In technical terms, The Art Genome Project is called a controlled vocabulary, an iterative taxonomy of art terms. Like art-historical taxonomies or thesauri
, encyclopedias and dictionaries
, and the recommendation engines that power sites such as Pandora or Netflix, The Art Genome Project creates comprehensive analyses of things—in this case, artists and artworks—by identifying a set of criteria and terms to classify them. Artsy is certainly not the first to create such a system for art; art libraries and image archives have long used classification systems. The Getty Research Institute’s Art & Architecture Thesaurus
, for example, comprises over 130,000 terms for the description of cultural objects. Individual art historians have embarked on similar projects, most notably Heinrich Wölfflin and Aby Warburg. What differentiates The Art Genome Project from these precedents is its user-centric approach. Instead of being created for use by slide librarians, registrars, or art historians, The Art Genome Project is intended to fuel discovery and retrieval for non-specialists. It is a vital part of the Artsy user experience, aimed to help anyone, including students, teachers, aspiring and seasoned collectors, museum-goers, and arts professionals and enthusiasts, discover and fall in love with art.