(2 replies, posted in Site news and updates)

Apparently you wrote a tutorial long time ago: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/tutorials/
Maybe you can put it somewhere on the site (on the Home page?). You should update it a bit though; the part about the screen resolution looks a bit funny now. :-)

chris_mccormick wrote:

Ok, I updated the code and it looks like copy/paste works, even keeping links and formatting.

Updating the underlying jQuery may cause some issues. I tested a number of things and already had to fix a couple of small issues. Keep any eye out for any "weird" behavior, especially with parts of pages that are "interactive" - panels opening and closing, tabs, parts of the page that load dynamically. I'll fix issues if we find any more.

- Chris

The copy-paste action works, but line breaks are added before and after the pasted text. It would be more useful to have the same copy-paste as Word.


(23 replies, posted in Suggestions from users)

We should be able to "unlink" a portrait connected to a person when there is a mistake.
For example, this artwork is not a self portrait, but it is still displayed as such on the artist page: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?id=75104


(23 replies, posted in Suggestions from users)

We also need to have "activity" dates for artists whose birth and/or death dates are unknown. Perhaps a second thickbox next to the "circa" feature.


(23 replies, posted in Suggestions from users)

I think the way the artist's name and nickname are displayed must be modified.

There are three situations:

1. When the artist is better known under his nickname than his real name. It is especially relevant for Italian artists of the Renaissance.
Leonardo da Vinci (real name: Leonardo di ser Piero), Caravaggio (real name: Michelangelo Merisi), Tintoretto (real name: Jacopo Comin).
Nobody uses the real name of these artists, but I think they must be mentioned to look professional. The problem is that we currently have to "cheat" and put the nickname in the real name fields, and the result doesn't look really good.

Perhaps there should be an option in the artist form which would say "set the nickname as the principal name" or sth like that. Only the nickname would be displayed in the list.

2. When the artist is equally known under his real name and his nickname.
Examples: Paolo Veronese (also listed under his real name Paolo Caliari in museums), Claude Lorrain (real name: Claude Gellée: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/people/detail.php?id=4425)
In this case, both names should appear in the artist list (maybe with a similar option as above).

3. When the artist is more famous under his real name.
Example: Luca Giordano (nickname: Fa Presto).

Nothing to do with them, the current system should not be changed.

chris_mccormick wrote:

     I don't understand why you would want to enter the same name twice? I understand that the museum is called "Fries" in both English and Dutch, but the point is to make sure it's findable and understand-able, not to record the fact of what it's called in each language. The only reason we say "English name" is because the site is mostly used by English speakers, so our options explicitly provide a space for the English name if the "primary name" is not in English or is not easily understood by English speakers. If you have the name "Fries Museum" in the "English name" box only, that's good enough isn't it?

Hello Chris,
I thought it would look more professional to have the museum name in both English and the official language(s) of its country/province. Maybe in the future we could have a feature to display museum names in the user's language (for example, if the user is Dutch, then the Dutch/Flemish museums would have their name displayed in Dutch first, other museums in English).
So I have added English names for every non-English museum, even when the English name was the same as its official name (it rarely happened though). The museum list seems to display both names in separate entries, so perhaps you should only display one of them (with the alternate names displayed as subtitles).

Anyway, there should be a language selector for the second alternate name (think about Belgian museums, with a first name in French/Dutch, a second one in English and a third one in Dutch/French).

Moreover, you can deactivate the "Name in English" field in the form for museums located in all-English speaking areas (USA, Canada minus Québec, UK minus Wales, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand), and maybe for all the countries using non-Latin alphabet - since we can only enter their name in English.

Finally, the "name used for sorting" fields are a bit irrelevant (and confusing) in the form, you should remove them.

kkvk wrote:

I think this error occurs, when you forget to select the owner of an artwork. After Chris last changes, nothing is preselected in this field.

