As of 22 April 2009 this website is 'frozen' in time — see the current IFLA websites

This old website and all of its content will stay on as archive – http://archive.ifla.org

IFLANET home - International Federation of Library Associations and InstitutionsAnnual ConferenceSearchContacts
To Bangkok Conference programme

65th IFLA Council and General

Bangkok, Thailand,
August 20 - August 28, 1999

Code Number: 074-157(WS)-E
Division Number: II
Professional Group: Art Libraries: Workshop
Joint Meeting with: -
Meeting Number: 157
Simultaneous Interpretation:   No

Electronic resources on art in Thailand (ERA): trial of Silpakorn University Library

Poot Veraprasert
Central Library
Silpakorn University


Since its establishment in 1934, Silpakorn University has been recognized as the oldest and one of the best educational institutes on art and design in Thailand. Its library is said to contain the best collection in the country of various kinds of materials concerning art and art education. However, in the past, the Silpakorn University Library had a limited capacity to serve the public due to the insufficient number of books and materials available and to the limited physical space.

In order to expand its capability to serve the public and to enhance the development of art education in the country, a research project entitled "Electronic Resources on Art in Thailand (ERA)" was launched in 1998 with the objective of creating online databases including information useful both for the public and for professional artists and designers. This paper describes the results of the research work performed so far. Our experience suggests that for faster and probably better results art librarians should work cooperatively with the experts from relevant fields rather than attempting to acquire this expertise



Silpakorn University,Thapra Palace Campus, was originally established as The School of Fine Art in1934. As the first Thai university specializing in the fields of art and design, its library, formally established in 1959, also became the premiere art library of the country where the largest collection of diverse materials on art and art education were available, especially the materials on Thai art in various forms i.e. books, serials, art exhibition catalogues and posters, slides and pictures, videotapes, art theses, etc. In order to enhance the service ability of the library, the computer network and INNOPAC system were introduced in 1995. Recently, Silpakorn University Library planned to develop one step forward to become a real electronic library, a research project entitled " Electronic Resources on Art in Thailand (ERA)" was launched in October 1998 with the objective of creating online databases accessible through the internet containing both image and text useful for students, researchers, professional artists and designers and worldwide public.

ERA : Structure and Content

ERA is composed of 3 groups of creative work namely: ERA Web Site; Digital Image Database; and CD-ROMs Database on Art.

The creation of ERA Web Site is designed as a 2 - year pilot project consisting of 8 subprojects namely; (1) Online Bibliography: Mural painting in Thailand; (2) Posters of Art Exhibition; (3) Artists on the Web; (4) Master of Fine Art Theses; (5) Online Art Exhibition; (6) Art now and Then; (7) Art Image Database; (8) Art on CD-ROM.

The ERA Web Site

As a pilot project, the selection of materials for the creation of ERA Web Site is based mainly on the information resources available in Silpakorn University in order to facilitate the data collecting process and also to avoid the copyright problem. The project integrates electronic formats into the concept of "collection" and adapts the principles and practices of collection development to the selection of electronic publications, regardless of format but systematic building of the set of information resources concerned. Since the scope of the project is wide and covers various forms of information the research teams have to collect data from the various concerned and using several types of data collecting technique; e.g. taking photographs, recording video tapes, interviewing the artists, consulting experts, etc. Consequently, the conduction of the project helps enhance cooperation among librarians and academicians from various fields in the manner that never happen before in the history of Silpakorn University.

The software employed in the creation of ERA Web Site are Word Processors for text files, Photoshop 5.0 for retouching the image files, MS FrontPage 98 and HTML for web site creation and management. The web browser is Internet Explorer 4.0.

The Digital Image Database

The Digital Image Database is designed for the functions of collecting and retrieving art images concerning Thai arts and artists, both traditional and contemporary, including various kinds of information involved, e.g. artist 's biography, title of work, award, source, type, keyword, period, inspiration note. The artist 's biography, or artist database, presents brief information about each artist 's name, birth date and place, education, residence, awards and honors received, present academic status, selected exhibition records. The search screen allows the user to select one of the search options, or to return to either the Main or the Browse screen. Searches can be carried out by artist, title, category, etc. Clicking on one of the search options displays a dialog box which allows the user to either select an item from the list, or to enter their own search text, then the search results are displayed immediately.

The CD- ROMs Database

In January 1999 a meeting was arranged in order to schedule the work plan for the creation of the CD-ROMs Database on Art. Four topics among the total seven topics proposed are selected to be the target of production during 1999-2000. These are the CD-ROMs Database on (1) Master of Fine Art Theses, Sipakorn University, (2) Prehistoric Rock-Paintings in Thailand, (3) The 1st -10th Toshiba "Bring the Good Thing to Life" Art Competition, (4) Posters of Art Exhibition in Thailand: 1990 -1999. The production will include both Thai and English versions in order to increase and widen the opportunity for distribution. The production of the first CD-ROM is expected to be finished by the end of 1999.

The Operation System

Since the project is divided into 8 subprojects, 8 working teams each responsible for one subproject were appointed. A number of training courses were arranged in order to equip the necessary technical knowledge for the members of the working teams involved. Each working team had to develop its own work plan, workflow design and schedule, estimate the budget and equipment needed, design the presentation style, and propose the indexing strategy. Two computer programmers were recruited for constructing the Web Page, linking the relative data altogether and transform to the sever, designing the Web Page appearance, solving the technical problems that occurred, and giving technical advice for the working teams.

Equipment Specification

    The project is being developed with the following resources:

    Hardware: 2 x Server (400 MHz P-II/128MB/UW-SCSI/8GB); 8 x Multimedia Workstation (350 MHz P-II/128 MB/UW-SCSI/6GB); 2 x CD-Writer; 2 x HP Scanjet 6100C/T; 1 x Canon Powershot 600 Digital Camera; 1 x Canoscan2700F Film Scanner.

    Software: MS Office 97; MS FrontPage 98; Axus 100; Adobe Photoshop 5.0; Authorware 5.0; Windows NT Server; MS SQL Sever.

Image Digitizing

Image data used for the creating ERA come from various sources but most of them are from mounted slides, plates from books and exhibition catalogues, photographs, and 35 mm. negative films. These images are scanned into the image files and retouched by Photoshop 5.0 in order to keep the quality of both color and clarity as close to the original sources as possible. The type of scanner used is the scanner which can perform high resolution 2720 dpi, 24 bit (True) color image scanning.

Should art librarians work with archivists, curators, educators or become more specialized?

The experiences from the research and experiment performed so far suggest that cooperation between art librarians and the experts from other fields concerned should bring about faster and better achievement. Trying to become more specialized will consume much more time and labor since the technical skills necessary for any field of work can not be easily developed to reach the satisfactory level overnight. The evaluations of the results from the training courses arranged for the members of the working teams confirm the above statement that it is not easy at all to mould anybody to become a Jack of all Trades.

ERA Web Site and image Database System

system diagram


ERA CD-ROM System diagram is unavailable. Please contact the author.


Latest Revision: June 9, 1999 Copyright © 1995-2000
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions