Archived News Items
Here are all of our old news items (237 of them, listed newest first). Please note that many of them contain hyperlinks, which may no longer work. We preserve these items mainly for historical interest.
March 2012

Fixed an issue with page numbers

We have fixed an issue where the list of page numbers was big and ugly if you looked at the whole-site artwork listing. It should be much better formatted now.
(Entered on Friday March 9th, 2012 04:02 AM)

50,000 artworks!

On February 28, The Athenaeum crossed the 50,000 artwork mark. This is a big milestone for us, and one very few art resources have achieved. The credit goes of course to our dedicated uploaders, especially rocsdad. We're continuing to improve the site, and look forward to the day when we can announce the 100,000 mark!
(Entered on Friday March 2nd, 2012 05:30 AM)
February 2012

New artwork display page

Oops! We forgot to point out that the full view of artworks has been seriously upgraded, providing a nice uncluttered view that focuses on the image. You can also change the background to grey, black, or white depending on your preference. We think this is a much ore pleasant way to look at the images. Let us know what you think!
(Entered on Tuesday February 21st, 2012 05:54 AM)

New State of the Site page

We have updated the State of the Site page to better display the major changes to the site. Let us know if there are any bugs, and enjoy!
(Entered on Saturday February 11th, 2012 11:26 AM)
January 2012

Apology for the downtime

We apologise for the downtime earlier today; one of our temp directories for image processing filled up, which stopped the web server. Hopefully it wasn't an inconvenience, and it has been fixed now.
(Entered on Friday January 20th, 2012 10:48 AM)

Travelling for the next week

I will be travelling (yes, the British spelling) in East Africa for the next week, getting back home on the 22nd of January. I will have minimal internet access during that time. So if there are issues while I am gone, send me an e-mail through the Contact link, be patient, and I'll handle it when I get back.
(Entered on Friday January 13th, 2012 07:52 AM)

Smarter about copyrights

We have upgraded our artwork pages to do a better job of checking (automatically) for potential copyright issues with an artwork or an artist. If either the artwork or the artist is judged to be not in the public domain, only the thumbnail will be displayed, and there will be a message about the copyright. This will help us better police when people upload more recent artworks.
(Entered on Tuesday January 10th, 2012 09:46 AM)
December 2011

Cool new graphs

We have added cool new graphs to the Member Profile page and the Person Detail page, showing when artworks were uploaded. Check out the graph on the Renoir page or the one for our main uploader, rocsdad. They're pretty neat.
(Entered on Friday December 23rd, 2011 09:31 AM)

Bigger thumbnails

After a fair amount of work, we have generated medium sized thumbnails for all of our artworks, and changed the artwork display page and the artwork face-off page to display them. Enjoy!
(Entered on Thursday December 22nd, 2011 03:52 PM)

Updated artwork pages

We have updated artwork pages to have better links to museum information, and also to link to the profile page for the member who uploaded the artwork.
(Entered on Friday December 16th, 2011 05:30 AM)
November 2011

Updated artwork pages and artwork ratings

We have updated the look of artwork pages to use tabs for a cleaner look. We have also added a fun new feature where you can rate artworks. The rating will be built into other areas of the site over time.
(Entered on Tuesday November 22nd, 2011 08:13 AM)

Hotlink labeling

We have now added a script which will add our logo on images linked from The Athenaeum, on the fly. Took some doing, but it's pretty cool. See an example here. Scroll down and see how many of their images are coming from our server. Wow.
(Entered on Monday November 7th, 2011 04:14 PM)

User lists fixed!

After what seems like ages, we have fixed the user lists. Have fun!
(Entered on Sunday November 6th, 2011 02:55 PM)
October 2011

Fixed some PHP errors

We recently upgraded PHP, which led to some annoying errors on the forum and on pages to update records. These should be fixed now.
(Entered on Monday October 31st, 2011 03:41 AM)
November 2010

Recent changes

We have a number of recent changes to the site:
- The pages for editing a museum have been resurrected.
- The museum display page has re-styled to fit the site
- Person display pages have been restyled a good bit
- An anti-spambot script has been added to the forums. We still have a good bit of clean up to do there, but that should slow down the flood.
(Entered on Wednesday November 24th, 2010 05:10 AM)
April 2010

A Stanislas Lepine Found

Unearthed in a small country town in New South Wales, Australia, a small painting by the 19th Century French painter Stanislas Lepine is going under the hammer 28th April. Lot 113 at Deutscher and Hackett's Australian and International Art Auction is Stanislas Lepine’s View of the Seine, Toward Pont Sully and Notre Dame. It was purchased in France c1900 by a wealthy merchant Albert Bush, who lived in the gold mining town of Bendigo in Victoria. It is now in a private collection in New South Wales. It can be viewed at Catalogue listing: Lot 113 STANISLAS LEPINE View of the Seine toward Pont Sully and Notre Dame (1835 – 1892, French) oil on wood panel 23.5 x 39.5 cm signed lower left: S Lépine ESTIMATE: AU$12,000 – 16,000 PROVENANCE Collection of Albert Bush, Bendigo Collection of Fred Bush, Bendigo A gift from the above Private collection, New South Wales
(Entered on Thursday April 22nd, 2010 08:56 PM)
November 2008

Improved artwork lists

One of our most common requests is thumbnails for those artists who have more than 100 artworks. Today I made several changes to the artwork listing pages, including paged thumbnails of 100 at a time for artists like Monet, Sargent, and others. Enjoy!
(Entered on Monday November 3rd, 2008 12:27 PM)
September 2008

Editing person records

It's fixed now. :-)
(Entered on Monday September 29th, 2008 09:02 PM)

Recent changes

Recently a couple of changes have been made here at The Athenaeum:
- I wrote a script that makes it easier to clean out the offensive entries from the Action Items page.
- I fixed the pages that allow users to add new artists.

There are still many little things to catch up on, but the site is pretty stable and clean at the moment.

(Entered on Saturday September 27th, 2008 12:50 PM)
July 2008

Lots of little things

I continue to work on little things around the site. Some recent developments:
· Removed the old Amazon donation link and updated it to a PayPal link on our "How can I help?" page
· Updated the look of the forums a bit, and added a link back to our home page
· Updated the museum page to show how many artworks each museum has on our site. It's sortable, and you can link directly to the artworks from the museum list.
· I'm working on a set of tools that (hopefully by August) will allow us to run uploading contests and award CASH PRIZES for the most uploads. Stay tuned. :-)

(Entered on Saturday July 12th, 2008 12:36 PM)


In the last few days, Athenaeum member rocsdad has greatly beefed up our Goya collection. We now have over 80 artworks by the Spanish master. Check them out here.

Thanks, rocsdad!

(Entered on Saturday July 5th, 2008 11:59 AM)

New pages working

I have now gotten the pages for editing artworks and adding artworks up and running. Please let us know if you discover any bugs with those pages.

Next up? Probably a little facelift on the forums, and making sure that some of the more esoteric ways of looking up art (by year, by nation) are working.

(Entered on Tuesday July 1st, 2008 09:35 AM)
June 2008

Domain name moved

Today I spent a lot of time getting the main pages up and running. There are still a LOT of pages that need to be fixed on the new server (mostly those used for editing), but it\'s working \"well enough\" that I feel comfortable moving the domain. In the next week or two, please feel free to send us bug reports. The new server should be much faster; hopefully this is the start of a better Athenaeum. Thanks for your patience!
(Entered on Sunday June 29th, 2008 08:18 PM)

New server

Hey there! We have purchased a new dedicated server, and are in the process of moving the site over. There will be a lot of little bugs for the next week or so, after which things will hopefully settle down. Please let us know if you encounter any bugs during this time.
(Entered on Sunday June 22nd, 2008 09:46 PM)
April 2008

Update - April 19

Today we added links to 1st Art Gallery, a company which creates hand painted reproductions of artworks. A portion of the proceeds from each sale will will be returned to The Athenaeum, allowing us to make some much-needed improvements to the site. If you would like a reproduction of one of our artworks, please consider their service.
(Entered on Saturday April 19th, 2008 02:49 PM)

Updates - April 17

I'm back in town, and had a little time tonight to do the following:
- Changed the page that lists artworks by artist, so that thumbnails now link to the artwork detail page - Got about halfway through with re-formatting the artwork editing page
(Entered on Thursday April 17th, 2008 11:42 PM)

Updates - April 12

Things done today:
- Improved pages for adding people
- Reformatted "newest five artworks" section and added contributor names
- Fixed broken user registration dates on "Site Status" page
(Entered on Saturday April 12th, 2008 10:57 PM)

Cleaning up - April 8

Things done today:
- More cleaning of the forums. Almost done!
- Performance tuning of the server. Things should generally be a bit faster now, but send us a line if it's still very slow for you.
(Entered on Tuesday April 8th, 2008 11:04 PM)


Today we: - Fixed the copyright date in the page footers - Cleaned out 98% of the junk in the forums - Cleaned up a lot of museum names We're trying to figure out how to allow accented letters in the museum names, but for now they'll be unaccented due to display issues.
(Entered on Monday April 7th, 2008 11:46 PM)

Spam filtering

We have added a new spam filtering tool to the forums, which will hopefully make them usable again. There's still a lot of junk for us to clean up, but if you decide to jump in and post and find your posts aren't going through, they may have been marked as spam. Let us know, and we'll look into it.
(Entered on Sunday April 6th, 2008 11:29 PM)

Popup on art listing - fixed

I have removed a vandalism on an artists's name that was causing a popup message when listing artworks. If you find the popup again, please send us a message at our e-mail address.
(Entered on Sunday April 6th, 2008 09:13 PM)
January 2007

Site search fixed

Those site search boxes at the bottom of the navigation bar have been broken for a long time. Today I got them fixed by pointing them to Google.
(Entered on Saturday January 20th, 2007 09:14 AM)
November 2006

Back in business

Hello all.

It's been a tough few months here at The Athenaeum. We were hacked, and it took a lot of work to get everything back in working order. I believe that we now have the site working, with no significant data loss.

Many of you offered words of supposrt during this difficult time, and I want to thank you. I will do my best to go back and answer all of the e-mails, but there are hundreds. If I don't get to you, know that it was appreciated.

We have a new server. It is faster and more secure than the current machine, and we hope to move the site over soon. However, I want to make sure that the vulnerabilities that led to the hack don't follow us across. I'll keep this page up-to-date with my progress.

(Entered on Monday November 13th, 2006 03:27 PM)
February 2006

Issues with adding artworks - fixed

I found a problem on the artwork upload pages this morning, due to an instance of the old IP address. I believe I have it fixed now.

If you should find other errors, please send me an e-mail. I can usually fix them quickly, but I need your help in *finding* them.

(Entered on Wednesday February 15th, 2006 07:02 AM)

Explanation for the downtime

We are back after being down for about a week. Long story short, the entire web site is here and functioning just as before. If you want to know more, the explanation is below:

At about 11 AM on Monday January 30th, the web site went down. Our ISP indicated that during maintenance they "noticed" that the server was down. We are unlikely to ever know whether this was just a coincidence, or whether the maintenance caused the server to go down.

Either way, our server was moved, and given a new IP address. This, as you might imagine, caused our web server to be unable to serve the site. I got that bit fixed pretty quickly. However, our DNS service (which helps your browser know which IP address to use for took longer to straighten out. IN other words, the web site was there the whole time, but Google and browsers couldn't find it by address.

Everything should be back to normal at present. Please send us an e-mail if you encounter any problems.

