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Palais Liechtenstein. © C.Stadler/Bwag

Customer Stories GLAMs

Digitizing Cultural Heritage: LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections

23. April 2024

A world-class art collection meets state-of-the-art information management: Explore the transformation of LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections with Content Platform, elevating the management and preservation of cultural heritage. From Renaissance masterpieces to Baroque wonders - Content Platform seamlessly integrates with Zetcom's MuseumPlus to digitize and safeguard priceless collections, enabling digital archiving, easy accessibility, and sophisticated metadata management. This case study shines a light on how LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections bridges the gap between physical and digital preservation of art.

About the LIECHTENSTEIN. Princely Collections

LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections are one of the most important private art collections in the world. They include major works of European art spanning from across more than five centuries. Highlights of the collections can be viewed in the two palaces in Vienna as part of booked events and guided tours: In the GARDEN PALAIS Liechtenstein, there are masterpieces from the early Renaissance to the Baroque, in the CITY PALACE Liechtenstein the highlights of Classicism and Biedermeier. In addition, the collections are represented with special exhibitions, and artwork is sometimes loaned abroad. Top-class exhibitions have taken place in China, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan.

 

At the core: Content Platform and MuseumPlus

With Content Platform (previously Picturepark), Fotoware provides the digital platform that LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections uses, enabling the diverse collections to be documented, opened for the public, and distributed. Content Platform supports the collections by intelligently linking them to artwork-specific metadata, which is managed in Zetcom's MuseumPlus collections management software. The seamless integration between Content Platform and MuseumPlus combines the best of both worlds: high-level collections management and the best digital asset management.

The Princely Collections in numbers

  • The Princes of Liechtenstein have been collecting art for 500 years.
  • 1700 paintings are in the Princely Collections, as well as sculptures, drawings, prints, photos, tapestries, silver, glass, porcelain, textiles, weapons, documents, and archive materials.
  • The works of art kept in the Princely Collections cover a period from the 14th to the 19th century
  • 1990 - Introduction of MuseumPlus
  • 2004 - Reopening of the gallery in the Liechtenstein Garden Palace with masterpieces from the early Renaissance to the Baroque
  • 2011 - Introduction of Picturepark
  • 2013 - Completion of the restoration of the staterooms in the Liechtenstein City Palace, highlights from classicism and Biedermeier are presented here
  • 2020/21 - Migration from Picturepark On-Premises to Content Platform in the Cloud
  • 170,000 assets with a total data of more than 15 TB are currently managed by Content Platform
Liechtenstein. The Princely Collections - Content Platform solution

A collection that wants to be experienced

To ensure that the collections reach the broadest possible audience, each individual object has been carefully photographed and digitally tagged with metadata: The result is a rich collection of not only physical works but also digital assets with an overall size of more than 15 terabytes. LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections has succeeded in efficiently combining the art collection with a digital archive, and Content Platform ensures that the growing treasure trove of digital images of the original works of art is safely stored and can be efficiently maintained.

— “With Content Platform we have found the perfect complement for MuseumPlus: The pictures are managed with the rich functionality of the Content Platform system and all important information is synchronized. The time required to manage and search through our huge amount of data has been greatly reduced.”

Michael Schweller

Registrar and Exhibition Manager at LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections

From On-Premises to the Cloud

Around the turn of the millennium, the Princely Collections began to build up an archive of digital image data. Initially, these were stored in complex folder structures on a file server, and a Picturepark On-Premises Server had been used since 2011. The main reasons for this decision were security, performance, and accessibility, especially via fast internal networks. In 2020, after a thorough review, the collections team decided to switch to the Cloud. The company relied on the latest product generation of the Content Platform, which not only meets the high-security requirements but also offers versatile options for storing and intelligently linking large amounts of data.

READ MORE: Why it’s time for SaaS to become the new normal

A Digital Asset Management partner for MuseumPlus

When Content Platform was introduced, extensive information about the works of art in the collections and the artists represented in them was already available in the MuseumPlus collections management software. With the introduction of Content Platform, this should be used as metadata for the media without the tedious and error-prone double entry of data in MuseumPlus and in Content Platform.

For this purpose, direct integration between the two systems was commissioned, which could be implemented without any problems thanks to the Content Platform API. Content Platform receives all collection-relevant information from MuseumPlus for an optimized search experience. Content Platform supplies the appropriate media for the visualization of the collection objects to MuseumPlus.

Content Platform also offers the option of generating photos in various resolutions and making them available to users. Quick and easy access is possible from anywhere in the world, with the additional option of customized portals.

For LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, MuseumPlus, and Content Platform are indispensable tools for daily work and complement each other in an ideal way: MuseumPlus acts as the master source for all information about works of art, artists, restoration measures, and exhibitions - Content Platform is the master for all multimedia content and the location from where the content is distributed.