Yes, before this change there was an 'unknown owner' by default, now it is left blank. Moreover the "Pick from suggested owners (click to open or close)" feature doesn't work, so it will return the same result if one picks an owner from there.

I sometimes have a similar message when I put a comma in a dimension field. As it is used as a decimal separator in most of non-Anglo-Saxon countries, I sometimes copy-paste the dimensions with commas, it returns an error page, and I have to enter again all the information.
Maybe Chris can add a line in the code to allow the use of both symbols in the dimension fields.

Ideally, the form should tell when the information entered is wrong *before* submission.


(221 replies, posted in Bug reporting)

Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie:
http://www.the-athenaeum.org/sources/detail.php?id=775 (correct)

Hans Holbein the Younger - Darmstadt Madonna:
http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?id=24633 (correct)

Could you just display the "private collection" entry at the top of the list in the dropdown menus? It is the most used entry and it's boring to look for it in the list all the time.
A while ago I asked you to delete the "duplicate" of the private collection, but I think now that it was made for this reason.

chris_mccormick wrote:
Josselin wrote:

More generally, the database has become HUGE, with more than 150K artworks, 7K artists and 2K museums (many with alternate names), and is therefore slower. I think an overhaul of the lists is necessary.

Which lists - the ones in the select boxes on forms, or elsewhere? What's the first change you'd like to see?

Hope that helps,

Artists and museums lists are veeeery long to load. I just counted 43 seconds for the "artworks by artist" list and 52 seconds for the museums list. I'm just wondering if it is possible to optimize them.


(122 replies, posted in Bug reporting)

chris_mccormick wrote:
Josselin wrote:

When searching for museums in Munich, the search engine returns several museums with their alternate name, instead of their first name.
http://www.the-athenaeum.org/search.php … rds=Munich
Instead of the Alte Pinakothek, it displays "Munich Old Picture Gallery".

Hello Josselin,
     I fixed the issue above. The page will now show the primary name of the museum unless the only way the search found the museum was that the search term matched on the English name (probably fair to show the English name if that is how the user is searching, and it doesn't match anywhere else).

I also added a bit to show alternate names for museums in the search results, so you know that the same record has those names.

Finally (and this was difficult), I made it so that the sort order uses whichever name is chosen for display. So if a museum displays the English name it will be sorted by that, if it displays the primary name it will be sorted by that, and if it displays the other name, it will be sorted by that.

You can try with the "Munich" search or any other search. If you find issues let me know.

- Chris

PS: Museums with accents in their names may still sort in funny ways ("Musee" sorts before "Musée" no matter what comes after, for example), but that's going to be very hard to fix unless we store two versions of all three names - one with accents for display and one without accents for sorting. A later task, perhaps.

Ok thanks,

Maybe there is a way to force the search engine and the database to ignore all special characters. I created a thread somewhere else to deal with this issue.

Edit: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?id=597


(122 replies, posted in Bug reporting)

kohn1fox wrote:

I have noticed that a very large number of Russian paintings were entered under the Hermitage, St Petersburg instead of the State Russian Museum, St Petersburg (or the Russian Museum).  The Hermitage contains foreign (European) works of art and the State Russian Museum holds Russian works and probably the greatest collection in Russia.

I intend to gradually transfer Russian art works from the Hermitage to their rightful ownership.

The same problem stands for the Berliner museums.

Chris, maybe you should merge the"add an artwork" form with the "edit an artwork" form. Currently, the dropdown menus are different and the "artist modifiers" feature is only available when editing.
The "Pick from suggested owners (click to open or close)" feature doesn't work as well. (I use Firefox).

Edit: Apparently the "artist modifiers" feature is available in the "add an artwork" form linked on the Home page, but not when adding an artwork directly from an artist's page.

Home page: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/add.php
Artist page: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/add.php?pid=364

Edit 2: Could you use the same auto-filtering box for artists in the "add an artwork" form linked on the Home page (http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/add.php)? It is impossible to use that form for the moment because of the loading time when choosing an artist from the dropdown menu.