(Entered on Monday February 6th, 2006 12:22 PM)
December 2005

Who did what?

After switching to the new forum software, which involved moving our member list, several pages were still looking for members in the old place. This meant that some pages had blanks where there should have been a member name. That's why artwork pages were saying "added by user .", and why the site status page and top contributor page had errors. This has now been fixed.
(Entered on Monday December 12th, 2005 07:29 AM)
November 2005

Moved member profiles

I noticed that the customized registration scripts were still going to the old forum. So, I moved all of those people over to our new forum, and changed the registration link to point to the forum registration page. I will try to make the forum pages fit better into the rest of the site later, but at least registration and logging in and out all seem to be working correctly.
(Entered on Sunday November 20th, 2005 12:19 AM)

Albrecht Dürer images

Over the last couple of weeks, we have gone from having almost no works by Albrecht Dürer to having nearly 40 of them. They are all great scans, which is important for someone with so much detail in his works. We are still a good bit behind the other major online collections of his work, but now we can say that we are filling what was a major gap in our collection. Check out our images here
(Entered on Friday November 18th, 2005 12:09 PM)

Fixed study linking

As a result of renaming the artwork detail page from art_detail.php to detail.php, studies for artworks were not linking correctly. I fixed that this morning.
(Entered on Friday November 18th, 2005 12:03 PM)

Works that are not in the public domain

Lately, some contributors have been adding artworks that were created too recently to be in the public domain. Unfortunately, this content violates copyright laws, and as such, it could get the entire site in trouble. In the next few weeks, I plan to add a few tools to make the site "smarter" about not letting in material like this, and I'll personally contact those who need help figuring out what to post. Please take a look at our tutorial on adding art to get a better idea of the rules.
(Entered on Saturday November 12th, 2005 06:51 PM)


I have begun working on an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page. You can get to it from the main menu, under the "Site Information" heading.

If you can think of other questions and answers that should go on the FAQ, please send them to our e-mail address or write a note in the forums. Also, if you are interested in translating the FAQ, let us know. We'd like to get translations in as many laguages as possible.

(Entered on Saturday November 12th, 2005 04:54 PM)

Lots of fixes

Today I finally had some time to devote to the site, and I was able to fix several issues with logins, and a few other things besides. The site will finally be able to transition back to logging in for most things.

Christmas is coming up, and like most people I will be pretty busy, but I hope to get a lot of the broken things, rough edges, and inconsistent design smoothed out toward the end of the year. That would pave the way for a major push of new content and functionality in 2006.

Thanks for being patient through my long periods of neglect.

(Entered on Saturday November 12th, 2005 01:48 PM)
October 2005

I'm back

It's a long story. I have neglected the site for a while, but now I am cleaning things up again. Rather than a Spring cleaning, a Fall cleaning.

The first order of business is new forum software an getting integrated login/registration working across the site. After that, a lot of cosmetic things need attention.

I have updated the contact e-mail in the page footers; if you have comments, questions, or suggestions, feel free to drop me a line.

(Entered on Sunday October 9th, 2005 12:20 AM)
November 2004

Registration is working again

I had not had a chance to look at (and fix) our new member registration code until recently. I want to apologize to all of those who wanted to join but couldn't get it to work; it wasn't your fault. :-)

The new code works just fine as far as I can tell; please let me know if you have any problems with it. I have a good bit of work to do in order to get the lists working and some of the other personalized content we used to have, but it's on the way.

(Entered on Friday November 5th, 2004 11:14 AM)
October 2004

Rulers of nations back up

Hello everyone. I have added the rulers listing for nations, with the new look and better sorting. There are still some minor issues (like Charles IX sorting before Charles IV in an alphabetical listing, or the modern ruler of Argentina being listed as a "21th century" ruler), but for the most part it works beautifully.
(Entered on Thursday October 28th, 2004 09:13 AM)

Revamped the Artwork Faceoff

Hey there, more changes. I've updated the look of the Artwork Faceoff pages, and added a page for "unpopular art," or artworks which usually lose the Faceoff.

Also, I have added a much-requested feature - the ability to go to the detail page for an artwork you discover through the Faceoff. However, to keep the voting "unbiased" by this extra knowledge, the artworks in the contest will be reset if you choose to view the detail page for either one of them.

(Entered on Friday October 22nd, 2004 02:50 PM)

Better nation listing page

I have redesigned the nation listing page to make it match the other list pages. In addition, I have added a field to show how many people are in the database from each nation, and you can now sort nations by name, the date they were founded, or person count.

I plan soon to get the listing of rulers back up, as well as the listing of people from each nation.

(Entered on Friday October 22nd, 2004 01:49 PM)

News archive improved

I have re-coded the news archive to match the new format. No new functionality, just a quick fix that needed doing.
(Entered on Friday October 15th, 2004 03:54 PM)

Better viewing of person records

So, a little while back I improved the look and functionality of the museum listings. Now I have done the same for the person listing page ( It looks a lot better, sorting works the way it should, and you can now sort by date of birth or nationality, which was not possible before. You can compare it to the old version, which is here.

Of, course, this is all leading up to a similar fix on the artwork listings, which are more complex. That one iwll take me a while; in the meantime, let me know your thoughts on this (or any other) issue by emailing me using the "Contact us" link at the bottom of the page.

(Entered on Thursday October 14th, 2004 01:39 PM)
September 2004

Member artworks lists now viewable

It's taken me a while to get it looking right, but the lists of artworks created by members are now viewable, and much easier to access/browse through than before. I need to add the ability to create/edit lists, and to add artworks to lists, but soon all of our list-y goodness will be back and better than ever.

Check out the new format by going to the "User-created lists" link in the navigation bar to the right.

(Entered on Thursday September 16th, 2004 04:06 PM)

Better sorting on the museum list

You may recall that I recently re-worked the museum listing page, at However, in the course of making the page look better, I changed the sorting order. Now it is the way it should be. Whew you sort by nation, the museums are listed alphabetically within each nation heading.
(Entered on Wednesday September 8th, 2004 01:01 PM)

Artwork contributor page back up

I have restored the page that lists who has contributed artworks to The Athenaeum. You can get to it through various links around the site, or go here: .
(Entered on Wednesday September 8th, 2004 11:39 AM)
August 2004

Thanks for the donation!

We recently received our first donation ($50) through the Amazon Honor System. Unfortunately, It does not list who donated, so we cannot thank you personally. We are planning a page of "thank yous," for the various people who have helped with this project. If you donate and would like to be listed on the page, or just want us to know where the money came from, please e-mail me at cmccormick (at) (replacing the "(at)" with the @ symbol).

Thanks again for the kind donation. With our new dedicated server, costs are higher than they once were, and this money will go into a "rainy day" fund. If anyone else would like to donate, you may do so by going to our "Get Involved" page, at .

(Entered on Wednesday August 25th, 2004 04:47 PM)

Fancy new report format

If you go to the museum listing (, you will see the way I plan on formatting list-style reports in the future. It takes advantage of the new style sheets to make things easier for me to code, as well as easier for you to use. Especially note the nifty arrow buttons for sorting. As an added bonus, if you are using a browser that correctly implements CSS (i.e., *not* MS Explorer), you will see some nice row-highlighting effects.

If you have a chance, go to the page and try it out. I want to know if anything doesn't work right, or if you can think of ways to improve it. E-mail me your thoughts at cmccormick(at) (replacing "(at)" with the @ symbol).

(Entered on Tuesday August 24th, 2004 07:41 PM)

Glossary section redesigned

I have just completed reworking the Glossary section. Adding new terms and editing terms are back online, and it all has a new look with more user-friendliness. For some reason, I can't get image uploading to work, so I'll come back and fix it later.
If you have time, select a term, come up with a definition, and add it to the glossary; you'll get a chance to see the new form code at work. It should be very easy to understand and use.
(Entered on Tuesday August 24th, 2004 11:46 AM)

Server down

Many of you may have noticed that the web site has been down for about a week. The short story is that we ran out of disk space, and everything is ok now. When I have time (probably tomorrow), I will write up a longer and more technical explanation for those who may be interested.
(Entered on Monday August 16th, 2004 05:25 PM)
July 2004


I have fixed the pages used to upload images of artists, as well as the pages used to designate people as rulers of nations.
(Entered on Tuesday July 6th, 2004 12:07 PM)


Hello everyone. I continue to add the old pages back, but I have also started to work on some redesigning. The first target is the home page. I have a rough draught up at . You can check it out and e-mail me your thoughts at cmccormick[at] (replace "[at]" with the @ symbol). Also note that the member-created lists are up for viewing, but not for creating - I need to do a lot of fixing on those.
(Entered on Thursday July 1st, 2004 04:11 PM)
June 2004

Additions and fixes

Hello all. I continue to fix left-out pages. There are many small fixes here and there, but I wanted you to know that I have fixed the Visual Arts portal page at I have also fixed the various ways to look up art, including by year. Continuing what I did with listings by a single artist, any year with fewer than 100 artworks will have thumbnails. Try going to this page, for instance: .

This is very exciting. No other web site does anything like this. You can now pull up a sampling of the art for a single year and compare the works side by side. We will eventually give you more tools to select works and compare them this way (Imagine being able to ask for all the paintings by two or three artists within a specific ten-year period, for example). But for now, this is a great start. Enjoy! :-)

(Entered on Monday June 28th, 2004 02:34 PM)

More fixes

<div> Hello all. I have added the "News Archive" page and the "Today's Additions" page to the site, and they are working fine. I think I have also finally ironed out our domain name problems, so you should be able to switch over to using instead of the numerical address ( </div> <div> I am going to continue to add the remaining non-working pages, but the most important things to fix right now are: 1. Getting our e-mail working from this server, 2. Getting new member registration working (that requires number 1), 3. Getting our style sheets working again, and 4. Getting all remaining art utility scripts working. After that I'll tackle the other straggling pages. Within a couple of weeks, I'll be ready to start redesiging some of the pages (for XHTML compliance and more re-usability), and adding new features. </div>
(Entered on Friday June 25th, 2004 03:39 PM)

Artwork messages working

Hello everyone. I have fixed the artwork message scripts, so you can now leave messages about artworks again. Plus, I will start clearing out the backlog of messages that are already there. <p> Additionally, I have fixed the script to replace the image for an artwork. This is good if an image does not upload correctly, or if you have a better quality image. <br/> Enjoy your trip to The Athenaeum! </p>
(Entered on Monday June 14th, 2004 08:55 AM)

The site is officially moved

Ok, for most of you the domain name should be pointing to the new server (some of your ISP's that may take another day or so to catch up). There will no doubt be a lot of small things to fix in the coming days, but this is where things will stay. So get comfortable, try things out, and let me know about any problems you find.
(Entered on Saturday June 12th, 2004 12:37 AM)

More areas of the site are working.

Today I added create/edit capability for person records, create/edit/list/view artworks capability for museum records, some of the site information pages, and the create/edit news entry pages. By the end of this week, almost all of the commonly-used pages will be in working order. At that point, I will split my time between fixing bugs from the old site, adding new functionality, and getting some of the more obscure corners from the old site up.

Since we can add new content to this site, I'll be shutting down the pages that add content to the old site. You should consider this server the "production" or "live" server now. In a couple of weeks, we'll switch the domain name over.

Thanks for being patient as we make so many changes!
(Entered on Thursday June 10th, 2004 03:37 PM)
February 2004

Copyrighted content

Just a reminder to please avoid placing any copyrighted content in The Athenaeum. Recently, I have noticed some copyrighted text (poems and encyclopedia entries) showing up in our database.

