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The British Museum – Collection Online Search Guide

Posted by Marcus Zillman

The British Museum – Collection Online Search Guide

The database is based on the British Museum’s collection management tool, where they record what they know about their collection. It was created for the Museum to store information for its own use, and is therefore full of specialised terms, abbreviations and shorthand. The Museum has been working on the database for more than 40 years and, even with more than two million records, we’ve only catalogued about half of the collection. They are adding and improving records every day but, even so, an object record may not have been checked. In many cases, the most recent research has not yet been added. There will be mistakes and omissions, but the Museum chooses to publish the data, rather than hold it until it is ‘finished’, as there will always be new information about an object. Only personal and sensitive information has been withheld. In some cases, catalogue entries and descriptions from more than 250 years of the Museum’s history are included as part of a record. This can include terms that the Museum would no longer choose to use. We aim to ensure that all language used is clearly presented in its historical context. This will be added to Academic and Scholar Search Engines and Sources.

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