More generally, the database has become HUGE, with more than 150K artworks, 7K artists and 2K museums (many with alternate names), and is therefore slower. I think an overhaul of the lists is necessary.

Hello Chris,
It works for me - and it's so much better this way! thanks.


(7 replies, posted in Bug reporting)

greenrich44 wrote:

I think the size shown on the website for Bruce Crane's "Autumn" (the one at the Smithsonian) is in error.  According to the Smithsonian website, the size is 30 1/4 x 36 1/8 in. (76.8 x 91.6 cm).  This may not be a bug but I wasn't sure how else to mention it.

Fixed, thanks.

You can use the "Send message about this artwork" button in the second tab under the picture to report errors.


(221 replies, posted in Bug reporting)

kohn1fox wrote:

On occasions the server does not appear to pick up a submission and an error message is posted.  If a second and successful entry is submitted this often leads to a duplication of the image and it is recommended that the uploader checks against the listing of entries to establish if a duplicate of the entry has appeared.

This is often the case with entries I make when the server is not performing well.  It is important to ensure that you have not entered the same work twice.

When it displays an error message instead of the newly created artwork, just refresh the page until it does.

Here is the bug I mentioned:

Warning: pg_connect(): Unable to connect to PostgreSQL server: could not fork new process for connection: Resource temporarily unavailable could not fork new process for connection: Resource temporarily unavailable in /home/arachne/public_html/shared/classes/Database.php on line 16
Can't connect to the database.

Hello Chris,

I think the priority should be given to the recurrent bug we have when opening a new page. It doesn't always occur but I presume it is related to the traffic of the site. It says that "the sql database cannot be loaded" (sth like that) or displays a blank page with code written on it.
I thought this bug would have disappeared with the new server (we used to get it more often with the former one though). These repeated error pages harms the website ranking as I noticed that Google has downgraded the Athenaeum in its results (through searches on artists).

Apart from that, I think you should rapidly add features which will require amending artworks once implemented. For instance, you mentioned a different system for medium. If you do this, we will therefore have to edit many artworks - those for which we have written extra notes in the medium special field (such as "with gouache" or "laid down on  panel"...). So it's better to add it now, as we will have less work to do later.

In the same spirit, a modification of the code would also be necessary to allow:
- several images for one artwork, in order to deal with polyptychs or large frescoes.
- several artists for one artwork, when two or more artists collaborated on one work.
- several museums for one artwork, when museums jointly own an artwork.


(221 replies, posted in Bug reporting)

Quirinal Palace:
http://www.the-athenaeum.org/sources/detail.php?id=2482 (correct)


(23 replies, posted in Suggestions from users)

Josselin wrote:
chris_mccormick wrote:

Hello Josselin and Graham,
      Just so you know, I am back from my work trip and ready to dig into things again.

A note on British people and their respective countries: Britain is a rare case where we have "countries within a country" which obviously makes it a challenge to categorise people. I live in the UK, and I know that attitudes here vary. For example, most Welsh people I know do not mind being called "British" instead of "Welsh"; however calling a Scottish person "British" may result in a fight! :-)

To be absolutely correct in a formal sense (i.e., what nationality would the U.N. use for a person?), this is what we need to do:
Before the Act of Union in May 1707 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acts_of_Union_1707), there was no "Great Britain," and consequently nobody was "British". People with birth dates before that should be referred to by their respective countries only. So someone born in Scotland in 1703 is Scottish but not British.  Someone born in 1710 in Scotland is technically "British" though they wouldn't use that term themselves.

Now, the Act of Union only united England, Scotland, and Wales.  Northern Ireland doesn't get added in until the Acts of Union 1800, which take effect January 1 of 1801. So, someone born in northern Ireland in 1798 is Irish only, but someone born in northern Ireland in 1805 is British, though again they wouldn't call themselves "British".