Though we are a web archive, and many archives get away with such things, we want to respect the right of others to make money from their creative works. We hope one day to be big enough and popular enough to negotiate favorable terms for the display of copyrighted material. But until then, we need to use only works in the public domain, or which are original.

If you want to use encyclopedias as sources, you must either rewrite the content in your own words (time consuming, I know), or use a public domain (i.e., *old*) encyclopedia. The best p.d. source is the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Ebritannica. An imperfectly-scanned-in copy of the 1911 EB is here:

I hope that helps. I know that copyright issues are complex, but we can guide you through it. If you have any copyright questions, feel free to ask them in the forums, or contact me (Chris) personally.
(Entered on Monday February 23rd, 2004 08:12 AM)

Improvements to sorting

Hello everyone. I am excited to tell you that I have made some important improvements to the code that sorts items in lists and tables. While working on our new server, I have come up with code that will correctly sort titles or names that start with articles ('a,' 'an,' or 'the') and also words that have unusual or accented characters (like 'é,' 'ö,' or even 'Þ'). The great thing is that this will be largely transparent to viewers. In the past, we have asked members to enter *two* titles/names - the 'real' one, and the one we use for sorting. On the new site, that should be taken care of automatically.

I don't have a good set of examples entered in yet, but I am testing the code with the new scripts to manage out-going links. When I have some good examples, I'll post a URL here.

(Entered on Friday February 13th, 2004 12:33 PM)
January 2004

Server move this week

Hello all. I just received word from our hosting company (which was recently bought out by a larger company) that our site (along with all of their sites) will soon be transferred to a new server, most likely during the week of Jan 12 - 16. I don't know if this will cause an interruption in service, but I wanted to let you know it was coming up. If you should have questions of any kind, please contact me at
(Entered on Saturday January 10th, 2004 11:42 AM)

Hacking attempt

Hello and welcome back to our site. I am sorry to say that our ISP was hacked about a week ago, and only now have we gotten the site back up. All the data was secure; only the .php files were affected.

We apologize for the inconvenience. This attack (the third in about a year) underscores the need for our move to another host. We'll let you know more details as we progress to that point.

(Entered on Wednesday January 7th, 2004 04:05 PM)
December 2003

A new test web site

Hi there, Chris here. Just wanted to let you all know that we have set up a test domain (web site) at We are going to rebuild the site on that domain, fixing a lot of things as we go. The goal is to (by sometime in early spring) get a lot of things cleaned up, and move the site over to the new setup (at which point, we'll switch the DNS listing, so it will still have as the address, but it will live on a different server). If you're curious, you can check every so often to see how it's coming. Things should *look* pretty much the same, but they will *work* better.

Also, I have closed out a lot of messages regarding artworks, and I'll try to get the rest closed out tomorrow.

(Entered on Sunday December 28th, 2003 04:11 PM)

Happy Holidays

I just wanted to wish all of our visitors a joyous holiday season, and to thank you for spending a part of it here. :-)
(Entered on Thursday December 25th, 2003 09:00 PM)
November 2003

Current goings-on

Hello everyone. It's been a while since I entered any news, so I thought I should give you an update. Our main contributor, rocsdad, is having computer and scanner trouble, so he hasn't posted any images in a while. He assures me that he will be back as soon as possible. That explains the lack of new images in the last couple of weeks. In the meantime, we have had new members signing up, and we have now hit 150 members, which is quite a good number. If any of you would like to learn how to contribute images yourself (or poems, or mythological data),I would be happy to guide you through it. Then, the next time we have one contributor who is unable to work on things, others will still be adding new material.

I have been very busy with a couple of tough classes at school. I can't wait until Christmas break, when I can work on my thesis, which has to do with making web timelines from historical data, and will go directly into this site once it works. I'll also be working on our mythological section, since we get a good number of people visiting that now.

And always remember that you can reach me if you have questions, concerns, or ideas. You can reach me through the athenaeum e-mail (, or my personal e-mail, Happy surfing!
(Entered on Saturday November 8th, 2003 12:21 PM)
October 2003

Alternate names for mythological figures

Members can now enter alternate names for mythological figures. You can do this when entering a new figure, or by editing an existing figure. If a a mythological figure has any alternate names, they will show up in a sidebar on the display page. See the Roman god Jupiter for an example.
(Entered on Monday October 13th, 2003 03:30 PM)

More mythological information

Hello there. Noting that more people are coming to our mythology pages from Google, I have started working to improve our offerings. I will start by getting at least the main Greek and Roman gods and goddesses up, with articles from the public domain 1911 Columbia Encyclopedia. I need to add more capabilities (like noting artworks which feature the gods), but that section of the site should improve considerably over the next few weeks. If you wish to add anything to the pages (or enter figures from other traditions), feel free.
(Entered on Monday October 13th, 2003 07:24 AM)
September 2003

New milestones

I just wanted to point out a couple of new milestones for the site. The first one you may have noticed - we now have more than 14,000 artworks on the site. Way to go, contributors! The second milestone has to do with our traffic. Since we began monitoring traffic (about a year and a half ago), we have now had almost 1.5 MILLION hits. Currently, visitors look at about 250,000 pages a month at The Athenaeum. That still puts us way behind many sites (in terms of exposure), but we are clearly serving the needs of a lot of people. These kinds of numbers will help us when we start looking for grants to support the site.
(Entered on Friday September 5th, 2003 06:56 AM)
August 2003

Art Instruction in CLT

This site is awesome. Thanks to all who have contributed to it. I am working on a similar site for disease diagnosis and generally believe such efforts will bring about a revolution as people are able to share knowledge and leverage cooperation as never before. Also, for anyone in south Charlotte, NC with children I wanted to recommend my sister's art class: Cheers and You Be Blessed, Tim
(Entered on Thursday August 21st, 2003 02:42 PM)


Hello everyone. A couple of improvements today. I fixed a problem where going to an artwork display page with a message in the URL (like when there is only one artwork for a given artist) would keep the page from loading in some older browsers.

In a more proactive change, I have added the code to close out the messages people leave about artworks. Now, once you've fixed the problem, you can click the "Close" link on the artwork display page. It allows you to add any comments about how you fixed the problem, and if the viewer left an e-mail address, it can send a message to let them know it's been fixed. Eventually, we'll add code to track who has closed out the most messages.

(Entered on Tuesday August 12th, 2003 01:51 PM)
July 2003

Looking up people from a specific country

I have added a link on the display page for a nation that displays all of the people (in The Athenaeum database) who were born in that country.
(Entered on Monday July 28th, 2003 02:31 PM)

New format for person listing

We now have more than 600 person records. They are artists, writers, and kings and queens. It takes a while to load the person listing page, and almost as long to scan through the listing to find someone. For that reason, we have changed the person display page so that it shows one letter at a time, defaulting to people whose (last) names begin with 'A'. You still have the option of using the complete list if you like. For the moment, we have removed the option of displaying only one profession; in the future, it will come back as part of a more advanced way to search for people.

We will probably make similar changes to the museum listing, which has exceeded 500 records.

(Entered on Saturday July 26th, 2003 09:30 AM)

13,000 artworks!

We've reached 13,000 artworks. Thanks to all contributors, and keep up the good work!
(Entered on Thursday July 24th, 2003 01:02 PM)


Hello everyone. Sorry about the site being down since last night - we victims of a "defacement," in which hackers replace the front pages of a site. I've uploaded the pages again, and everything appears to be fine - the database wasn't touched, luckily.

This is also a good time to point out that we pay extra to our hosting provider to have full backups of the database done on a weekly basis. The pages themselves are archived nightly. So, we should be safe even if hackers attacked the database itself. However, we will be talking to our hosting provider about the problem, and discussing ways to avoid similar incidents in the future. Thanks for being patient.

(Entered on Sunday July 20th, 2003 02:34 PM)

Adding sculptures

We have added an example of how to contribute scuplture images to the site. Since we believe photographs of sculpture are copyrightable, you should be careful to use images of sculpture which are old enough to be public domain. A good source for these kinds of images are general history of art texts from the turn of the 20th century. You can often get these books for fairly cheap. For instance, we bought History of Art by William Goodyear (1917) on EBay for about ten dollars. Here is a link to a wonderful engraving in that book, of the Nike by Paeonius --> (link). This engraving is as clear as any photo. Hopefully this will serve as an inspiration for anyone with old art texts to scan. Also note that there is a new choice, "sculptor," in the profession list when creating a person record.
(Entered on Saturday July 19th, 2003 11:04 AM)

Nationality for people

Members can now designate a person's country of birth when creating or editing person records. This will allow for more sophisticated sorting/searching, and will eventually lead to automatic contextual information (imagine, for instance, looking at a painting by Monet and being able to click a link that lists all other French painters with works in the 19th century). Right now, we have a lot of people with no designated nationality. You can see the list on our action items page. If you have some extra time, fix a few of them! :-)
(Entered on Saturday July 12th, 2003 01:06 PM)

User messages about errors

Occasionally, we receive e-mails about errors on the site - missing images, misspellings, and so on. I have been working on a tool to allow viewers of the site (members or non-members) to flag potential errors. These messages will show up in public areas of the site, so we can all participate in a sort of communal editing process. To start off with, I have created an interface for users to say if an artwork has a missing image, factual or spelling errors, or potential copyright issues. Those messages then show up on the 'Action Items' page.

I haven't yet made the message-sending interface public, and I still need to write the code that will allow members to claim action items, fix them, and 'check them off' of the list. For now, you can see a couple of examples of the action items being displayed on the Action Items page, here.

(Entered on Friday July 4th, 2003 11:09 AM)

Another milestone

Hello everyone. Now that we have over 12,000 artworks in our database, it if safe to say that we have passed the Web Gallery of Art in size (they list their site as having 11,600 images). This makes us the second-biggest general art archive on the web (I am not counting museum web sites, which after all cannot show items from others' collections).

I want to personally thank all of our contributors, especially rocsdad, for their dilligent work in getting us to this point. It has been an amazing ride thus far, and we looking forward to continued growth and improvement in the site.

(Entered on Thursday July 3rd, 2003 07:45 AM)
June 2003

Count of artworks by year

In the Visual Arts portion of the site, there is a new link called "Count of artworks by year". This link will take you to a page where you can see how many artworks we have for each year (for instance, we have 215 artworks begun in 1873). Furthermore, if you click on the year, you can get a list of the artworks for that year, which can be sorted in various ways. This view will probably be added soon to the artwork display pages, so that you can see artworks from the same year, or within a certain range of years.

Also, I have revamped the page for listing museums, so that it is easier to look at, conforms better to the rest of the site, and can be sorted by name or country. It's now very easy to see which museums we have listed in Italy, for example.

(Entered on Thursday June 26th, 2003 06:11 PM)

Better copyright protection

One of our current goals is to do a better job of helping our users understand and work with copyright. To that end, we have modified the uploading scripts. They will now detect works newer than 1927, and will not upload images for those works. The display script explains why the image was not uploaded. When we have some resources on site for copyright, the message will direct members to that section.

We have some images right now which are more recent than 1927, and we will soon remove those images. We eventually plan to find a way to show modern works, but currently we can't afford the licensing fees.

(Entered on Sunday June 22nd, 2003 05:57 PM)

A site FAQ is up

We have put up a very basic site FAQ. You can get to it from the navigation bar on the left. It needs a lot of work, and over the next few days and weeks, we'll flesh it out. If you can think of good FAQ topics, let me know, at We also appreciate your input on the FAQ answers.
(Entered on Monday June 16th, 2003 04:25 PM)

10,000 artworks!

