Practicum: The Rossetti Archive

This archive is a digital collection of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s paintings, designs, and writings. The archive was completed in 2008 which seems to be the last time the design of the website was updated as it is very simple. The archive is however, public access, so it is free to any user who comes across the site. This seems to be an archive for people who know specifically what they are looking for of Rossetti’s works.

The “Home” page of the archive with a small introduction to Rossetti and his works.
The list of mediums are links to take you to the itemized archive of each medium.

The “Exhibits & Objects” tab of the site is the most easy to navigate. It starts by showing you a list of his different mediums of work where you can then click the link to which medium you would like to search. It then takes you to the archive of those specific works. It is very nice that it breaks is down by specific medium so if you just want to look at pictures and not go through the entire archive, you have that ability. It does not seem that you can just look at all of the things in one cohesive list which would be difficult if trying to get a good sense of all of the works. You would have to switch back and forth between the tabs.

Alphabetical view.

Once you click on the medium of work you would like to explore, it pulls up the works in alphabetical order for you to browse. You can click through the list alphabetically at the top to get to where you would like to be quicker as well (left). There is a new feature as well to be able to see the works on a timeline view which is helpful and it also helps you to look at what works overlapped and when he started and finished them (below).

Timeline view of works as well as instructions for how to use the timeline.

The next tab, “Search Engine” is where users can search for specific titles, phrases, genres, names, and dates. You can also search for boolean. This is the part of the archive it seems you have to know exactly what you are looking for. The search engine is very specific and hard to navigate if you are just trying to learn about the general works. This is for people who seem to be writing a book or paper on the topic so they can search for very in-depth things instead of looking through the whole archive.

Archive’s search engine feature.

The last two tabs of the archive are very general and just noting things about the archive. The first to mention is the bibliography and just gives visitors further readings to look at for context of Rossetti and his works. The second to mention is the tab entitled “nines” which is a partnership of different 19th century work holding archives and talks about its influence on the Rossetti archive.

Overall, this website seems very old and can be kind of hard to navigate. It took me a good 30 minutes to finally get my foothold on finding where things are in the archive and how all of the linked things work. It is a great source for finding all things Rossetti.

-McKenna Crews

One Reply to “Practicum: The Rossetti Archive”

  1. McKenna – So this archive was actually utilized by one of my literature profs in undergrad, and we spent an entire class navigating this website. I’m fascinated by the cross-discipline usage. I’d be interested to know how public historians create resources that help other scholarly disciplines to better study their subject. I don’t know if you thought about that while spending time on the site. It’s a really great site with a lot of great information. It would be even better if it was updated to be more user-friendly for those who don’t have a prof leading them through the archive. Clearly public historians are needed for that!
    Great post!

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