The Art Genome Project
Classification system for art and design and technological framework for search on Artsy / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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The Art Genome Project is the search technology behind Artsy.
The Art Genome Project's search technology is the product of an ongoing art-historical study — undertaken by a team of contributors with art-historical backgrounds at Artsy — seeking to define the characteristics which distinguish and connect works of art, architecture, ancient artifacts and design.
Its primary aim is to provide Artsy users dynamic search categories and explain similarities among art and artists. Currently, there are over 1000 "genes" (i.e., attributes of art) in the project's taxonomy, including art-historical movements, subject matter, and formal qualities. These genes are the product of Artsy's team and their engagement with (and feedback from) the museums, galleries, curators, critics and art historians present on Artsy's platform.
There are two general parts of the project:
1) Conceiving and defining such characteristics, referred to as "genes";
2) Applying these genes to artists and artworks — creating "genomes" for both — for the artsy.net site.
Importantly, unlike tags, which are binary, genes are applied with values ranging from 0 to 100. The value indicates the degree of relevance of a gene to an artist or work of art. While not seen by users, such gene values account for the strength of a relationship between artists and artworks. It also enables similarity to be expressed in a more nuanced way than it might be with just tags because one can weigh various attributes of an artist or work of art to establish which might be the most or less important. Furthermore, such nuance allows for matching potential collectors with artworks based on their tastes and preferences.
Artsy's "genes" create various opportunities for discovering and learning about the artist and artworks. If users search for an artist, they can see "related" artists and if they search for an artwork, they can see "related" artworks. Genes (with definitions) also appear on their own pages and provide the backbone for Artsy's browse page.
The Art Genome Project provides metadata for search (and similarity) results based on the principles of information retrieval (TF/IDF) and presents results in a UX-driven search product.
Matthew Israel, an art historian, is the Director of The Art Genome Project.