Sorry for the lack of news recently; I have been busy with school and have not kept close tabs on the site in the last two weeks. But I'd like to point out two significant milestones. First of all, we have hit 10,000 artworks. As far as I know, this places us among only three general purpose art sites (as opposed to museums, which display only their own works) of that size. At our current rate of growth, we'll be number two in a couple of months. Perhaps more importantly, we have surpassed 50 members. We are starting to accrue a good group of contributors. With each new contributor, The Athenaeum builds up its core strength - user collaboration. Thanks, everyone, for your help.
(Entered on Monday June 16th, 2003 09:47 AM)

Bug with poems fixed

As some of you may have noticed, poems quit displaying in the Microsoft Explorer browser a few days ago. I didn't know about it until this morning; it's fixed now.

As a side note, I suppose we should do a page explaining what software is needed to view this site. I use a browser called Mozilla, which is both free and much more advanced than Explorer. You can get it at But the site is intended to be compatible with most browsers, so if you find problems, please let me know. I might not be aware of them.

(Entered on Friday June 6th, 2003 07:51 AM)

List of top artwork contributors

I have created a page to list The Athenaeum's top contributors of artworks. You can get to the listing from the Visual Arts portal, through the Site Status page (, or directly - . It's no surprise who's at the top of the list. :-) We should soon have a similar listing for poetry, and a generic "top contributors" page, listing contributors of various types. We are also looking at the possibilty of member profile pages, to help us get to know each other a little better.
(Entered on Wednesday June 4th, 2003 05:13 PM)

9000 artworks and other things

Hello everyone. We now have over 9,000 artworks, which means we have passed Olga's Gallery in size. Thanks to all who are entering artworks!

In addition, I have almost finished the scripts to enter basic information about mythological figures (gods, beasts, etc.). Those pages should be up by tomorrow, as well as the ability to add descriptive or introductory text to poem records.

(Entered on Monday June 2nd, 2003 04:02 PM)
May 2003

A Week of Images

It has been a busy week for new image collections. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (252 images), Mary Cassatt (223) and John Singer Sargent (170) were the big ones. In addition, smaller collections were entered for the Hudson River School painters Thomas Cole and George Inness.
(Entered on Saturday May 31st, 2003 09:42 PM)

Better notes scripts, notes for poems

I occasionally go back to some code I wrote a year or two ago and am appalled by what I see. Today's example is the code that handles how one adds notes to person or artwork records. I have done a lot of cleanup today, and there is more to be done. However, the notes code continues to work, and will work a little better in the near future, though you may not know it. What you will notice is that you can now add notes to poems. I will soon add a link to get a "printable" version of a poem, without any notes.
(Entered on Thursday May 29th, 2003 10:05 AM)

Small changes for poems

I have made a few improvements to the interfaces for adding and displaying poems, and I have added a couple of poems by Matthew Arnold. I have also begun work on a series of scripts to add mythological figures.
(Entered on Wednesday May 28th, 2003 03:17 PM)

New Artists

This week I have added significant image collections for four very different artists. Henri Fantin-Latour (182 images) a French Realist/Still Life Painter, Henri Rousseau (103) a French Post-Impressionist Painter, Juan Gris (92) a Spanish Cubist Painter and Gustave Moreau (109) a French Symbolist Painter.
(Entered on Sunday May 25th, 2003 10:25 AM)

Poem editing fixed.

Yesterday I added the ability to add publication dates to poems. However, it caused errors when adding or editing poems. Those errors have been fixed.
(Entered on Wednesday May 21st, 2003 08:23 AM)

Visual arts portal is ready

We have put up a basic "starter page" for the visual arts. You can find it at or by clicking on "Visual Arts" under "View Content" in the navigation bar on the left. We would like for this new page to be an all-in-one resource for the visual arts. We invite you to think about the best way to organize the page, and let us know how we can improve it. Eventually, we will pull some of the links from the main navigation bar, directing people to the visual art subsite instead.

Note that we have also provided a new way to look at artworks - by nation (where the artworks are currently located). On the art portal is a link to get a count of artworks by nation. You can then drill down to look at all of the museums we have for each nation, and all of the artworks within each museum.

(Entered on Tuesday May 20th, 2003 12:11 PM)

Dates for poems

Members can now add publication dates to poems. I have tested it by adding two poems by Matthew Arnold - "Dover Beach" and "Immortality."
(Entered on Tuesday May 20th, 2003 09:37 AM)

Adding a "portal" for art

We are reaching a more mature stage with the site, where our challenge is how to place all tools within easy reach, and yet not crowd every page with scores of links. In the next few weeks, we will take some baby steps towards having "portals" for art and literature. These "subsites" will allow us to provide focused access to specific kinds of Athenaeum content, while keeping the site easy to use. We'd like your input as we work on the portals - what information is most important? Where should it go? Help us make the site as useful as possible.
(Entered on Monday May 19th, 2003 03:38 PM)

Poem editing is ready

Members can now edit poems that have been entered into the database. You can fix spelling, change centering or italicizing, change the title, or add lines to the end of a poem. What you cannot do (yet) is insert or delete lines in the middle of a poem. that will come soon, however. We will also add the ability to annotate individual lines in the next couple of weeks.
(Entered on Monday May 19th, 2003 09:36 AM)

Two New Artists

Two new artist collections have been added this week. Gustave Courbet, a French Realist Painter, is represented with a 130+ images. The collection for Egon Schiele, an Austrian Expressionist Artist, has almost 230 images. Next, Henri Fantin-Latour.
(Entered on Sunday May 18th, 2003 09:40 PM)

Incomplete poem - my apologies.

I was in the middle of entering "Hiawatha's Photographing" when one of the cats jumped up on the keyboard and the piece went off half-cocked. I will complete the poem as soon as we have poetry editing facilities. Meanwhile, my apologies; and a word to the wise - feed cats BEFORE attempting lengthy typing session. Regards - Anthony
(Entered on Saturday May 17th, 2003 03:18 PM)

Artworks in the last seven days

A new script will show you which artists have had artwork added in the last seven days. If you go to the Site Status page, note that you can now click on the word "artworks" under the "7 Days" column. It will take you to this page -> .
(Entered on Wednesday May 14th, 2003 12:41 PM)

"Favorites" lists

To encourage members to use the list-making capabilities of The Athenaeum, we have provided each member with one list, entitled "Favorites". It is initially set to be private, though you can easily change that. Also, new members will now have the Favorites list created automatically when they register.
(Entered on Tuesday May 13th, 2003 11:25 AM)

Poem interface improved

Members can now enter poems of any length, 50 lines at a time. In the next couple of weeks, I hope to add editing capabilities, to correct/insert/remove lines. Soon after that will come the ability to add notes to individual lines.
(Entered on Tuesday May 13th, 2003 10:35 AM)

New tutorial - Adding person records

We have added our second tutorial, a short one that explains how to add person records. You can find it in the gray navigation bar on the left, in the "User Tools" section. Please let us know how we can improve it. We will probably move the tutorials to their own page later this summer. If you'd like to help us with documenting how to do things on The Athenaeum, just let us know.
(Entered on Monday May 12th, 2003 09:37 AM)

Pierre Auguste Renoir

I have finished uploading the second half (1891-1919) of a large collection of art works by Renoir. This brings the total number of works represented to over 1,000. Enjoy.
(Entered on Saturday May 10th, 2003 08:42 PM)

7000 artworks, and a new introduction

First of all, note that we now have over 7,000 artworks! This is a big number. Once we hit 8,000 we will catch up with one of the web's largest art galleries, Olga's Gallery. At this point, we are already several times the size of some of the more well-known image sites out there, like CGFA or Mark Harden's Artchive.

In other news, I have created a page to explain to visitors (or those considering joining) what sets us apart from the many art-related web sites out there. It is located at, although you can also get to it from the "What is The Athenaeum?" section of the home page.

(Entered on Thursday May 8th, 2003 03:27 PM)

Odilon Redon

A collection of over 240 images of art works by the French Symbolist painter Odilon Redon has been added to the data base.
(Entered on Sunday May 4th, 2003 09:28 PM)


In between exams, I found the time to add a page that displays poems for an individual author. Now, poets have a link to their poems from the person display page. We have another member who is helping to add poems and poets. If you are curious about how to join in, just e-mail me at, and I can walk you through it.
(Entered on Saturday May 3rd, 2003 09:03 PM)
April 2003

Paul Cezanne

I have just completed adding a collection of 485 images of artworks by this Post-Impressionist painter.
(Entered on Wednesday April 30th, 2003 03:37 AM)

Count of artworks by artist

I am working on an introductory page to explain to visitors what sets The Athenaeum apart from other sites. As part of that effort, I have created a page that lists how many images we have for each artist, in order of most to fewest. It's pretty impressive - our top 10 artists all have more than 150 images. I haven't yet created the page that will house the link for this list, but for now you can get there by clicking here.
(Entered on Sunday April 27th, 2003 12:22 PM)

Keeping track of notes

Members of The Athenaeum can now keep track of notes through a link on the profile page. The "Display Notes" link takes you to a page that lists your notes, the pages where they are displayed, when you created them, and more. Now, no matter how many notes you create, you can reference them all in one place.
(Entered on Saturday April 26th, 2003 04:51 PM)

6000 artworks!

We now have over 6000 artworks on the site! Note that we have also reached 300 person records. The Athenaeum can now truly be considered one of the top art resources on the web, by volume alone. Thanks to those of you who have helped so much, and we look forward to hitting 7000. :-)
(Entered on Saturday April 26th, 2003 03:59 PM)

Maurice Prendergast

Over 180 images by this American Artist have been added.
(Entered on Sunday April 20th, 2003 09:23 PM)


I have completed some basic scripts to enter poems. Right now, they don't do very much (display-wise), they're not terribly convenient to use, and they only work for poems of up to 50 lines. But since the poems are stored line by line in a database, we will have a lot of flexibility over how the poems are displayed, adding notes to the lines, and so on. For a basic example, see "She Walks in Beauty" by Byron, at (or just click here).
(Entered on Saturday April 19th, 2003 04:18 PM)

Edgar Degas

As far as I can see, this is the first news item from someone other than Chris Mccormick, the Webmaster of this terrific site. Thanks Chris, for all your work. I have just finished uploading a collection of over 500 images of paintings and drawings by Edgar Degas. As I am not an art expert, I have shared them without commentary.
(Entered on Friday April 18th, 2003 06:19 AM)

More French rulers

I have added more French rulers, bringing us up to Charles VIII.
(Entered on Monday April 7th, 2003 01:24 PM)

Images of people

I have added some more French rulers, bringing us up to Louis IX, aka Saint Louis. I have also changed the person display page, so that you can now tell which people have images in our database. It has been possible for a while now to designate images (so far, only paintings) of a person, but you could not tell from the listing which people have images and which do not. Those people with images now have a small icon of a camera beside the link to their detail page.
(Entered on Friday April 4th, 2003 03:19 PM)

The rulers of France

I have begun entering the rulers of France. This morning I added Hugh Capet through Philip I. Hopefully it won't take that long to get the whole royal line entered. If anyone wants to help us enter another royal line, I can provide assistance - it's very easy.
(Entered on Friday April 4th, 2003 08:44 AM)

More credit for contributors

We want to give more credit where credit is due - to our contributors. As a start, we have added some code on the artwork display page that shows who entered the artwork. In the coming months(weeks?), we'll add more ways to view who entered what, as well as "top contributors" and so on.
(Entered on Thursday April 3rd, 2003 05:00 PM)

Login issues fixed

I must be getting better at programming - the last time I looked at this issue, I had no clue how to fix it. This time, I spent a couple of days looking through the (forum) developer's messageboards for an answer, but no one seemed to have figured it out. So, after a few hours looking through the code, I found the answer myself.

