BBO gives access to the rich visual content of broadside ballads through two methods of discovering illustrations: subject searching and visual image matching.
Ilustration Subject browsing:
Every woodcut illustration in Bodleian Library ballad collections catalogued here has been described with the ICONCLASS classification scheme. This scheme allows browsing of the classification strings and keywords, which denote items or themes depicted in the illustrations.
ICONCLASS organizes topics in 9 general categories; specific topics can be found by browsing down the hierarchies for more specific terms.
For instance, within 4 Society, Civilization, Culture
46 social and economic life, transport and communication
46C traffic and transport
46C2 traffic on the water
46C24 sailing-ship, sailing boat
As an example, below is the woodcut used as our home image. All of the ICONCLASS codes below are linked to the records for editions on which this image appears.
48CC75621 ballad singer, outdoors
25I144 city square
41A3361 human figure at open window
46B221 street trader (male)
46BB221 street trader (female)
46A17 working class
46A112 social classes
The ICONCLASS system is described here.
Unlike ICONCLASS, which describes the subjects of illustrations, Image Search works to find purely visual likenesses. When you see the Image Search icon , click through to find the image of the ballad sheet in the Image Search environment. Here you can select any portion of the digital image and click “Search” to find matching impressions.
Results of Image Search are ranked in order of closest match: the first result is the same sheet.
Development of this Image Searching software has been carried-out by at the Department of Engineering Science’s Visual Geometry Group at the University of Oxford. The history of its development is given here and in a film here.