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Table of contents
Content of the database
Three kinds of queries
Combined terms and boolean operators
Retrievial list, displaying, sorting, history
How to search for...
       . ... an author or an artist
       . ... a subject
       . ... a date or a period
       . ... an exhibition
       . ... a call number
       . ... a prize or a contest
Decyphering a record
Data capture rules : our set of guidelines
How to save your search

Content of the database

This version of the catalogue of the graphic works, paintings, sculptures, kept at the Collections of the Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, is composed of different strata of recording and digitalizing processes ; it reflects our state of knowledge at the time we export the data onto the web.

The most exhaustive and up-to-date version of the database is accessible from our consultation room.

Please feel free to contact us for further information, to let us know your comments, or to write us before coming to the library : contact 0consultation-collections AT

Three kinds of queries are possible :

. You may use full text search or compound search, but not combine both.

. Quotes " " allow searches for exact phrases. Warning : do not use apostrophes when using the exact phrase search, the system does not recognize them.

. Full text search : this search includes all the fields present in the records, and it allows combinations of terms and criteria with the + or - signs.
Warning : the default boolean operator is OR, with an automatic sorting of the relevant answers : those corresponding to the AND critirion come on top of the list.
The terms should be associated according to the following pattern, using + for and, - for not, space for or : A+B. A -B.
It is possible to group terms or expressions by enclosing them between brackets. The quotes enable to search for an exact phrase. They should be used whenever searching for a precise date.
"Empty words" - such as le, la, les, the, de, of, punctuation marks, and single characters, are ignored by the system.
Online example : Ingres as subject, author, subject of exhibitions...

. Compound search in free text : you may search for one or several fields at the same time (author, title, subject...).
It is possible to use the boolean operators AND, OR, NOT, brackets, and quotes for a exact phrase.
Online example : Ingres as author
Online example : Auteur > Ingres AND Type d'oeuvre > peinture
"Empty words" - such as le, la, les, the, de, of, punctuation marks, and single characters, are ignored by the system.

. List or tree view : compound search allows you to choose a term from a list or following the hierarchy of the corresponding thesaurus.
Plain lists display all the terms linked to a record, while hierarchies are still under construction, names of places, and next, dates, being nearest achievement. Only names of places may be picked from the tree view at the moment.
Lists include rejected terms alongside the preferred terms, but the system switches automatically from a rejected term to the right heading, retrieving the works linked to it.


It is possible to widen the scope of the search by searching for part of a word only.
. The star * matches one or more characters ; it can be used anywhere in a word.
. ? substitutes for one character.
Online example : Pant*on > Panthéon, pantalon...
Online example : Ingre? > Ingres


Accents are not relevant to the query : in order to find Panthéon, you may type pantheon or panthéon.

Combining terms through boolean operators

diagram showing the meaning of boolean operators

Full text and compound search both allow the use of boolean operators to combine terms.

With full text search, only + ("and") and - ("not") signs, or a plain space ("or") may be used. The words should be combined according to the following pattern (note that space signifies "or") : A+B. A -B.
Online example : , without photographs > Ingres -photographie
Online example : Ingres with drawings only > Ingres+dessins

With compound search, boolean operators have to be expressed through AND, OR, NOT, in capital letters. They may be used between the different search fields, or within a field. It is possible to add brackets to group search criteria and to build more sophisticated queries.

OR is the default operator, and it applies whenever there is no boolean operator between two search terms.

. ET, AND, or +, reduces the scope of retrieved answers (it returns items matching all the search terms).
. OU, ou OR, the default operator, widens the scope (it returns items matching any of the search terms).
. SAUF, NOT, or -, restricts the query (it excludes items matching the search term).
. OR (or an empty space) brings more answers, including irrelevant ones, while AND or NOT produce more precise answers, possibly excluding some of the relevant ones.
Online example : "Garnier Charles" or Charles AND Garnier returns only records containing both Charles and Garnier, whereas
Garnier Charles returns any records including charles or Garnier and so too many answers and "noise".
"Garnier Charles" in the Author field, NOT Object type = dessin generates a list comprising a photograph and manuscripts by or after Charles Garnier.

Retrievial list, displaying, sorting, history

The answers are displayed as short reference views. They are composed of the beginning of the title, the first author, the date of creation, object type, and inventory number. Click on a reference to display the full record.