You should now be able to log in in the forums -or- on the main page, and *still* be logged in if you go to the other section of the site. Please let me know if you experience any weirdness.

(Entered on Thursday April 3rd, 2003 04:49 PM)

Login problems

Hello everyone. I just wanted to explain an issue with the login system on our site.

We use a single user table both for the site login (on this page) and for the forums. However, the forum software stores user sessions in a way that we haven't been able to decipher yet. This has led to some problems. Our goal is to have any login work anywhere on the site, but at the moment that isn't the case. We've known about this for a while, but with more folks wanting to use the forums, it has taken on added importance.

In the next week or so, I'll start by adding information on this problem to the login pages, an explanatory page for users (especially new users), and I'll make another attempt to get it working. In the meantime, just know that you are likely to have to log in again when moving from the forums to the rest of the site, or vice versa. Other than that, everything should work fine. Thanks for being patient while we work this out.

(Entered on Wednesday April 2nd, 2003 08:32 AM)
March 2003

A new list - Venice's Grand Canal

I have created another example list, only this one has an actual theme - the Grand Canal in Venice. The list contains artworks by various artists, all portraying one of Venice's most famed landmarks (watermarks? heh.)

In the near future, we will probably create a "favorites" list for every user, just to add works you like. But remember, you can have multiple lists, each with its own purpose. You can create lists from within your user profile, or by clicking the "Create a List" link under "User Tools" in the navigation menu.

(Entered on Monday March 24th, 2003 10:36 AM)

Our first tutorial

We have added our first tutorial on how to use the site. It explains how to add an artwork, and you can currently find it by going to "How to Add Art" under "User Tools" in the navigation menu. As we create more tutorials, we'll probably move the links to a section within the user profile.

If you have a chance, check out the tutorial, try it out, and let us know how we can improve it. This tutorial we be part of the "orientation" for new users, so we want it to be clear. Thanks!

(Entered on Monday March 24th, 2003 10:32 AM)

Recent changes

Today I have had some time to work on the site. These are the recent changes:
1. The Site Status page is now a lot more informative, giving a three-month view of how many artworks, person records, and new users have been added.
2. Now, if you click the "List artworks" link for an artist who only has one artwork in our database, you are taken straight to the detail page for that artwork, saving you a step.
3. There is now a display page for (public) user lists. You can see all of the lists, and click an individual list to see its items. Now, if users create public lists, we can all see their contents. You could, for instance, start building a list of your favorite artworks for all to see.
(Entered on Friday March 21st, 2003 03:09 PM)

Being popular

We've never really launched the site officially, though there are a few links to us here and there, and Google found us long ago. But our popularity is increasing quickly. In the past few days, we are averaging thousands of picture views a day. This has driven our bandwidth costs up considerably. This leads me to state a couple of things:

1. We're not sure if anyone is trying to download large portions of the site at once. If so, please know that this can harm the ability for others to use the site, especially if we couldn't afford to host it. We'll be working on methods to detect/prevent this type of behavior, though we want to keep the site free (and hassle-free) for everyone.

If you are getting a lot of use/enjoyment out of this site, please consider donating to our bandwidth costs. This site is paid for by a poor graduate student (me) totally out-of-pocket, and currently costs $20 a month. At our recent usage levels, that could jump to $50-100 a month, which is quite a lot. I'm very committed to this, but if we can't afford wide-open bandwidth costs, we'd have to look at ways to keep the site up in a limited fashion (each person can download three images per day, etc.). We will never force you to pay for basic content (i.e., the information and images which are public domain), but any help would be greatly appreciated. There is a link to our Paypal account on the "Get Involved"page. You can donate amounts as small as 25 cents.

But enough of that. Our thanks goes to you for visiting - it's great to be loved. :-)

(Entered on Tuesday March 4th, 2003 10:37 AM)
February 2003

You can now add books

Note that there is now a link in the navigation menu to "Add a book". We have a simple form to enter basic information about a book (title, primary author, ISBN, etc.). Later you will be able to look up books for use in "Further reading" lists, create bibliographies for various topics, and cite the source(s) for information and images. This is part of our long range plan to make The Athenaeum a credible reference source. We want you to be able to find out exactly where a piece of information came from.
(Entered on Friday February 28th, 2003 10:49 PM)

Lists at last :-)

Finally. You can now add artworks (no people yet) to lists. Each artwork display page now has a link called "Add this artwork to a list". If you click that link, you'll be taken to a page with all of your lists. You can enter a description for the list item and select which list to add it to. If you haven't created any lists yet, you'll be prompted to create one.

There are a lot of refinements to be added to this. Also, there is currently no page to view public lists; I'll add that shortly, so we can all see what lists people create.

(Entered on Friday February 28th, 2003 04:18 PM)

Work behind the scenes

Ok, it's the usual apology about not being able to get much done and school and blah blah blah. :-) Really, though, we now have code to add an artwork to a list, and are working on the facilities for a user to look up/edit all of her list items. Once that's ready, we'll add a page to view public lists, and it will all become available to users. This should be by next week.
(Entered on Wednesday February 26th, 2003 10:50 AM)

Our first newsletter

We have just sent off the first newsletter to our members (and yes, I know there's a typo :-) ). This is our initial foray, and the code is written from scratch, so please let us know if there are features you would like to see in the newsletter, things that didn't work correctly, etc. This is part of the host of features we are working on to reward those who join the site.

The code for putting items into a list has been on hold while I have exams this week, but towards the end of the week I should be back at work. Thanks for being patient.

(Entered on Wednesday February 19th, 2003 08:34 AM)

Little changes

I've been very busy lately with classes, but I'm trying to keep up some level of work on the site. Today I worked some more on the scripts to add an artwork to a list. I also modified the image display script, so it should be impossible for anyone to link directly to an image without going through The Athenaeum itself. That way, no one can "steal" our bandwidth without giving us credit.
(Entered on Friday February 14th, 2003 08:03 AM)

Lists bug fixed

I finally had a chance to sit down and fix the minor list bug. Now, when you finish creating a list, you are taken to the page that displays all of your lists. I am now working on the code to allow you to actually add items (like artworks) to a list. Once that is working, we'll provide a page for you to see the lists people are working on.

Also note that we have a PayPal account now. If you want to donate to help us with the cost of hosting this site, you may do so on our "How Can I Help?" page. You can donate amounts as small as 25 cents.

(Entered on Tuesday February 11th, 2003 10:59 AM)

Minor issue with lists

Hello there. I just wanted to point out a minor issue with user lists. At the moment, when the script finishes with list creation, it gives you some bad links. This is because I based the script upon the news entry script. However, the lists are created corectly. Just ignore that page, and go to your profile, where you have a "Display lists" link. I'll change the link creation script in the next couple of days, and add the capability to add artworks to your lists.
Also notice that we are now fewer than 500 images away from 5000! Not bad. :-)
(Entered on Monday February 3rd, 2003 12:40 PM)
January 2003

User lists

The basic scripts for users to create and edit lists are in place. Presently, a user can create and name a list, and set it to be public or private. Soon, there will be a button on each artwork's page to add the artwork to a list. Users will be able to create a list called "Images of Ophelia," say, or "Artworks for my research project," and add artworks to the list. As time goes on, we'll add other types of content to the lists, and more ways to look at them. Of course, this is only available to registered users.
(Entered on Thursday January 30th, 2003 08:07 PM)

English monarchy is complete

Hello everyone. I have now finished off the English monarchy, which isn't bad, since the French tried to do so for hundreds of years . Seriously, though, we now have the whole of the English monarchy entered into our database as person records, allowing us to start doing some cool stuff. You can view the list here, and if you want to contribute information about any of them, feel free to join up and add your part.
(Entered on Tuesday January 28th, 2003 11:43 AM)

What's next.

Hey there. We've been making so much progress lately, I hate to have no news for several days in a row. So, I thought I'd let you know what's on our to-do list. Since we have more users now, we are going to work on some "user goodies". We're going to give users more ways to look up their own notes, and ways to save lists of items, along with the notes for those items. I also need to figure out how to create a newsletter, to provide regular contact with our users. I'd like to create a "Most Wanted" section on the Action Items page, which can accept and display requests for particular artists, images, historical data, etc. And finally, we need to continue our work on the scripts for entering books, so we can start citing some of this information. After all, information is only worthwhile if you can believe in its accuracy, right?
If you have any ideas, requests, questions, or want to join us, we are only an e-mail away, at
(Entered on Wednesday January 22nd, 2003 07:11 AM)

Image uploading fixed

We have fixed the image uploading scripts. Let the uploading commence!
(Entered on Friday January 17th, 2003 04:30 PM)

Technical difficulties

Just so everyone knows, we are having a small problem with our image uploading script. Our ISP upgraded some of our software, wihtout setting all of the options correctly. Hopefully the issue will be resolved in the next few days, and the rest of the site appears to be working just fine. However, the site may go down for a bit when they are working on the problem.
Thanks for your patience.
(Entered on Friday January 17th, 2003 06:41 AM)

Back to school

Well everyone, I'm back at school, which means a bit less time for new feature development. I still look at/work on the site every day, though. If you have questions or requests, you can e-mail me at, or Now that we have a few more users, I'm hoping to work on some features to benefit those users, like a weekly newsletter, and a better interface for keeping up with lists of favorites, or notes. Also, note that we now have over 3000 artworks. Thanks for visiting.
(Entered on Monday January 13th, 2003 10:51 AM)

People now have editable content sections

Fresh on the heels of getting the content sections to work for nations, we have added the same capability to person records. It took about 15 minutes. This is why we love modular code.
(Entered on Wednesday January 8th, 2003 12:57 PM)

Good progress

Knowing that I return to school next week and will have somewhat less time, I have been trying to get things done. Today (thus far) there have been vast improvements to the code for adding sections of content, and the display code for nations. Changes have also been made to the code for adding notes (to people, artworks, etc.) and elsewhere. Today I will put up a skeletal history of England, and the facilities exist to do the same for other nations, as well as add their rulers.
(Entered on Wednesday January 8th, 2003 12:09 PM)

New museum interface, more artworks

We have just put up a new link to list all of the museums in our database. The list is impressive, with almost 300. For now, users can edit the name, web address, and geographical information for museums; soon, we will have a link to list artworks by museum. Also, note that we are heading towards 2700 artworks! Enjoy the new content.
(Entered on Tuesday January 7th, 2003 01:48 PM)

Almost 2200 artworks

Our site continues to grow at an amazing pace. Expect us to go over the 2200 artwork mark today. Recent days have seen a lot of artworks by French Impressionists, especially Paul Gaugin, for whom we now have over 300 paintings. We are still(!) working on the interface for encyclopedia articles, but you should see it in action soon as a basic history of England starts to go up.
(Entered on Thursday January 2nd, 2003 08:49 AM)
December 2002

1500 artworks

If you had asked us a month ago, there is no way we would have guessed that we'd have almost 1500 artworks by year's end. And yet here we are, thanks mostly to the work of rocsdad. If, miraculously, we are able to sustain this rate for a few months more, we'll become one of the largest art repositories on the web by spring. Pretty cool, eh? We are continuing work on the interface to add descriptive articles to a person, artwork, nation, etc. We are also looking at some ways to automatically give users an MLA-style citation for artwork pages, and to enter books for citing images. So, enjoy browsing, and consider joining in with your own knowledge and resources.
(Entered on Saturday December 28th, 2002 02:23 PM)

