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dedicated to the art of cataloging art

About panOpticon

panOpticon is a cloud-based information management system designed to assist you in cataloging an individual artist's body of work along with all the available supporting materials.


The design challenge for panOpticon is not simply to control the self-organizing processes, as some tools attempt to do, but to facilitate the emergence of higher-level outcomes e.g., more coherent understanding, accountability, access control, communication, and the exchange and distribution of usable data, metadata, information, and knowledge.

Reliable information about artworks and their histories may be published, it can be used to create educational resources and interactive displays, it is indispensable when organizing exhibitions, it is of great help to working artists who are promoting themselves, and it is an essential ingredient in the production of an authoritative catalogue raisonné.

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Our Product

Software as a Service

panOpticon was founded to meet the needs of all those who are looking for tools to manage, archive, and publish art provenance research.


Our platform allows you to access your content from anywhere with an internet connection.


You subscribe to our platform on an annual basis.


Once your database is up and running, you will never incur extra costs for updates.

Schedule a demo.




Notable Features

Purpose Built

We built the panOpticon platform specifically for Catalogue Raisonné publishers. For more than ten years, we have worked closely with scholars and editors, constantly making sure that our software meets all the criteria for presenting a perfectly crafted Catalogue.


Uniform Data Standards
Our system follows best practices as recommended by leading members of the Catalogue Raisonné Scholars Association. We use the Getty Categories for the Description of Works of Art as a standard for describing cultural objects and The Chicago Manual of Style as a style guide. We are also indebted to the resources of the Association of Art Editors (AAE) and The Art Institute of Chicago Guide to Museum Publications. And finally, we continue to work with professional catalogers to update and improve our software protocols. Uniform data standards not only promote the recording of information consistently, they are fundamental to retrieving it efficiently. Data standards also improve content management, eliminate redundancy, and make for meaningful information sharing.


Automatic Formatting and Styling

Our carefully constructed layout and easy-to-navigate interface promotes proper data input. In addition, users can easily see the data they enter in comparison with how that data could look when published. We give the client the ability to view all content with proper styling and punctuation—in order to help users edit as they go.


Controlled Vocabularies

We keep free-text fields to a minimum, since a cataloger is often forced to cram too much or too-diverse data into these. Instead, we use larger sets of controlled fields, each with their own separate vocabularies. Controlled vocabularies are groups of preferred words or phrases of delimited scope (linked to authority files) that are used to index and retrieve content efficiently.

Linking and Enhancing Data
We have created a variety of ways for users to relate and connect their data together—creating multiple nodes of discovery. The core goal is to link artworks to owners, exhibitions, and publications in order to create a complete history for an artwork. In addition, we provide: multiple ways for users to link artworks, specifying the relationships; e.g., unlimited key-wording for artworks, the ability to link other record types together, such as exhibitions and publications. In addition, you are able to upload unlimited images and supporting materials to any record.


Revision History

Timestamp details and revision histories by specific users help keep track of when data has been updated, therefore creating accountability.

Control What People Can See
Whether you have worked with us to publish your website, or you are just using the database software, you can control what content users can see with the option to publish or hide records, linkages, and additional material. If you do publish your website with us—all of your updates are live as soon as you click "save."

User Management
Create unlimited users with varying levels of accessibility to your database. From admin, to editors, to read-only users—you can even control which sections of the database users can edit.

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Financial Programs

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It’s easy. Just click “Edit Text” or double click me to add your own content and make changes to the font. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.

Introduction to Finance

Three Session Plan

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It’s easy. Just click “Edit Text” or double click me to add your own content and make changes to the font. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.

Financial Road Map

Four Month Plan

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It’s easy. Just click “Edit Text” or double click me to add your own content and make changes to the font. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.

Yearly Finance Plan

One Year Plan

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It’s easy. Just click “Edit Text” or double click me to add your own content and make changes to the font. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.

Our Services

Importing Your Data

Have data already? panOpticon can convert and migrate data from varying sources.


Whether you have an existing database, a simple excel sheet, or just a series of digital assets—we are skilled at reviewing your existing data and migrating as much content as possible, so that you will be ready to continue working as soon as possible.


