Tate's Online Archive Lets Users Create Their Own Displays

By Graham Spicer | 23 August 2005
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Shows a painting of two young girls in white smocks attaching paper lanterns to floral bushes

Tate's new Carousel facility includes around 2,000 works from its extensive collection. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1885-86) by John Singer Sargent. Courtesy Tate

From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Impressionists, pop art to abstract expressionism, Tate’s collection contains an eclectic and sometimes bewildering array of artworks.

Now visitors to Tate’s website will be able to browse images of thousands of pieces from the collection, create their own interactive displays and learn more about the works.

The new facility, called Carousel (opens in a new window) was launched on August 23 2005 and is accessed through Tate’s existing website. Described as an online visual interface, it includes approximately 2,000 works from the collection, which are at first randomly shuffled and displayed on the screen, slowly changing to introduce more artworks.

Jemima Rellie, Head of Digital Programmes at Tate explained: “First-time visitors to Carousel are able to create interactive, unique displays that both captivate and provoke. Now anyone can be a curator!”

Shows a painting of a blindfolded female figure with a harp, sat on a sphere.

Visitors to Carousel can create their own displays and learn more about the artworks online. Hope by George Frederic Watts (1886). Courtesy Tate

Viewers can find out more about individual works and add them to their favourites list. The website then learns the browser’s tastes and suggests related artworks.

Designed to help in the discovery of new artists and their works staff at Tate hope that it will provide a guiding hand leading to some surprising artistic destinations.

“It is intended to complement the range of text based search options offered at www.tate.org.uk and help visitors who know what they like but not necessarily what it is called,” said Jemima.

“It’s equally riveting for those with some knowledge of the collection who are likely to stumble across a previously hidden gem,” she added.

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