Better artwork listings

Ok, we have changed the main artwork listing page, so that it now only shows a portion of the artworks at a time. You can still sort by artwork title, artist name, and date, in ascending or descending order. Also note that, while sorting by date gives you 100 works at a time, the other two may yet return large numbers of listings. For instance, sorting by artist and looking at the letter H gives you our collection of Winslow Homer and Arthur Hughes images, which together total almost 500 works. Eventually, as even the subsections become huge, we will have to ask the user to "drill down" to what they want, to avoid constantly loading huge pages. But these should work for quite a while. There may be some bugs to squash with the new code; let us know at if you find any.
(Entered on Monday December 23rd, 2002 12:10 PM)

Almost 1000 artworks

Hello everyone, and happy holidays to you. We just wanted to point out that, almost exclusively thanks to one of our newest members, rocsdad, we are about to pass the 1000-painting mark. Recent additions include over 400 works by Winslow Homer, and more than 100 (and growing) by Alfred Sisley, the French impressionist. Almost as good as the images themselves is the fact that this frees us to work on the functionality of the site, while others add to the content (which was the point all along, after all). So, enjoy the collection, and if you want to join us and help, consider yourself invited.
(Entered on Monday December 23rd, 2002 09:34 AM)

Over 600 artworks! - thanks rocsdad

Happy Holidays, everyone. We have some great news. One of our newest members, rocsdad, has been contributing tons of images. In the last few days, he has added more than 200 paintings by Winslow Homer. This brings our total to over 600 artworks. At this rate, we'll be one of the larger art resources on the web in the next few months. This also means that art listing pages are getting huge. In the next week or so, we'll rework the pages so that they only show a portion of the works at a time, giving your browser (and our bandwidth) a break.

In the meantime, want to help? You can register as a member and help us build our library of the humanities. Registering is free, and we don't share any of your information. If you need help figuring out how to contribute, just e-mail us at, or We'll gladly help you get started.

Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the site.
(Entered on Friday December 20th, 2002 02:01 PM)

Several notes

Hello all, several happy notes. First, we'd like to welcome our newest member, rocsdad. Secondly, we have now have over 400 artworks, including several by Winslow Homer. And lastly, notice in the very bottom left of this page is a new link, called "Site Status". This link will take you to a page that shows the ten newest artworks, the five newest person records, and our five newest members. As we continue to work on the site status page, it will become your place to stay on top of developments here at The Athenaeum. As always, thanks for dropping by!
(Entered on Monday December 16th, 2002 09:58 AM)

375 artworks!

Hello all. It seems that every so often I feel the need to announce that, yes, we are still here, working busily. Things have been quite chaotic with finals at school, but lately (partly to stave off studying) I have added quite a few paintings, and done some work on the back-end code. We now have 375 artworks, and are (as far as I can tell) the web's most comprehensive site on Burne-Jones, and soon to be the most comprehensive site for the French Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte. Plus, we are almost done with the basic set of scripts needed to create articles in a sectional "encyclopedia" format. I also plan in the near future to work on a page that tells visitors more precisely what is going on, in terms of new material. So, keep visiting. This site is not going away. It's just small, currently. But we're growing. :-)
(Entered on Wednesday December 11th, 2002 11:21 AM)
November 2002

Encyclopedia-like entries

Though The Athenaeum will eventually provide much more (in terms of context, cross-linking, etc.) than a typical encyclopedia, we still need a way for users to enter the basic "Encyclopedia article" information for any subject, such as a nation, person, or artwork. Much progress has been made in the last few days on a set of forms allowing a user to create sections of content (for example, "Geography," and "History" for a nation, "Biography" for a person) and then add paragraphs to those sections. Each type of subject will then be able to display the sections. Put it all together,and we will have a way for users to fill in the basic information on a subject in an organized manner, without knowing any code. This is a big step. To see our progress (we only have section headings, and we're using dummy data), look at England or Russia in the nations pages.
(Entered on Saturday November 16th, 2002 01:21 PM)

Lots of changes

I know, it's been a while, but we're still working on the site. Today we added quite a few new changes. You'll notice improvements in the "5 most recent artworks" listing at the bottom of this page, in the detail pages for artists and rulers, which now look quite different, in the person listing pages, and in the way you add related artworks to an art record. We also added a self-portrait for Gustave Caillebotte. Next up, we are looking at some ways to add encyclopedia-like content to nation and person records. It's difficult to make the system flexible without end-users having to code anything, but we're getting there. Enjoy the site, and thanks for stopping by!
(Entered on Monday November 11th, 2002 10:21 AM)
October 2002

Related artworks

You can now create "related artworks" entries for an artwork. Unlike entering studies for an artwork (which you can also do), this allows you to add artworks that may be related thematically, are good points of comparison, and so on. I've tried to write the code so that it can also be used to add related artworks to people and historical events. For a simple example, see "Fair Rosamund," by DG Rossetti, here.

Also note that I continue to add to the English monarchy, and have added a few paintings and quite a few notations on paintings, especially Rossetti.

(Entered on Friday October 25th, 2002 09:34 AM)

More English monarchs

We are continuing to add here and there to content and code. Recently I have added several English monarchs, bringing us up to Henry III. Remember that this is not just typing them onto a web page; this is adding them into the database, which allows a lot of automatic things to happen, like generating the monarch list of England, sorting them by house, etc. Once I have England done, I can start on France, Germany and so on. Want to help us enter people? Register, or send an e-mail to We'll show you how.
(Entered on Wednesday October 23rd, 2002 02:08 PM)

Hacking attempts

I'm not sure when it happened, but some of you may have been unable to get to The Athenaeum over the weekend, because it had been defaced. This means that someone replaced the main page of the site with a page advertising what a great hacker they are (heh). Luckily, these types of attacks are usually done by fairly benign people - they just copy the old page to a different file. When I find out about it, I just switch the pages back, and we're fine again. But a few points are in order:
1. If you should find that the site has been defaced, please let me know as soon as possible, so I can fix it. Use the e-mail address
2. You can still get to other pages within the site. So, consider bookmarking an internal page (like the listing of artworks) so that you can still get in.
3. These attacks are fairly harmless, but they should not be happening. This is twice within a month. I'll be contacting our ISP about it.
Otherwise, things are going well. We'll be working some more on citing from books this week. Enjoy the site!
(Entered on Wednesday October 16th, 2002 10:20 AM)

350 artworks

Woo-hoo! We have hit 350 artworks! I know, there are sites out there with _thousands_ of artworks, but none of them provide all of the functionality we do. And as our content increases, that one disadvantage becomes smaller. I should also note that we have 76 Burne-Jones paintings now, which is more than any other place on the web (that I can find). Want to help us grow? Join up, and start uploading; we can help you.
(Entered on Friday October 4th, 2002 09:26 AM)

Need help entering information?

This morning I noticed a test artwork had been uploaded. Unfortunately our initial focus on functionality has left little time for writing tutorials to help out new members. If you have questions about how to upload artwork, enter new biographical records, etc., don't hesistate to e-mail me, either at the Athenaeum address at the bottom of each page, or at my personal address, We'd love to get some other people involved in building up content. It will also help us to work with people who are completely new to the process.
(Entered on Friday October 4th, 2002 09:00 AM)

Books can now be entered

Hello everyone. I now have a basic script to add books to our database. It needs just a little more work before I make it public, but you'll see it in a day or two. Then we'll add the option to cite your information using a specific book. Of course, you might also get information from other sources, but this is a start.

Thanks for stopping by!

(Entered on Thursday October 3rd, 2002 07:32 AM)

Updates coming

Just to let you all know, I am this --> [---] close to taking my fourth of four tests in a week. I am looking forward to adding some new features after that, specifically a way to add books and web references into the database, so that you can cite where your facts come from. That'll help make sure we're the authoritative source we want to be. In the meantime, thanks for stopping by, and let me know if you have questions, probloems, or feature requests.
(Entered on Tuesday October 1st, 2002 12:10 PM)
September 2002

PHP session errors fixed.

Some of you may have seen error messages at the top of our web pages over the weekend, or been unable to log in to the site. Our hosting provider upgraded our version of PHP, and that caused some problems. However, after a phone call, it looks like they've fixed it. You may find other other glitches as a result of the change in software; if so, please notify us. Thanks for your patience.
(Entered on Monday September 23rd, 2002 05:33 PM)

Work behind the scenes

Just dropping a note to let you know we're still here and at work behind the scenes, mostly on the pages for building and maintaining subject groupings. They're not far enough along to be linked on our menu yet, but you can see an example (for "Arthurian Legends") by clicking here. I should also let you know that I have four tests next week, so I won't be around much until the week after.
(Entered on Saturday September 21st, 2002 02:32 PM)

Better ways of seeing professions

Today's change looks small, but it isn't. At the top right corner of the detail page for any person who is a ruler, you'll see a little crown. It is the first visible sign of the way I'm modularizing the code for displaying people. Soon the pages are going to be smarter about what types of information are relevant to each person. For instance, a ruler will have an automatic link to the royal line for their country, and will lose the link to "Add an artwork," unless of course she is also an artist. For now, this is no big deal, because we only have two types of people (artists and rulers) in the database. But as we add more categories, this will make the detail pages much more convenient and interesting, with very little work for the people entering data. Wait a couple more weeks and you'll see some examples.
(Entered on Wednesday September 18th, 2002 11:35 AM)

Better display of people

Hello there. Been busy with school lately, hence not much work on The Athenaeum. However, I have rewritten the page to display people. It now allows you to choose whether to display artists only, rulers of nations, or both. The code is a hack for now, until we have a proper way to designate a person's professions. But it works. Try it out here.
(Entered on Monday September 16th, 2002 09:24 AM)

Registration issues fixed

This is somewhat embarassing. As we've worked on the site, we've occasionally wondered why no outside folks have registered. We haven't "launched" the site yet, but we know we're getting traffic, and were surprised at the lack of nibbles. Well, a couple of days ago, we got an e-mail from someone who couldn't register. We looked at the code, and sure enough, the pages were broken. Looking in the temporary users table, we saw several people who were stuck halfway through the process. Yuck.

So, last night and today, I fixed the scripts, tested them, and notified the stuck registrants. Hopefully, some of them will come back. When they do, that will probably signal a shift towards developing more user-management code, for a smoother user experience. If you're reading this, and you are one of the people mentioned, thanks for your patience, and thanks for coming back!