So, that's the history, but what does it mean for our site? I think we need to be historically correct, so eventually we need to use those two dates to write the correct labels:

Northern Ireland (before 1801):    The label is "Irish"
Northern Ireland (after 1800):      The label is "British (Northern Ireland)"

Scotland (before May 1770):         The label is "Scottish"
Scotland (after May 1770):           The label is "British (Scotland)"

Wales (before 1536):   The label is "Welsh"
Wales (after 1536):     The label is "British (Wales)"

Those are the labels that should eventually be standardised across the site - they will be correct, while provided the best useful information. This means to get the labels right we'll have to have birth dates in place for people, and also have their birth country tagged (i.e., not just "UK").

For searches, we'll be more lenient, so people don't get upset if their search doesn't work. Consider someone searching for all "British" art between 1750 and 1790. Before 1770, there is technically no "Britain" at all, but the average person doesn't know that; what they mean is probably "all art by people born within the current UK borders". So we'll translate that search to include Scotland, Ireland, England, and Wales, and maybe provide a historical note with the search results.

There are some other countries with similar challenges (I think that the term "Dutch" i similarly weird with some of the islands in the Atlantic), but this is the biggest case.

For now, think of the above as my "template," and don't worry too much about it until I start implementing this. For now, you can use whichever term you like - British or Scottish for example. When we get the tools in place, we'll do a review and make sure everything fits in the new system.

Hello Chris,

I agree with you on this, but it creates a lot of new problems.

Indeed, countries like the Holy Empire, Prussia, the USSR or all the small Italian States disappeared long time ago, but artists of the time were linked with these countries rather than the current ones.
I am somewhat embarrassed to link Brueghel with Belgium, since the country only appeared 250 years later. We'd better label him either with the Spanish Netherlands or the Duchy of Brabant.

Moreover, some artists cannot really be linked with a country. For example, Anton Raphael Mengs was born in Bohemia - now the Czech Republic - but he was German. At this time, Bohemia was a property of Austria, and at the same time a part - as an electoral member - of the Holy Roman Empire. So Mengs can either be linked with Austria or Germany or the Czech Republic! I decided to label him as "German", but this can be disputed.

It would be very much more accurate to follow what you have proposed - as it is more historically accurate - but you need to change all of the nationality system.

I am historian, so I do not have any problem to link artists with their respective country of the time, but can everybody do the same for all the small former States of Germany and Italy? Entering new artists would become complex in the future.
Maybe we can make a feature like this:
"Pieter Brueghel the elder, born near Bree, at the time in the Spanish Netherlands, now in the Netherlands".


In addition, maybe we should allow multiple citizenship for some artists.
For instance, Rothko was born in Lithuania in 1903, at this time part of the Russian Empire, but lived all his life in the USA. I labelled him as Lithuanian, but he is said American in museum catalogues.

Many other artists who emigrated to the USA are in this situation. How should we deal with them? Are they "American" or not?


(221 replies, posted in Bug reporting)

Nicolas Poussin - The Vision of Saint Francoise Romaine:

Centre Pompidou - Musée National d'Art Moderne:
http://www.the-athenaeum.org/sources/detail.php?id=27 (correct)

Pieter Aertsen - Market Place with Christ and the Adulteress:


(13 replies, posted in Suggestions from users)

Can we say that acrylic is a kind of watercolour? Otherwise this medium has to be added to the list.

Artists are sorted by "Last name, First name" in the list for 'connecting to an image of this person', but the dropdown menu displays names as "first name last name". It is therefore impossible to type the first letters of the family name to get the entry we want, and we thus have to search for a name in the nearly 7000 lines of the drop-down menu. It would be far better to display names as "Last name, First name".


(16 replies, posted in Suggestions from users)


Kulturhistorische Museum Magdeburg: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/sources/detail.php?id=2878

Gleimhaus: http://www.the-athenaeum.org/sources/detail.php?id=2850