How to use the image database

The national inventory of Swiss pottery combines the CERAMICA CH image database and texts about museums and manufacturers as well as other subjects relating to pottery in and from Switzerland. The texts on the website are searchable by clicking on the magnifying glass in the top right corner and entering topics or terms. The search function does not access the image database!

The CERAMICA CH image database is optimised to perform on computers, tablets and smartphones. Because of the relatively large amount of data, full-text queries run fastest on personal computers. The CERAMICA CH image database allows you to search for any objects or ceramics that may interest you.

Clicking on ‘Explore the collection’ will allow you to search the database, either by running a full-text query or by applying filters. The flag allows you to switch between the German-, French- and English-language versions of the database. However, only the filters in the panels on the right-hand side are available in three languages! The individual records, on the other hand, are usually written in the language of the canton that holds the collection concerned, i.e. they are written in either German or French. If the language is changed during the course of a query, the selected filters or lists of favourites are automatically cleared. The same applies when the database is closed down. For reasons of data protection, personal lists of favourites or filters are not saved.

When the database is opened, all records are displayed in a random sequence, which may change every time. You can choose between a list view and an image gallery view (icons in the top right corner). Click on an image to open the record and see the information pertaining to the object depicted. If you click on the main image you will see a photo of the object in the maximum resolution. You can change the size of the image via the zoom function of your browser. Using the arrows on the left or right edge of the first image will allow you to see the other images of the object.

Above the object information and to the right of the main image, you will find three different icons. The first icon, ‘Request as email’, allows you to send a link, either to a friend to show them the object, or to contact the museum that holds the object to enquire about the right to use or copy the image. The museums’ email addresses can be found in the section Museum. The second icon, ‘Print to PDF’, will create a PDF file of the record which you can print out or add to your own data collection. However, in the PDF, only the main image of the object will be maximised. The third icon, ‘Add record to the list of favourites’, allows you to add a particular record to a list of favourites. The ‘list of favourites’ icons are in the top right corner below the list/gallery icons. By clicking on ‘Display favourites’ you can have the system show you only the objects you have added to your list of favourites. The next icon, ‘Delete list of favourites’, removes all favourites ticks. The third icon, ‘List of favourites in PDF’, allows you to save your favourites in a printable PDF file, while the fourth icon, finally, allows you to send the list of favourites by email. In cases where the email client only allows users to include a limited number of links in an email, a popup window will appear from where you can copy all record links.

There are two ways of reducing the number of records: by using a full-text query (‘Search the catalogue’) or by using filters.

When using the full-text query function (via the search field above the first record), the system will provide you with a series of existing search terms or pieces of information. The field is not case-sensitive. As you enter more letters, the number of suggestions will gradually decrease in number. Much like setting a filter, the query is submitted once you click on one of the suggested terms. Full-text queries allow users to explore the entire database in a playful manner. By adding quotation marks, you can search for a combination of letters or words (e.g. “Werkstatt 5” or “weisse Grundengobe”). The asterisk (*) wildcard allows you to search for parts of words).

The records found (by searching or filtering the data) can then be sorted by various criteria (‘Sort by’ to the right of the full-text query field). The results of a full-text query can be further limited by adding filters. You can combine an unlimited number of filters. Why not just have a go and use random words and filters to familiarise yourself with the system!?

If you wish to go back to having all records displayed, you can either click on ‘Current filters’ to clear individual filters, or you can click on ‘Remove all filters’. Full-text queries also allow you to search for an object by its inventory number. All other functions (display, email, pdf, list of favourites) can be used as described above.

The filter ‘Location of the museum/canton’ lists the records pertaining to all museums in that particular canton. In other words, if the filter ‘Canton Bern’, is selected, the system will display an inventory of all objects from that particular canton. However, if you wish to see only the objects from a particular museum in Canton Bern (e.g. the Museum im Kornhaus Wiedlisbach), you can find it in the ‘Museum’ filter panel and either reduce the list of objects further by adding this filter or you can run a new search with this filter on its own. The filter panel ‘Vessel type’ allows you to run a targeted search for a particular type of vessel (e.g. Butter churn). The filter panel ‘Country of manufacture’ will show you all pottery manufactured in Switzerland, for example, while ‘Region of manufacture’ will list all pottery made, e.g., in Canton Graubünden. The filter panel ‘Place of manufacture’, finally, will allow you to focus on a particular municipality (e.g. Langnau) and, where possible, you can even create lists of individual workshops, potters or manufacturers (e.g. Langnau Werkstatt 3, Hand 5 = Daniel Herrmann, 1736-1798) by using the filter panel ‘Manufacturer-workshop’. The filter panel ‘Pottery fabric’ lists filters to search for the main groups of pottery fabric (earthenware, faience, creamware, stoneware, porcelain) and other materials, for instance, used for the moulds (gypsum). The filter panel ‘Century’ allows you to search by half-century, with ‘A’ being the first half, and ‘B’ the second; ‘18A’, therefore, stands for ‘first half of the 18th century’. The filter panel ‘Date’ refers to the date of an object to the year (e.g. 1664), where this is known, or to a period (e.g. 1820-1830). The latter is based on stylistic, typological, art-historical or archaeological criteria and is an estimate, which cannot be substantiated in detail within the context of the database itself.

Translation Sandy Haemmerle