Image search – a new frontier in archives?

The WCSU Archives had this in our collections:

It was listed in an inventory as “Japanese; by unknown”.  While accurate to our knowledge of the piece, it wasn’t going to help anyone searching for a Japanese woodblock print of Inukawa Sosuke Yoshinori.

How did we figure out this was Inukawa Sosuke Yoshinori?  First, we used  Google Image Search.  The initial results were other woodblock prints, but not really similar to our image.  We did find one print where the person portrayed looked similar to ours.  So, we threw that search term in with the image, and voila, we in the first 50 results found a gallery that was selling the same print and they had identified the artist, subject, publisher, and date.  Here’s our current record for this piece.

Subsequently, we also found that this same piece is at the MFA in Boston and their record had even more data about the piece.  We also found that there is an app specifically for identifying these woodblock prints:

Japanese Woodblock Print Search:

Based on this discovery, we will be using this to better identify a book of woodblock prints in the WCSU Archive.

Additionally, we found that TinEye search is even better than Google Image Search in this instance at finding a comparable image on the Web.

We also identified a long-unidentified painting ( from the Marjorie Echols collection.  Is it by Morelli or just a copy?

Cool stuff.