We can also batch import any digital assets you may have to go with your content.


When you are ready to publish your catalogue online—we will work with you to custom build your own online catalogue to present to the public. We are a full design/build shop—or you can hire your own designers and we can bring those designs to life.


All websites and assets are hosted by us on our secure servers and linked directly to your working database so that you can continue to update and add content to the website.


If you are not interested in publishing to the web—we can help you by creating custom templates that you can use to publish in other formats.



Robert Indiana

“Many people have assisted in making this digital catalogue possible. We gratefully recognize both Roger Shepherd and Susannah Shepherd at panOpticon, without whose assistance this digital project would not have been made possible. In particular, we thank Susannah for her incredible dedication in helping to translate our vision for this catalogue.”

Emeline Salama-Caro
Project Director

Robert Indiana Catalogue Raisonné


Betty Parsons

“The final Betty Parsons site is wonderful!! Thank you so much for all your hard work to make this happen. You've gone above and beyond the usual to bring this to fruition and it shows: I am receiving lots of praise and support. It would not have been possible without the incredible panOpticon team. I look forward to continuing our work together!”

Rachel Vorsanger
Collection and Research Manager
Betty Parsons Catalogue Raisonné



Fitz Henry Lane

“Our project’s core need was a flexible, fully searchable database of Fitz Henry Lane’s work incorporating all the proper catalogue raisonné protocols. In addition, we wanted to be able to include far more historical and reference information than the traditional catalogue raisonné. After looking at numerous cataloging database software solutions, it became clear that the “one size fits all” architecture of commercial database software was going to need extensive adaptation for our needs, far beyond the expertise or budget of our project.

“We were introduced to panOpticon through their Mary Cassatt Catalogue Raisonné project that was still in process. It was immediately apparent that they had confronted and solved all the myriad problems associated with style protocols and had created extraordinary search capabilities that opened up numerous new avenues for understanding an artist’s work. Perhaps most importantly, the software has a user interface that automatically applies correct formatting and style to all the entries.

“The panOpticon team is very easy to work with—prompt and responsible in follow-through on all issues. The training is straightforward, and the software can answer most questions itself going forward. Most importantly, they understand the field of art scholarship as only an insider can. I can’t imagine what it would be like to try to explain the nuances of style and organization necessary to a catalogue raisonné to an ordinary software programmer or consultant. The amount of time and effort we have saved in the start-up phase alone is incalculable and the ongoing efficiency of the data input and organization continues to allow us to focus our resources on the core research.”


Sam Holdsworth
Project Director & Editor
FITZ HENRY LANE: An online project under the direction of the CAPE ANN MUSEUM




Tom Thomson
“It’s nice to see the Tom Thomson Catalogue Raisonné featured in [your email blast]. There has been quite a lot of research interest in Thomson in connection with an upcoming exhibition at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, so this is timely. Unfortunately, along with much of the world we are unable to host researchers in person under pandemic conditions, but we can make selective research scans on demand, so I suppose in a sense the research files are available for consultation. Hope your new year is off to a good start.”


Amy Marshall Furness
Rosamond Ivey Special Collections Archivist and Head of Library & Archives at the
E.P. Taylor Library & Archives, Art Gallery of Ontario
Tom Thomson Catalogue Raisonné

Researched and written by Joan Murray


Roy Lichtenstein

“One of our challenges was to create a complex online source of information which covers numerous aspects of Roy Lichtenstein’s work – and at the same time, to establish a clear and integrated architecture. We are making great progress with the help of our panOpticon database “


Andrea Theil
Director of the Roy Lichtenstein Catalogue Raisonné Project
Roy Lichtenstein Catalogue Raisonné Project




Jack Tworkov

“Our primary goal with the Catalogue Raisonné of Works on Canvas by Jack Tworkov was to make our extensive research publicly accessible and offer a forum for a renewed interest in the work of one of America’s great Abstract Expressionists. panOpticon converted and migrated years of research into their precise and easy-to-navigate program. I was astonished by how quickly and efficiently it all was transformed into a concise design, professional presentation, and manageable system. This is where panOpticon’s online software outstrips by far any other on the market.”


