“Daguerrobase” is a nonprofit research project in which archives, libraries, museums, and private collectors throughout Europe collaborate. In a publicly accessible knowledge database entitled “Daguerrobase,” digital photographic reproductions of at least 25,000 daguerreotypes are to be gathered and consolidated.
Daguerreotypy was the first viable photographic technique (1830–60). Each daguerreotype—named after the inventor of the technique, Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre—is a one of a kind that, in contrast to other photographic image carriers, cannot be duplicated. Today daguerreotypes are rare in Europe and scattered among institutional and private collections. Many aspects of daguerreotypy are still in need of research, although its cultural history is of enormous significance. Daguerrobase aims to contribute to this body of knowledge and to promote research on the first photographic technique. At the Museum Ludwig we are responsible for indexing the daguerreotypy holdings in northern and central Germany.
The project was officially launched on November 1, 2012. As part of the “Europeana,” the joint online database of the European Union, the project is supported by funding from the European Commission, as part of the seventh general program for research and technological development.
A beta version of the database is already available at www.daguerrobase.org. In Fall 2013 a new, multilingual Daguerrobase portal will go online. This new, user-friendly portal will also offer private collectors the opportunity to feed their daguerreotypes into the system on their own and to supply, within their capabilities, an accurate description of their own object. This will help ensure that the database will continue to expand.
The Daguerrobase Consortium has eighteen partner members from thirteen European countries, comprised of archives, libraries, museums, and private collectors. Along with the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, these include the Fotomuseum Antwerp as well as institutions such as the Centre National de l’Audiovisuel in Luxemburg, the National Library of Norway, the Royal Library of Denmark, and the Museum Conservation Services of Great Britain.
If you have questions about Daguerrobase or are interested in cooperating with us, please contact us:
Dr Miriam Halwani, Museum Ludwig, halwanimuseum-ludwig.de
More information on the Daguerrobase-Project can be downloaded here.