22 June 2007

Real World Access (29)

One of a series of articles about where Microsoft Office Access applications have found a real-world niche.

 Scott Diamond's Art Collection

My company had a lot of artwork within their offices. Some of it very valuable, including an original Andy Warhol. However, we really didn’t have a good inventory of what we had on the walls and in storage. In addition, management wanted a way for new executives to browse the inventory to choose art they might want in their offices.

So I was tasked with creating such an inventory.

While an art appraiser was brought in to value each piece and take pictures, I worked on an Access application. Within 2 weeks I had a working prototype that provided the functionality requested.

The database recorded info about each piece of art: title, size, artist, medium, location, value, purchase date and appraisal date, and also a set of keywords used to categorize each piece so executives could search for what they might want (example, still lifes, landscapes, portraits etc.)  Only authorized facilities staff had access to the information about the value of the works.

The application also stored and displayed images of each art work.

The application was completed and put into production late in August 2001. This became very significant since my company occupied the 50th – 54th floors of Two World Trade Center (the south tower). Of course all the artwork (approximately $3 million worth) was lost. But my artwork catalog (which was backed up on tape stored off site), was recovered and used to get full reimbursement from the insurers.

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