Titles and designations

Warning : the system only displays strings of 50 characters in the list of answers. However, complete titles are displayed in the full records.

Sorting the results

The default sorting criterion of the results is relevance (first items including all search terms, then those including at least one of the terms) : you may change the sorting criterion (date, author, title, date, prize...), by selecting it in the scrolling menu at the top right of the list. "Inventory number" can be useful insofar as the format of our inventory numbers is usually significant : the initials at the beginning correspond to specific collections, and they are followed by sequencial numbers. > See the list of inventory numbers patterns.

Back to query

The "Back to the search" button takes you back to the former query, in order to check it and refine the creteria to retrieve more relevant answers.


"Search history" displays a list of the most recent queries. Clicking on a query returns to the retrievial list corresponding to it, and then you may also get back to the search formula.
The history remains accessible until you close the web session. It is cleared as soon as you close the browser, or if you clear the cookies on which it relies.

How to search on...

An author

The best way to search for the works of a specific author is a compound search, choosing the "Author/Auteur" criterion in the menu at the right of the search form. Then either type the string Last name First name, or select a name in the list ("List" button at the right).
Online example : "Garnier Charles" as author

Click on [+] to display the complete record (dates, biographical information, references and archives). The link from the name points to all the works from that person.

In case of variants of a name, the system automatically switches to the relevant one.

To find works portraying, by, or having belonged to a person, do a full-text query on the name, or a compound search with the criterion Sujet/subject, and Auteur/author, and the boolean OR in-between.

Online example : Ingres as author OR subject

The author query can also apply to executants, i.e. printers, editors, booksellers, mainly as regards engravings.


The simplest type of subject query is full-text, which comprises subjects, titles, and analytic description. However this method often generates too much "noise". The system retrieves information from all the fields which are imported from the production database to its web version, even if they are not displayed.
Online example : subject = "temples à Rome"

A compound search is likely to be more fruitful. Combine a title/designation, and a subject search, with the boolean OR in-between.
Online example : sujet = "temples à Rome"

More relevant answers will be obtained through compound search for the Subject>Place/Lieu criterion. The hierarchical list permits more or less extended search.
Online example : Place/Lieu > Europe > Italie
Online example : Place/Lieu > Europe > Italie > Florence

Subject query also includes dates, periods, events (historical events, World fairs, Quatre'z'arts ball...), keywords, and names of persons.
Online example : sujet = "Bal des Quat'z'arts"

The Tree view (hierarchy) button permits displaying the structure of the different thesauri, and picking a search term.
The List button shows all index terms used (keywords, events, persons...), including rejected terms.

Click on [+] to display the detailed record concerning a person, or click on the link to display all the works portraying that person.


Select a date or a period in the hierarchical list, in the compound search. Alternatively use the full-text search, but do not forget to use quotation marks, to search for a precise phrase : "17e siècle" or 17e in date of creation will return all the works made in the 17th century.... but 17e siècle (without quotation marks) will mix works dated any "siècle" (century), and all works dated 17##, 1817, 1917, etc..

. Date of creation : compound search for Date de création
Online example : Date de création > 19e (free text)

. Period or date bracket : compound search > Date de création > Liste or Hiérarchie
Beware that the system does not enable actual, logical, search for periods of time.

. Date of contest : search for the Date de création criterion.

. Date of event : search for Sujet
Online example : Sujet > 1968

. A few instances of dates which may be found in the database :
1905/05/12 (standing for 12 mai 1905)
17e siècle
Antiquité ; Renaissance


All exhibitions in which a work has been displayed are mentioned in its record, with catalogue references. The number which follows at the bottom of these references (most usually EX ######) is the call number corresponding to the copy kept at the library.
Use compound query with the Expositions criterion, type words from the title, and the city and year of the exhibition.
Online example : "L'âme au corps" Paris

Call number

Call numbers are usually meaningfull : they are composed of letters, corresponding to the different sets of collections, followed by a serial number. See the list of the main types of call numbers.

