There are 6 ways of finding sources in the BSIP IRP:

The best methods to use depends on the information you have available, and to some degree what you are trying to achieve. In the table below the methods are listed in order of the quickest method/most relevant results.

Find sources using Methods for finding sources
BSIP Reference.
  • Direct from the Dashboard.
  • Direct from the Source Image Viewer (SIV).
  • Simple Search.
  • Permalink.

Artist name.

  • Browse - People.
  • Advanced Search.
  • Simple Search.
Current location,
Place of creation.
  • Browse - Last Known Location  / Creation Location.
  • Advanced Search.
  • Simple Search.

Location names may be ambiguous. Browse filtering and advanced searching have access to the full geographic context which may be used to eliminate any confusion.

Artwork Type,
Creation Technique.
  • Browse - Artwork Type / Material / Creation Technique.
  • Advanced Search.
  • Simple Search.

In general the data recorded reflects that offered by the source of the metadata (such as dealer/museum/auction house). This information may not be complete. The use of a controlled vocabulary reduces variability of names between metadata sources.

Dates, or a date range.
  • Advanced Search.
  • Simple Search.
  • Browse - Tag Sets.
  • Advanced Search.
  • Simple Search.
Geographic area (which may be defined by a box described using longitude/latitude).
  • Advanced Search.

The advanced Search offers the ability to search using geographic boxes. These are based on specifying a line of latitude with a box width, and a line of longitude, again with a box width.

Book or manuscript titles or references,
The name of the building where the artwork is part of the fabric of the building.

  • Browse - Collective Sources.
  • Advanced Search.

These are known as collective sources.

Instrument names.

This is not currently supported, and is explained in the FAQ.

The results obtained via a search will reflect only those where the name is used in the fields which are included in the search. Due to incorrect naming by museums and auction houses these results may be unreliable.

Looking at the above table may give the impression that Simple Search does not perform well. In general it will find what you are looking for, it is just that it is likely to return a lot more sources than you need because the search term may match different fields. Browsing and Advanced Searches target the search term matching and thus will produce more focused results.

For the adventurous the Explore menu offers a random source. When selected, a random source within the database you are using will be brought up in the Source Image Viewer. This can be a great way to discover art or archaeology that you may not have considered looking at - who knows where this might lead!

If you just want to look through some wonderful sources then Browse is the place to go, once in the Source Image Viewer you can simply click the next and previous buttons to look at each source in turn. 

Search Tip: Searching for Portraits of people or families

Searching for portraits is best done by using Simple Search, or Advanced Search.

  • Simple search
    Place the last name/family name/group name as the search term.
  • Advanced search
    Use the title field. You can use 'portraits' in the object type field but this is not recommended, as the 'portraits' object type was introduced later and not all portraits have this specified in the object type.

Search Tip: Searching for mass-produced items such as prints using custodian references (inv./ascension numbers etc) 

BSIP cataloguing policy is to treat mass produced items without an unique creative input as a single source. In these cases individual items located with individual museums, dealers, or seen passing through auction houses will be recorded as individual images, not individual sources. This means a large number of units does not pollute the database. For instance, 1000 copies of a print yield no new information. Once we have seen one copy we have seen them all. The same is true for mass produced items such as ceramics and those from modern factories (such as Lego!).  The custodian reference (inventory/ascension numbers etc) are recorded not against the source but against each image supplied of that object. If the object is mass produced but only one example is known the source is record in the usual manner as a unique object. When several objects become known the recording of each example will move to just the Image Details and the main Source details will no longer have a last known location (unless all are located in the same place) nor dimensions if the dimensions differ between objects.

If there is an additional creative element where the content can change these are recorded as individual sources. So hand-colouring of prints, or hand-painted ceramics offer an opportunity for the depiction content to change, and thus are considered individual sources.

This makes searches based on custodian references (inventory/ascension numbers etc) for these objects more awkward, and will require advanced searches. Simple searches will not necessarily return the results your are looking for. To search using the custodian reference:

  • Advanced Search 1 Custodian Reference
    Go to advanced search, on the Basic Details tab enter the reference in the Custodian Reference box.
  • Advanced Search 2 Image Reference
    Go to advanced search, on the Image Details tab enter the reference in the Image Source Ref box.

To search based on the custodian (Last known location):

These four searches can be combined to search for a specific custodian reference at a specific custodian location. 

Search Tip: Searching based on geographical location (last known or creation location)

Searching based on geographic location can be performed using the simple search, however, simple search matches either creation location or last known location. This typically produces results that are less useful as far more results than are required may be returned.

Browsing is exceedingly quick and easy, but is quite specific. It will not answer the query "show me all sources created in Flanders". 

Geographical location searches are best performed using advanced searches which provides exceptional search power. It can answer queries such as "show me all sources created in Flanders", "show me all sources currently located close to Paris", and even "show me all sources created in a specific area (designated by a box)". These searches are covered in the Advanced search user guide.