The Smithsonian possesses more than 13 million images in 19 museums and 700 collections,
organized by discipline. In the past, it's been difficult for researchers—and even curators—to know where all the images pertinent to a topic might be found.
The Smithsonian Photography Initiative
aims to change all that, making the institute's massive collection accessible for the general public and inviting history fans to get involved.
One facet of the initiative, click! photography changes everything
, is a repository of essays on how the medium has altered the world we live in. Right now, 100 experts' musings can be found on the site; in the fall, click!
will invite the public to submit images
and comments. (Click here to read about
our Photo Detective
Maureen Taylor's translation of her own grandmother's wedding portrait and how it changed her perception of Nana from a static portrait to a living woman.)Enter the Frame
encourages Web site visitors to "tag
" Smithsonian photographs to make them more easily searchable. When you tag a photo, you apply keywords that describe the image. This could include dates, locations, seasons, topics, descriptions of people in the photo, objects in the photo, etc. For example, the photo at right (from our Photo Detective blog
) might get tagged with mourning
, black dress
.Click here to see a list
of all the Smithsonian Photography Initiative projects, including click! photography changes everything
and Enter the Frame
. You can read more about the benefits of tagging in Family Tree Magazine
's May 2008
Toolkit article "Tagging Along."