Call numbers are usually structured as initials, followed by numbers, then sometimes subdivisions. It is possible to use compound search for "N° d'inventaire", with quotation marks, or to combine the different parts of a number with the boolean AND.
For instance : to search for PC 18081-1858-1, type "PC 18081-1858-1" or PC AND 18081 AND 1858 AND 1.
Online example : exact number with quotation marks
Online example : exact number with the boolean AND
Online example : query on a complete album and substrings

Beware : "empty" words, such as the prefix O., are ignored by the system, while there exists a O. series of albums. To do a search for that series, use the following formula, including the brackets :
(masson AND "dessin d'architecture et d'ornement") NOT "Mas." .

Prizes and contests

A great part of the Collections consists of works which received prizes or won various contests, such as the famous Prix de Rome. That is why we have made it possible to search by the criterion "Destination, prix, concours".
The Tree view button will prove useful in that context.
Online example : Destination, concours, diplômes = Envoi de Rome d'architecture

Decyphering a record

Titre / désignation, i.e. Title or name

The note "Titre forgé" stands for a title which was established by the cataloguer, and not by the author or artist.

Expositions, i.e. Exhibitions

This field displays the references of the exhibitions in which an object was shown, through the corresponding catalogues. The description of the book and the corresponding call number at the Collections library are usually followed by the number in the exhibition.

Biographical references and exhibitions

The call numbers after the references correspond to books which may be consulted at the Collections library.


Anonyme par excès d'auteurs means that the object, most usually an album, includes parts by numerous authors. In that case, the standards allow not to mention all the authors of the work in question, and those may be listed in a note.

Names of persons : details

Click on [+] to display the detailed record of an author, an executant, or a represented character (dates, biographical note, archival number for former Beaux-arts pupils and teachers...).

Objet associé non géré, i.e. linked object belonging to external collections : detail

Click on [+] to display the detailed record of an object that belongs to external collections (name of the collection, place, description...).

Data capture rules

There are no standards for museum objects such as those we use in the bibliographical area. However, ICOM and the french Direction des musées de France drew up some guidelines indicating the informations that should be required in any state of the art catalogue (type of work, name or title, author, biographical details about the author, executant, technique, dimensions, origins, date of creation, inscriptions and marks, call number, deposit, acquisition, exhibitions, bibliography, subject...). These rules were adapted by the major cataloguing applications such as Micromusée. The following set of rules (charte de saisie) defines the data capture rules in use as far as the inventory of the Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris is concerned : it may help to understand the structure and the choices we have made, in order to build the Cat'zArts online version of the inventory.
> Data capture set of rules, in pdf format - sorry, as these are local guidelines, they have not yet ben translated...


Images usually appear in a "pop-up" window, as soon as you click on the thumbnail. The window and its content may be widened : stretch the window rim with the mouse. The image may also be enlarged by a simple click on it, in the most well-known web browsers, such as Firefox or Internet Explorer.

The Planche contact, i.e. Contact sheet option stands just below the sorting menu, at the top right of the results list. It permits navigating through thumbnails. Note that if a record contains several images, only the first one appears in the results list, whereas the full record will display all of them.

In order to filter illustrated records, check "Only records with picture" under the search fields.

More than half of the records contain at least one image at the moment. Their size varies according to the period when the work was digitized. Higher standard digital images or silver prints can be ordered through the photographic department.

How to save searches

The basket allows gathering a selection of items in a retrievial list.
Check the records you wish to save, then click on "Add to basket" (bottom left of the list). Note that you should add your selection to the basket page by page, as the system forgets the checked records after it leaves a page.
Beware : if you are using Internet Explorer 7, you will loose the history and former searches and lists if you empty he basket, or if you delete some items from it.

How to store a retrievial list...

The simplest way is to bookmark the page displaying the result. The location of the page may be copied from the browser and sent by e-mail, etc....
This implies having to reconnect to access the data. A search formula may be saved in this way as well.

Basket pdf export : Select a list of items and make a basket. Open the basket, and click on the link "Basket in PDF" at the bottom of the list.

How to save the data contained in a retrievial list, in order to access it offline : the tool to do this in one operation and get the information in text or pdf format is not yet ready. For the time being, the best solution is to save every page displaying the results in html format, and then the linked records to get the full data. Create a specific directory, then follow these steps :
File (top left of your browser window) > Save as > Format = full html page (which will include the design and pictures).