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Background to the Project

September 2010

The Tap into Bath demonstrator collection description database project has now ended and the database, created in 2004, is no longer available.

About the Project

Tap into Bath is an example of a new type of web-based resource that enables users to find out about archives, libraries and museums; in this case all the collections are located in the city of Bath. It was developed jointly by UKOLN and the University of Bath Library, in cooperation with partner organizations in Bath, and with additional support from SWMLAC.

Bath is a city with a long cultural heritage, which is reflected in its wide range of collections. There are large and small museums, each with its own focus and a number of archives documenting civic, commercial and academic activity. In addition to the public library, there are libraries for further and higher education, and for research and professional purposes. Many people will, however, only be aware of some of the resources on their doorstep. Visitors find out about museums in tourist literature, but there is no equivalent resource for other potential users of these collections.

By putting the data about the various collections into a searchable database, the enquirer can find out the answer to a variety of questions.

History of the project


The project began in summer 2003, when the libraries in Bath were looking at ways in which they could jointly provide information to users. UKOLN was consulted and advised setting up a collection description database. Due to lack of funding, there was no progress until late 2003, when UKOLN proposed a joint collaboration which would not only provide a resource for Bath, but which would also develop a database that could be re-used elsewhere. The scope was widened to include museums, art galleries and archives; collections were contacted and agreed to take part in the project. Work began on the database and on data collection in January 2004. By August the first version of the database was in place and much of the data entered. The final version of the database was completed in October and the rest of the data entered. The database was launched in December 2004 at the Guildhall, Bath.


Learning that the University of Bath Library server on which the Tap into Bath database was hosted was to be decommissioned in autumn 2010, the future of the project was reviewed. Designed as a demonstrator project, The database content was mostly as supplied in 2004 (with some updating in 2007) and was known to require further updating. None of the partners were now able to host the service or provide the staff time needed to update the data on regular basis. Site usage was highest in 2005-2007 but had had few visits in recent years, some if not all of which were by automated web crawlers rather than people making real searches. UKOLN therefore decided on the following actions.

The populated database

The software

The Web pages


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Page last updated: 30-Sep-2010  |  visits