Friday, April 3, 2009

Picture This: Family Photographs of Everyday San Francisco

The San Francisco Public Library maintains a very attractive online exhibit dedicated to photographic representations of the experience of the family. This exhibit is very nicely curated, but appears to have been a temporary as opposed to ongoing project. The site was last updated several months ago. It does not feature a search function, but is rather organized by category with thumbnail images of photos availible for selection. The images themselves are nicely scanned jpegs, which may be enlarged once. The exhibit seems focused on the multicultural makeup of San Francisco, and has many images that are quite striking. It seems like the target audience would be the general public, teachers, and people interested in the kinds of images that exist in the library's archive. Metadata is provided for each item, but is often limited to the identification of the subjects of the photos, a title, the donor, and when it was taken. More information, such as location and information about a finding aid would have been very helpful. For its purposes, I think that this site does an adequate job of presenting a curated sampling of archived materials. It would be useful for teachers interested in showing historical diversity, and of interest to persons casually exploring the city's history. This is a good example of what you can do with some web skills and a limited digitization effort.

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