Liechtenstein. The Princely Collections - Content Platform solution

The next level of Metadata Management

Previously, on the Picturepark On-Premises Server, the metadata from MuseumPlus was recorded in simple text fields on the assets. In contrast, the new Content Platform opens up a new dimension: The information from MuseumPlus is now managed in controlled lists, with the list items containing all linked information and being assigned to the multimedia content in Content Platform as a single Smart Tag during tagging. The great advantage of the lists is that the information only has to be changed once in the list and then all assets tagged with it are automatically updated. Changes to the relevant information in a collection are also adopted in real-time in the Content Platform when changes are made in MuseumPlus via the connector.

READ MORE: Metadata Management - What it is and why it matters

 

The lists in Content Platform also offer the opportunity to collect extensive information about items in the collection, restoration measures, artists and much more in one central location. Individual entries in a list, such as the data record of a work of art, can be intelligently linked to other entries from the same or other lists. This creates powerful semantic relationships in the Content Platform, which further enrich and contextualize the media data and thus ensure better search results.

Andrea Huber Fotoware

— “The lists can be configured flexibly and allow an exact adaptation to the data model of the collection management system, which in Content Platform can be supplemented with any other dimensions.”

Andrea Huber

Head of Support & Services at Fotoware

Liechtenstein. The Princely Collections - Content Platform solution

Content Platform then suggests terms based on these semantic relationships. For example, a user can search for "Flemish artists" and receive relevant hits on media files that have never been directly tagged with this term. In a similar way, locations are associated with country, region and city - all without the need to manually update each asset with complete location data. The search suggestions when entering data make research easier and show possible contextual terms and filter criteria.

Rights management and responsibilities

Content Platform is designed to record and provide information about digital rights; this is important for the content to be properly stored and archived. Content Platform also provides the necessary formats for all of the following channels that are used to "consume" content.

Via the connector to Content Platform via the REST API, MuseumPlus can query the "master" image for a collection object, a restoration measure or an exhibition for display. In addition, a link can be made to all associated multimedia content in Content Platform, so that MuseumPlus users can access all the media available in Content Platform for a specific collection object in various formats or resolutions.

Liechtenstein. The Princely Collections - Content Platform solution

Content workflows and File Naming Conventions (FNC)

Artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning offers new possibilities and a variety of use cases, such as the classification and enrichment of information. The AI metadata ​tagging in Content Platform is not only suitable for simple stock images, but also for complex scenes such as those shown in the paintings of the Princely Collections.

Nevertheless, the Princely Collections were faced with the question: What options are there to process existing content automatically?

The Princely Collections use a file naming convention. In cooperation with the Content Platform team of consultants, this convention was optimized and stored in Content Platform in the form of a regular expression. Based on clear information patterns, the built-in Content Platform Business Rule Engine can automatically perform various tasks.

Keywording was automated for the Princely Collections: by dragging and dropping a file with a filename such as GE00001_G01B01_PR_6803.tif, which is automatically linked to the corresponding list element in Content Platform and the associated work information. Even more: The filename convention can read out additional information such as the front or rear view or quality and processing levels and tag them accordingly.

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Physical and digital assets in harmony

With the perfect interaction of Content Platform and MuseumPlus, users can now quickly and easily find media assets with the help of extensive search suggestions that are tailored to the works of art found in the Princely Collection. The natural taxonomy of the physical collection is reflected in its digital counterpart, and the integrity of the collection's metadata is preserved.

Access to the images stored in Content Platform is made available by means of a connector from MuseumPlus. This has the decisive advantage that means users no longer have to laboriously search for digital photos of MuseumPlus data sets. Instead, thanks to the integration, users can call up the previews of the works in real-time, and the keywording is consistent in both systems, as the connector ensures bidirectional synchronization of the data.

Original and high-resolution images are checked and saved in a protected manner; guest users in Content Platform are only shown versions with watermarks. The aim of the Princely Collections: to have a single global platform, has been fully achieved, and employees have saved countless hours of work in recording and documenting the historical collections.

 

READ MORE: Beyond digitization: How DAM helps Museums streamline operations

Liechtenstein. The Princely Collections - Logo

Special thanks go to the LIECHTENSTEIN team for working with us on this case study. The Princely Collections, Vaduz-Vienna. On the website of the Princely Collections, it is possible to learn more about the high-profile art, for information on guided tours and events in the Princely Palace in Vienna visit the website of Palais Liechtenstein.

 

Image credits: © LIECHTENSTEIN. The Princely Collections, Vaduz-Vienna; © Bwag/CC-BY-SA-4.0

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