Quite often I have to “sit on” very exciting news here until all the details are put into place, and whatever we’re going to announce is ready for prime-time. Such is the case with the new version of our Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC, pronounced “P-pock”), which has launched within the past few days.
For months our curators and technologists have been working together on this spectacular revamp, which can now be found at the easy-to-remember address of www.loc.gov/pictures/ — with many images available for downloading.
Some of the new features include nifty new ways to browse our 1.25 million online prints and photos, such as grids that give a quick overview of dozens of images at once and even a slideshow format that lets you toggle bibliographic information on and off.
But what’s most exciting to me personally is our new “sharing tool” that can be found at the top of every page in the new catalog, which lets users easily post links to their favorite social media sites.
Not only can individual images be saved or posted, but entire pages, specific searches, or collections can be saved and shared. I can think of many uses for this, especially in education, where a teacher might search for a highly granular set of pictures for use in the classroom, and then share the set with a colleague for his or her own students.
Details can be found at this link, which includes a few great examples of image sets and searches.
The interface is reminiscent of other existing sites that offer powerful ways to search for and display images. One such site, of course, is Flickr, where we have conducted an enormously successful pilot project that resulted in their creation of The Commons. The pilot brought unprecedented visibility to our vast online photos and images, so it will be interesting to see how the new interface, especially the social-media sharing tools, brings additional awareness of and usefulness to the catalog.
In celebration of this new milestone, we have posted a new set of highlight images from the Library called “Meet More Treasures.” Consider it a thank you to all of those who have found value and pleasure in the Library’s priceless collections of more than 14 million pictures (both online and in our physical collections).
So why not take some time to look around a little? Whether you’re a researcher or a casual viewer, finding great pictures and flipping through them effortlessly is a joy in itself.