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MatrizPIX: Contents and Objectives
One of the most important concerns about the safeguard of Cultural Heritage is its photographic documentation, a task that is being accomplished within the General-Directorate for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) by its Archive of Photographic Documentation (APD).

In this context, MatrizPIX’s main purpose is to allow online access to the National Photographic Inventory, particularly to the image database of National Museums, Palaces and Monuments. MatrizPIX’s is therefore an ever-growing image database alongside the ongoing photographic documentation work of Portuguese Movable and Immovable Cultural Heritage.

As a search engine on high resolution digital photographs, the main aim of MatrizPIX is to improve quality and efficiency in the access of licensed images of the major items of Portuguese Movable and Immovable heritage.

On the other hand, the relevance of MatrizPIX lays on providing access to cultural information for education and scientific purposes to a large variety of users ranging from museum, conservation and restoration professionals to students, teachers and researchers, mainly in the areas of Archaeology, Ethnology and History of Art.

Reinforcing the presence of National Museums and Palaces in the Internet, MatrizPIX is an essential tool in the strategy of DGPC to enhance easy access to Portuguese movable heritage in the context of the Information Society.

Photography and Documentation of Movable and Immovable Cultural Heritage
Since its technical emancipation, more than a century ago, photography proved to be an indispensable tool for museums to document their collections. At the beginning, it was restricted only to masterpieces, but in time all the items in the collections were progressively and systematically photographed. Such process became increasingly accelerated as photographic equipment became smaller, cheaper and, most of all, when digital technologies started to be used massively.

In this continuous process, photographic documentation closely followed the registry of museum collections, mainly on what regards the use of information systems for the management of museum collections. Museums quickly moved from the use a single photo print attached to an item registry file to the use of photo digital albums, where a number of different views of a single item can be easily accessed and managed by the registrar or the curator.

DGPC’s Archive of Photographic Documentation
The digitisation of the images archives of DGPC’s Archive of Photographic Documentation began in 2001, and MatrizPIX is now giving public visibility to this work and to the major role APD/DGPC plays in documenting photographically the Portuguese Movable and Immovable Cultural Heritage according to high quality standards. MatrizPIX was implemented in order to facilitate access to this digital image database, as well as to answer promptly to the requests and needs of numerous institutions, for education, research and editorial purposes.

APD/DGPC also plays an important role in the conservation of photo archives of utmost importance for the history of photography, not only from National Museums, Palaces and Monuments but also from other public or private institutions. The work undertaken to conserve, study and divulge these archives has resulted in some major exhibitions dedicated to photographers from 19th and 20th centuries, and their historic, social and technological contexts.

Collections Inventory: from Matriz and MatrizNET to MatrizPIX
MatrizPIX is a public interface of a database developed by DGPC for the inventory and management of analog and digital photography archives, either within visible or invisible spectrum.

Thus, MatrizPIX is first of all a result of the DGPC’ attributions regarding photography documentation of museums collections and monuments, as well as preservation and inventory of historical photographic archives belonging to public or private institutions.

On the other side, MatrizPIX benefits from the experience on registration and cataloguing of movable cultural heritage, and its three major areas: MATRIZ 3.0, the software for the inventory and management of movable cultural heritage, which is used by all national Museums and Palaces under the coordination of DGPC; Inventory Guidelines, a collection of standards handbooks for the inventory and digitisation os museum collections; MatrizNET, the Collective Catalogue of Portuguese Museums presently allows simultaneous search over the inventory databases of 34 museums (

Direção-Geral do Património Cultural

Matriz application - Image album

DDF - Use of digital backs; DDF - Preservation of historic photo
João Martins catalog; Carlos Relvas catalog; Jorge Almeida Lima catalog; Amália Rodrigues catalog

Matriz application
MatrizNet Site
Secretário de Estado da Cultura Direção-Geral do Património Cultural Terms & Conditions  separator  Credits