ORION is a digital art history research-oriented project focused on the study of art collections and collectors in Portugal, supported on a relational database management system. Besides the obvious advantage of organizing and systematizing an enormous amount of information, promoting its analysis, this database was specifically designed to highlight the relationships between data. Its relational capacity is not only one of the most relevant features of ORION, but a differentiating quality, one step forward in comparison to other international databases and studies that use digital methodologies. This article discusses the methods and the advantages of using ORION in research related to the history of collecting, art markets and provenance of art objects in Portugal, where it is the very first time that an approach such as this is intended, looking for a systematization of data that paves the way to the emergence of new research questions. Furthermore, and because ORION aims to share the data and knowledge with other projects, institutions and researchers, the database uses different international standards, such as data structure (CIDOC-OIC and Getty-CDWA), controlled vocabulary (Iconclass
, Art and Architecture Thesaurus
(AAT), Thesaurus of Geographic Names
(TGN), and Union List of Artist Names
(ULAN)) and communication and exchange of information (CIDOC-CRM).
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