(Entered on Monday September 9th, 2002 11:52 AM)

Good progress

I made quite a bit of progress today, including fixing the ability to add notes to an artwork's detail page, cleaning up the way artworks are displayed, and adding some new facilities to the glossary (soon it will be possible to upload images to be displayed alongside the text for a glossary term). Having done that, I'm going to bed. :-)
(Entered on Saturday September 7th, 2002 12:07 AM)

More Alma-Tadema

Four more Alma-Tadema paintings added today.
(Entered on Wednesday September 4th, 2002 10:27 PM)

More paintings

Today I added four more Alma-Tadema paintings, and a glossary term, acanthus.
(Entered on Tuesday September 3rd, 2002 10:41 AM)
August 2002

More Alma-Tadema

Ok, so it's going to be a couple of weeks or so before I can update the back-end code of the site (i.e., add new features), but I want to at least keep adding new content. Today I added about five or so Alma-Tadema paintings, bringing our total to 47 paintings. Enjoy!
(Entered on Wednesday August 28th, 2002 10:00 AM)

We're still here

Hello everyone - just a note to let you know we're still alive. There's a lot going on with my entrance into graduate school, but once my schedule settles down a bit, I'll be back at work on the site. In the meantime, look around at some of the paintings, and consider registering so that you can add more content yourself.
(Entered on Tuesday August 27th, 2002 04:11 PM)

Lack of updates

Hello everyone - I just wanted to explain the lack of updates lately. Friday was my last day of work, and I will be starting graduate school next week. Hence, there is a lot of transitional stuff to be taken care of. I'll be pretty busy over the next couple of weeks, but once I get comfortable with my schedule, I expect to return to my work here, and hopefully devote more time to it than before. Thanks for being patient. - Chris
(Entered on Wednesday August 14th, 2002 03:30 PM)
July 2002


Now that we're adding monarchs, the people listing page is getting messy. So, the next logical step is to allow you to specify professions for people. I spent some time today working on that, and it should be available in the next week or so. Then you can tell the site to show you only artists, or only heads of state, or only writers, or - well, you get the point.
(Entered on Tuesday July 30th, 2002 04:15 PM)

More Alma-Tadema

Today I added more than twenty paintings by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, bringing our total for him to almost forty paintings. I also improved the script to list paintings by a particular artist. Among other things, you can now sort paintings by medium. Want to know how many watercolors we have by Rossetti? No problem, just click "medium," and you're set.
Ain't the web great? :-)
(Entered on Monday July 29th, 2002 04:03 PM)

Better scripts for designating rulers

I have added the ability to enter multiple periods of rule for a single person, and to edit perviously entered periods of rule. See Aethelred the Unready, early king of England, for an example. Also, the page that displays a nation's rulers handles multiple periods of rule gracefully (i.e., it doesn't act like they are muktiple people).
(Entered on Friday July 26th, 2002 04:14 PM)

More English monarchs

I've added some more English monarchs, bringing us up to Henry I. You can see the page here. In another few days, I'll have finished off the English monarchy, which isn't bad, considering the French tried to do it for centuries. :-)
I also did some code cleanup on several pages related to displying people or entering information about people.
(Entered on Thursday July 25th, 2002 04:15 PM)

Halt on new features for a little while

We just purchased the PostgreSQL Developer's Handbook from Barnes and Noble. PostgreSQL is the database we use on this site, and the book is great. It also exposes some weaknesses of the site. In general (because it is more fun), we have devoted our time to new features, rather than security, stability, portability, or clean code. For the layman, that translates to giving you new tools, rather than making sure each one is rock-solid. It's an attractive approach, but one fraught with peril.
We will continue to add new content over the next few weeks, but we want to digest this book and come up with a plan for more "professional" development. Hopefully, that will help us avoid pitfalls as the site grows ever more complex. So, just keep checking back with us. We'll keep you up-to-date. And while the evidence may not be very visual, rest assured that we're at work behind the scenes, where it counts.
(Entered on Wednesday July 17th, 2002 12:57 PM)

Models for artworks

Improved some of the scripts for nations/states and their rulers, added 4 images by Jean Léon Gérôme, and started work on scripts to allow people to identify the model(s) in an artwork.
(Entered on Friday July 12th, 2002 04:36 PM)

Improved news archive page

Not that many people are likely to look at it, but I've improved the news archive page, with month headings.
(Entered on Wednesday July 10th, 2002 04:10 PM)

Nations/rulers are available

Ok, after a good bit of back-end work, you can now browse nations, and look at lists of their rulers. This also means that you can designate individual persons as rulers. There is more to be done, including code to deal with multiple periods of rule. Also, I haven't actually done that much data entry. In the next few days, I'll finish entering the English monarchy, and add the ability to designate rulers as members of a certain house.
(Entered on Wednesday July 10th, 2002 03:52 PM)

Pages for nations/states

We are making good progress. Today, I added scripts to upload a nation/state's flag, as well as to display a list of rulers. I also did a lot of work on the general display page for people. Within the week, I'll have pages for nations ready for viewing. Next are some complicated ideas, like how to work the idea of nations evolving, turning into other nations, being part of larger groups (like empires), etc.
(Entered on Monday July 8th, 2002 04:33 PM)

Invisible progress

Yes, invisible progress, that's what's going on here at The Athenaeum! After wrangling with the monstrously difficult question of how to store dates in our database (there will probably be a page on that, and the history of calendars, etc., later), I have decided to retreat, regroup, and research some more. For now, we are only going to store the year of a person's reign (not month and day), so that we can get the "designate someone as a ruler" scripts up and running. Expect those within the week.
(Entered on Wednesday July 3rd, 2002 03:51 PM)

New web tracking scripts

Please be aware that we are testing some new scripts to track our hits. If you have problems loading pages, please e-mail us at
(Entered on Monday July 1st, 2002 04:19 PM)
June 2002

Images of people

I've been very busy with work and study, but I've added another feature - you can now select an image of a person (a painting or drawing) to be displayed on the person detail page. There are a few extras to work on with this (having multiple images, switching among them randomly or having a "default" image, deleting images if they are wrong, etc.) but it works. See the detail page for Gabriel Rossetti, Thomas Woolner, or Ford Madox Brown for examples.

On a side note, I am still working on the script to designate a person as the ruler of a nation/state. I've run into the issue of trying to use a single field for dates, and it's got me stymied for the moment. But I'll get it.

(Entered on Wednesday June 26th, 2002 01:33 PM)

We're on Yahoo!

Cool. We haven't really tried to advertise the site, since we still have so many of the basics to implement. But I decided it wouldn't hurt to get us placed in a corner of Yahoo!, so that people can trickle in and check us out. Unfortunately, they put us in Arts > Humanties > Chats and Forums. We are a great deal more than a chat room. But time will show that. Anyway, if you're here from Yahoo!, welcome, drop us a line, and enjoy the site. We'd love your input or involvement.
(Entered on Friday June 21st, 2002 09:43 AM)

Latest changes

We are not going to be able to implement many major changes in the coming few weeks, but we did get some stuff done today. The "Popular Artworks" page has been greatly enhanced, with images of the top 10 artworks from the Artwork Faceoff contest. We are also continuing the groundwork for designating a person as the ruler of a nation/state. There is a lot to be done/rewritten to make that piece work, but it should provide us with some neat capabilities for history screens. More later.
(Entered on Thursday June 6th, 2002 04:05 PM)
May 2002

300 artworks!

We now have 300 artworks in the database! Ok, so there are sites out there with a great deal more, but we'll catch up. :-) Most of the new artworks are for Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

Also, pages for individual artworks now link to the web pages of their owners, if the web address is known.

(Entered on Friday May 31st, 2002 02:46 PM)

Studies of artworks

We now have an ability that (as far as I know) no other site has - the ability to select an artwork, designate it as the study for another artwork, and then have it show up automatically on the "parent" artwork's page. This was a lot of work, but it's the kind of automatically-built reference that will define this site versus others. For a working example, look at Caillebotte's paintings The Floor Scrapers (yes, there are two of them).
(Entered on Friday May 31st, 2002 01:32 PM)

More Caillebotte

Today I added more works by Caillebotte, bringing the total to 20. Note that we're also about to break the 300 painting mark! I also started work on a script to designate a work as a study for another work. This will make displaying a work with its accompanying studies much easier.
(Entered on Thursday May 30th, 2002 03:50 PM)


Today I added a few images by Gustave Caillebotte, a painter and associate of the Monet and Renoir. I also tweaked a few things about some of the art entry pages.
(Entered on Tuesday May 28th, 2002 04:09 PM)

More and more complex

So, the relationships among our data get more complex. I wanted to add a list of the monarchs of England. Then I thought, "Why not do the same for France, Germany, etc.?" Well, it occurred to me that I'd want to have person records for each of the monarchs, and a way to generate those pages (lists of monarchs and such) automatically. So, today I had to come up with a table to store nations, so that you can then designate people as rulers of those nations.
Phew. This is getting to be complicated.
On the other hand, it's sooo cool when it works.
(Entered on Thursday May 23rd, 2002 01:57 PM)

Fixing a bug

So, good news bad news. I got the glossary pages working (you can view, add, search and edit terms), and added a few terms, as well as a couple of Rossetti paintings. Unfortunately, I discovered that the page to add an artwork was not correctly entering the artwork's owner into the database. You can see the results on the "action items" page. I fixed the bug, but it'll take a while to input the owners again. ** sigh **.

I am playing with a PDF generator to make some nice, printable reports. If I can get it working, I might need someone in the UK to help me test A4 printing.
(Entered on Monday May 20th, 2002 03:30 PM)

Glossary terms

I have added a way to enter terms that will appear in our glossary. In the next few days, I'll add some ways to look up glossary terms, as well as a way to attach related terms to an artwork record or a person record.
(Entered on Friday May 17th, 2002 03:58 PM)

Art news service

Today I added a page with contantly updated news items related to art and culture. You can get there from many of our pages by clicking on the "Art & culture news" link under "View Content". I also fixed a few things with the artist display page and added a couple of Caravaggio paintings.

By the way, Caravaggio's real name was Michelangelo Merisi, which brings up the need for a nickname field for people who are better known for their nicknames than their actual names. We'll keep plugging along as always. :-)

(Entered on Tuesday May 14th, 2002 04:10 PM)

Working on the "View people" page

Not much done today. I worked a bit on the formatting of the "View people" page.
(Entered on Monday May 6th, 2002 03:59 PM)

"To do" page

I've added a page that displays artworks with missing information - artist name, owner, title, etc. The page has a link to the screen to edit each artwork. I also changed the artwork editing page, so that you can now add or change the artist. Try the page out, by clicking the "Action items" link in the navigation bar on the left.
(Entered on Thursday May 2nd, 2002 04:03 PM)
April 2002

We now have FORUMS!

After a bit of playing around, I now have forums running! You can get to the forums (fora?) by following the link on the left that says "The Athenaeum Forums". A few notes:

- I have a LOT of customizing to do to make the forums gel with the rest of the site, both visually and with the back-end code.
- Having said that, the same password will get you into the forums or into the pages to add art, etc. That is true no matter which way you register first.
- I haven't figured out how to make it so that logging in one way will have you logged in to the whole site. But I'll keep working on it.

