The Library of Congress > Wise Guide > May 2010 > A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words
A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

The Library of Congress’ extensive Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) now has a new look and exciting new features. A dynamic redesign offers clean and visually inviting pages, with easy-to-use features for searching, browsing and sharing and offers a glimpse at presentation and sharing tools being used across more and more of the Library’s website.

Florence Thompson with three of her children in a photograph known as "Migrant Mother." 1936. By Dorothea Lange. Reproduction Information: Reproduction Nos.: LC-DIG-fsa-8b29516 (digital file from original neg.), LC-USZ62-93635 (b&w film copy neg. of an unretouched file, showing thumb), LC-DIG-ppmsca-23845 (digital file from print, post-conservation), LC-DIG-ppmsca-12883 (digital file from print, pre-conservation) LC-USF34-T01-009058-C (b&w film dup. neg.); Call Nos.: LC-USF34- 009058-C [P&P], LC-USF346-009058-C b&w film transparency, LC-USF347-009058-C b&w film safety neg. Milk - for summer thirst. 1940. Prints and Photographs Division. Summary: Poster for Cleveland Division of Health promoting milk, showing a young man holding a glass of milk with the sun shining in the background. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZC2-1094 (color film copy slide); Call No.: POS - WPA - OH .01 .M562, no. 1 (C size) [P&P]

PPOC offers access to 1.25 million digital images and to more than 600,000 records describing the collections in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division (P&P).

PPOC is a heavily used resource, with more than 16 million searches conducted in 2009. The catalog provides access through group or item records to P&P’s holdings, which consist of more than 14 million pictures, including the 1.25 million digitized images.

The new catalog brings the pictures to the forefront of the web pages. The original version, established in 1996, was more text-oriented and in need of an upgrade. The search option has been improved to be available on almost every page of the catalog, allowing for easy modification of searches—no need to click back to a search page to conduct a new search. The search engine is more robust, bringing up all applicable items. There are no limits to the number of records that can be retrieved.

Visitors can now browse by alphabetical lists of subjects, formats and creators across the entire catalog as well as for individual collections. Colorful banner images highlight the "learn more about it" essays for major collections, such as the popular Russian Empire photographs by Sergei M. Prokudin-Gorskii.

The "view all" feature for major collections opens the door to interesting visual explorations. Viewing options, in general, are greatly expanded and now include gallery, grid and slideshow features. The gallery format displays 20 images on a page, four rows of five pictures. The grid format shows 100 images on a page, 10 rows of 10 pictures. Slideshows can be seen in two speeds, slow and fast, with an option to include item descriptions. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) posters from the Great Depression are especially interesting in this format.

Another new feature is the share/save tool. With stable and durable URLs, the searches and images can be shared quickly with one’s social network.