. Pero allá cada cual…

  • Museu Picasso
    April 3, 2013

    Sí Antonio, tienes razón, no obstante la plataforma se creó en 2009 (de cuando data este artículo) y desde entonces ha habido grandes cambios y avances en cuanto a diseño y usabilidad en este ámbito. Si nos planteáramos la creación de la plataforma en este momento seguramente tomaríamos otras decisiones. No obstante, estamos pendientes de futuras actualitzaciones de la plataforma que esperemos mejoren la experiencia. Muchas gracias por tu comentario.

  • Glenn Webb
    June 30, 2013

    I visited the museum in May, and was delighted by the beauty of the place and the richness of the early works. At home I wanted to look at the entire catalog, so I looked the museum up on line. I looked at the sampling offered, but I really wanted to see each of the works in the entire catalog.

  • Museu Picasso
    July 1, 2013

    Thanks Glenn for your comments. Most works can be found at the online catalog, although some are still in digitizing process.

  • Deanna
    February 19, 2015

    This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!!
    Finally I have found something which helped me. Thanks a lot!

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