This is very cool. More news later.
(Entered on Friday April 26th, 2002 03:21 PM)

Working on profiles

You can now view and change information in your profile, such as the name you prefer to be called, your e-mail address, and preferred style sheet. I'm still working on applying the style sheets to the site's pages; that will take a while.
Just so I'm not working completely on code, I added our first Evelyn de Morgan painting today.
(Entered on Thursday April 25th, 2002 04:14 PM)

Profiles and style sheets

Woo hoo! We now have working style sheets for serif or sans serif styles, as well as a way for users to change their preferences. Check out the new link to "User Profile" on the navigation bar (on the left).
(Entered on Wednesday April 24th, 2002 02:05 PM)

Style sheets

If you've ever tried to design a web page to be cross-platform, you know that getting it right is a never-ending process. But I think I've made enough progress on the style sheets to start testing them as a user preference. In the next few days, I'll try to allow users to decide if they want their pages served up in curvy serif font goodness, or clean sans serif. The default on the front page will remain serif, at least until you log in.
(Entered on Tuesday April 23rd, 2002 04:17 PM)

Registration fixes

So, it's your typical "good news, bad news" situation: a couple of people registered on the site, then I discovered that the registration process needed some fixes. So, I fixed it. I'll try to get in a couple of new paintings today, as well.
(Entered on Tuesday April 23rd, 2002 03:36 PM)

Style sheets

OK, sorry for the repeat information; I should read my old news items to see what I've already said. Today I added a couple of new Botticelli paintings. Also, please ignore the screwy fonts on this page. I'm in the middle of designing some new style sheets, to allow the user to choose serif or sans serif fonts. More tomorrow.
(Entered on Friday April 5th, 2002 04:08 PM)

I'm back

Hello there. It's been a while since I've worked on the site, with so much going on at work and elsewhere. Here's a brief update: - I plan to start adding a lot of Botticelli works in the next couple of weeks. - I'll be tightening code in a lot of little ways you might not even notice. - I want to add some user preferences, a way to change passwords, and perhaps the ability to save a list of your favorite paintings. - I got into grad school for computer science! Cross your fingers, and hope that I can make this into my thesis project.
(Entered on Thursday April 4th, 2002 03:38 PM)
February 2002

Good news

Ok, so I haven't updated this site in ages. I work as a payroll programmer, and I have been beset at work with year-end and year-beginning duties. Also, I have been learning a new computer language, Python. Believe me, it is possible to enjoy such a thing, and I have been having a ball, spending most of my time on small Python projects. But the more important news item is that I have been accepted into a master's program for computer science. I don't know all of the details yet, but hopefully, I can make The Athenaeum into my master's project, which would mean more time for research, and some university financial backing. Keep your fingers crossed. I'll also try to add some more artwork this week, probably for Gabriel Rossetti and Ned Burne-Jones.
(Entered on Monday February 11th, 2002 08:14 AM)
January 2002


Good progress made today. The artist detail pages look much better, as do the artwork listing for a single artist, and the pages to add/change artists. You can now enter descriptive text for an artist as well.
(Entered on Monday January 14th, 2002 04:35 PM)

So what's up?

No news writeup for a while, mostly because things have been very busy at work, and I've made few changes. You can now click the "news archive" link below to see all of the news items from day one. I also created a page to view artwork by owner. It's hiding, but you can preview it here. Lastly, I've been looking into how to encode/store/display bibliographical information. It's going to be very complex, but never fear; it won't seem so to the users. More news as events warrant.
(Entered on Friday January 11th, 2002 04:12 PM)
December 2001

Minor stuff

Made a ton of minor changes/improvements today, from formatting to error handling to security, etc. More progress on the subject entry forms; they'll be ready to go within the week. I have to get some sort of link management working soon, so I can add it to the subject page.

It's all starting to come together. :-)

(Entered on Thursday December 20th, 2001 04:11 PM)

More fun with subject groups

More work today on the subject group utilities. This is going to be terribly complex to create, but it looks pretty cool already. Sit tight, and you'll have some results in time for Christmas. :-)
(Entered on Monday December 17th, 2001 03:38 PM)

Subject groups and glossary

Everything has been really busy at work; I ahven't had much time to work on things here. Two current projects we continue to work on are a glossary and an interface for creating subject groups. Expect to see some visible progress on those fronts in the next week or so.
(Entered on Friday December 14th, 2001 03:31 PM)


We're still reeling from the server crash; little bugs keep popping up. In the course of trying to set up a link manager, I deleted the DB files for our visitor tracking. *sigh* I'll get that fixed in a bit, and get to work on the glossary.
(Entered on Tuesday December 4th, 2001 03:19 PM)
November 2001

What we're up to

Things have been rather hectic lately (sense a trend here?). We've had the holidays, and a server crash at our web host. We have all of our data back, however, and a few projects in the works. Among them, an online interactive glossary, and the ability to create thematic groups to sort paintings into. We'll try to throw in a few paintings while we're at it.
(Entered on Monday November 26th, 2001 02:32 PM)

Burne-Jones moved from old site

We have now moved all of the Burne-Jones paintings form the old site. We currently have over 70 Burne-Jones paintings. There are only a few remaining works to move from the old site.
(Entered on Monday November 5th, 2001 01:08 PM)

200 artworks! :-)

Well, we've hit the 200 mark! Today we added a ton of Burne-Jones images, many of them with commentary. This brings us over 200. We also did some minor programming work on the art entry/change scripts.
(Entered on Friday November 2nd, 2001 04:11 PM)
October 2001

New security

Today we laid the groundwork for session-based security. What that means in English is that managing who is allowed to do what will be a lot easier. Yay! No work tomorrow, though, as I'll be in meetings all day.
(Entered on Tuesday October 30th, 2001 04:23 PM)

Added "circa" for dates

Ok, there have been few notes of late, but work has been going on; I just haven't been writing about it. Note, for instance, the slowly growing number of paintings. We'll hit two hundred soon. :-)

Also, I have added the option for paintings to have an approximate date. You can see it in the forms to add or change a painting, as well as the "Art by Date" link, which is not up yet. However, you can preview it by going here.


(Entered on Monday October 29th, 2001 03:50 PM)


Ok, so it's been forever. I apologize. It's been crazy-busy at work. But, to get back to the swing of things, I've added a couple of Arthur Hughes paintings today (seven, to be exact). Hopefully, I'll be able to devote some time in the next few days to the scripts for entering artist information.
(Entered on Monday October 8th, 2001 04:07 PM)
September 2001

Editing people

Today I begun making the person records more accessible. You can now edit more fields for each person, and those fields are reflected in the listings and in the detail record (partly, anyway). In the next few days you'll hopefully see the person records catching up with the artwork records in useability.
(Entered on Monday September 17th, 2001 03:28 PM)

Search artworks by keyword

Today I added a search function (look at the bottom of the navigation menu). You can search for artworks by keyword of the title. I also added 12 (I think) Maxfield Parrish paintings. What's next? Hopefully some screens to allow entering more information about the artists.
(Entered on Friday September 14th, 2001 04:26 PM)

New artworks

As you might guess, things have been busy, both at work and with national events absorbing our attention. However, we continue to work on the site. Today we added 40+ Rossetti paintings, meaning that the entire Rossetti section has been moved from the old site.
(Entered on Thursday September 13th, 2001 03:46 PM)

More work soon

Ok, so I know it's been a while. Things have been manic at work, and then I had a long weekend. More additions this week, I promise. Stay tuned.
(Entered on Tuesday September 4th, 2001 04:14 PM)
August 2001

More Rossetti

Nothing much today. A few minor modifications of the artwork scripts, and added 15 artworks by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
(Entered on Friday August 24th, 2001 04:06 PM)

Museum entry

In the past couple of days I've made a lot of minor changes to the artwork detail pages, which are looking great. I've also added a page to enter information about museums. Now, registered users can edit data about artworks, including a field for where they are held. Hopefully tomorrow I can get back to adding artworks themselves.
(Entered on Thursday August 23rd, 2001 03:45 PM)

Editing of artworks

Oops! I was working on a script to edit properties of an artwork - title, medium, dimensions, etc. - and accidentally wiped out those atributes of the images we have. I spent the better part of the afternoon re-entering them. The good news is that I have THOROUGHLY tested out the script, and it works fine. :-)
(Entered on Tuesday August 21st, 2001 04:19 PM)

Back online

For the last two days, our hosting provider has been experiencing a "Denial of Service" attack by hackers. In order to control the attack, they were forced to severely limit web traffic. We apologize for any inconvenience. The site is back up and should run fine.
(Entered on Tuesday August 21st, 2001 07:30 AM)

Artwork faceoff :-)

Have added several new features; one fun one is the "artwork faceoff" (hopefully we'll come up with a better term for this). Think of it as an "am I hot or not?" of the art world. You pick your favorites from randomly chosen pairs of paintings. Then check out the popularity page to see which art is rising to the top of the list.
(Entered on Friday August 17th, 2001 04:34 PM)

Notes for artworks

Registered users can now add notes to artwork records. The notes show up on the artwork detail page. In the future, each user will be able to see all notes, only their own, or no notes at all.
(Entered on Tuesday August 14th, 2001 03:19 PM)

Small changes

Again, just small changes today. Added a couple of artworks, some new people, and tweaked the login script and artist display page, which now shows how many artworks we have for the artist.
(Entered on Monday August 13th, 2001 04:33 PM)

Minor additions

Several minor changes over the past couple of days. Site statistics on this page, a better-formatted artwork listing page, and added 15 images.
(Entered on Friday August 10th, 2001 04:25 PM)

Random image

We now have a script to display a random image on the home page. Later, we'll add a link to the image detail page. We also have forums working, but we need to work out some other issues before they can go live.
(Entered on Wednesday August 8th, 2001 04:04 PM)

Forums are coming

Oh, and we are also busy uploading files for phpBB, a set of scripts for hosting forums. There are over 1MB of files to upload, and we have to figure out how to hook the user files to our own user table, but hopefully it won't be too long.
(Entered on Tuesday August 7th, 2001 03:56 PM)

Thumbnailing works

Great news. Our biggest hurdle, automatic thumbnail creation, has been leapt. We now have a working image upload script. There are a lot of small things to fix before we start letting people upload images, but you can now go to the image display page to see rough drafts of how you can look at/for pictures.
(Entered on Tuesday August 7th, 2001 03:51 PM)

Image uploading almost ready!

Ok, our ISP got the necessary configuration in place, and I have spent several hours today figuring out the scripts. We are THIS close -> []. I've got the automatic thumbnail creation working; I just need to make sure that all of the other information (artist, who created the entry, etc.) is hanging together the way it should.
(Entered on Monday August 6th, 2001 04:03 PM)

No image uploading for now

Ok, this is fairly technical, but for the moment we can't upload images. Why? Because we need (for various reasons) to be able to create thumbnails of any image you upload. This needs to be done on the fly, behind the scenes. We are using PHP, but the graphics library we have is an older one without the necessary image functions. When we get that graphics library, we'll be able to finish the image scripts. In the meantime, we'll focus on other functionality.
(Entered on Friday August 3rd, 2001 01:50 PM)

Toolbox page

Oh yeah, also check out the "toolbox" page, which tells a little bit about the tools we use to build this site.
(Entered on Friday August 3rd, 2001 01:12 PM)

Back up again.

We were down for a bit on Wednesday and Thursday, but now we're back up with (what we're told is) a more stable version of PostgreSQL. We'll be working on some scripts for adding images to the site, and creating more robust user profiles.
(Entered on Friday August 3rd, 2001 01:02 PM)

Adding people

Registered users may now add records for people and news items.
(Entered on Wednesday August 1st, 2001 11:11 AM)
July 2001

User registration

Look to the left and you'll see that you can now register. Right now, registering doesn't do much, but eventually, most functionality will come from your user account. Try it out, and let us know if you have any problems. :-)
(Entered on Tuesday July 31st, 2001 04:22 PM)

Categories for news items

Ok, we've gone back and forth, but a little progress - categories for our news items. They'll eventually sort depending upon user preferences, and have icons for quick reference.
(Entered on Monday July 30th, 2001 10:46 AM)

News script tweaks

PostgreSQL was down again yesterday. Back up today, and we figured out how to handle dates. You'll notice that the date below is nicely formatted. Going to start work soon on a user table.
(Entered on Thursday July 26th, 2001 04:17 PM)

PostgreSQL is up!

Ok, this may not seem like a big deal, but PostgreSQL, our database of choice, is up and running. The news table has been set up in PostgreSQL, too. Tomorrow, I'll move the old news items, clean up the news script a bit, and start moving the person and image scripts to PostgreSQL.

Now, we can really get moving. :-)

(Entered on Thursday July 26th, 2001 04:17 PM)