April 7, 2010 Library of Congress Unveils Redesigned Prints and Photographs Online Catalog

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Helena Zinkham (202) 707-2922

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.

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). The improved catalog can be found at www.loc.gov/pictures/.

“The new features are wonderful,” said Helena Zinkham, acting chief of P&P. “People seeking specific subjects, or just wanting to explore what’s available, can interact more easily with the picture collections. They now have the tools they’ve come to expect from other websites, like a variety of viewing options and simple sharing of what’s found, plus improved keyword access and more indexes to browse.”

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 amount 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, which can be viewed at www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/. The “view all” feature for major collections opens the door to interesting visual explorations: www.loc.gov/pictures/search?st=grid&c=100&co=prok.

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: www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/wpapos/search/?co=wpapos&q=posters&c=20&st=slideshow.

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.

Christopher Carlson, a design manager in the Library’s Web Services, said, “The new PPOC allows users to view images of one of the greatest photography collections in the world, in ways they never could before, and allows them to share what they find with their communities.”

The Prints and Photographs Division at the Library of Congress includes more than 14 million photographs, drawings and prints from the 15th century to the present day. International in scope, these visual collections represent a uniquely rich source of human experience, knowledge, creativity and achievement, touching on almost every realm of endeavor: science, art, invention, government and political struggle, and the recording of history. For more information about the division, visit www.loc.gov/rr/print/. For access to the catalog, visit www.loc.gov/pictures/.


PR 10-066
ISSN 0731-3527