Jason Andrew
Archivist / Curator
An online project under the auspices of the Estate of Jack Tworkov



Philippe Smit

“The designers of the panOpticon information management system clearly understand the complexities of a catalogue raisonné. Their IMS conveniently organizes the rich levels of detail and documentation required by scholars, and it presents the information in formats that appeal also to general audiences. We consider it a strong and flexible foundation for the preservation and presentation of our work. The panOpticon support staff is always responsive to our questions and needs.”


Florence Castellani
Director, Philippe Smit Endowment Fund, Paris
Philippe Smit Catalogue Raisonné


Sam Francis

“The Sam Francis Foundation joins the other testimonials with our praise of panOpticon’s system. Using the database they have created has made our documentation and research immensely organized and extremely useful on a daily basis due to its layered search and linking capabilities. We have been working with them for a few years to assemble the Sam Francis catalogue raisonné of unique works on paper, and can’t imagine a better system for this process.

“The ease with which we can document works of art, upload images, create lists and notes as part of our daily research has allowed us to expand our archival database in so many ways. We are looking forward to launching the information online, another incredible aspect of the system that we are so excited about. Not only is the system intuitive and easy to access and learn, the staff at panOpticon are always willing to tweak the categories and develop ways for us to input data to fit our specific needs. And, if there are ever any questions they are so proficient and quick in their responses and assistance.
“It is a dream system—perfect for the extensive amounts of information one must organize when creating a catalogue raisonné. We highly recommend panOpticon and their team.”


Debra Burchett-Lere
Director, Sam Francis Foundation
Sam Francis: Online Catalogue Raisonné Project


David Smith

“The Estate of David Smith is currently using panOpticon for our catalogue raisonné and archives databases and for more general inventory purposes.

“Although we don’t plan to publish the David Smith Sculpture catalogue raisonné on line (it will be published as a three-volume book, by Yale University Press), we may decide post-publication to turn on the public-facing features of our panOpticon database in order to share updates and new finds.
“We’ve found panOpticon to be a remarkably good partner, working with us to migrate the data from our old system, and willing to add features and customize aspects of the basic panOpticon system so we could make it work well for our particular needs.”


Susan Cooke
Associate Director / The Estate of David Smith (2002-2018)
David Smith Sculpture: A Catalogue Raisonne, 1932-1965  Yale University Press



John F. Folinsbee

“We could not be happier with panOpticon’s incredibly intuitive and easy to use software for our catalogue raisonné. The transition of our data from our old database was practically seamless, and panOpticon responded to questions and concerns quickly. Both the public and the administrative pages are professional in design and presentation, and we are very excited to launch our new site in 2013.”


Kirsten M. Jensen
the John F. Folinsbee Catalogue Raisonné
An online project under the auspices of the John F. Folinsbee Art Trust



Willard Leroy Metcalf
“panOpticon is the gold standard — the premier catalogue raisonné database.”

Betty Krulik
Betty Krulik Fine Art Ltd.
Appraisers Association of America, Past President
Willard Leroy Metcalf Catalogue Raisonné



Paul Cezanne

“The work panOpticon did for us in setting up a database for our catalogue raisonné of Paul Cezanne was brilliant. They clearly understand the concept of a catalogue raisonné and the system they have set up for us is easy to use, flexible in its application, and amazingly comprehensive. We are thrilled with the final product and, in fact, would probably not have been able to produce this catalogue at all without their help.”

David Nash
Project Director and Co-author
The Paintings, Watercolors and Drawings of Paul Cezanne: An online catalogue raisonné under the direction of Walter Feilchenfeldt, Jayne Warman and David Nash


Arthur Dove

“panOpticon’s information management system makes implementing, tracking, and cross-referencing our research so effortless. A pleasure to use!”

Debra Bricker Balken
Arthur Dove, A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings and Things Yale University Press

Home: Contact
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Contact Us

panOpticon has been specially designed for use by seasoned researchers of art information.


Contact us whether you have a project in the offing or in the works.

Briefly describe your project and tell us why you want to use panOpticon.

Please note: we are unable to quote prices until we’ve conferred with you about your project’s particular needs.

Let us know if you wish to be on our mailing list.


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We look forward to hearing from you.

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