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What is Image Collections Online (ICO)?

Established by the IU Libraries, the Image Collections Online (ICO) repository service supports the creation, curation, and publication of image collections online:

  • ICO Cataloger provides repository submission and cataloging support for collections managers for the creation and ongoing maintenance of online image collections.
  • ICO Portal serves as a gateway to various image collections curated by the libraries, departments, and cultural institutions of Indiana University: www.dlib.indiana.edu/collections/images/

What is the Image Collections Online Portal (ICO Portal)?

The Image Collections Online (ICO) Portal serves as a gateway to various image collections curated by the libraries, departments, and cultural institutions of Indiana University.

Navigation for the ICO Portal is provided through a series of browseable facets, found on the right-hand side of the page. All collections in ICO may be browsed by date and topic, and individual collections may be accessed by collection name. Collections are organized under units. Each unit and collection has a page in ICO where users can find out a bit more about them. Links to external unit pages are provided as well.

A simple search is provided at the top of the page. Users can search across all ICO collections, within all the collections belonging to a single unit, or within a specific collection.

How is the ICO different from other online photo sites?

The ICO Portal provides a central location for accessing, browsing, and searching image collections across the Indiana University community. In addition to the publicly accessible ICO Portal, the Image Collections Online repository service provides a cataloging interface (called ICO Cataloger) for describing a collection and the individual images that make up that collection. Staff from the IU Libraries provide support and training both for cataloging, and for the scanning of images that are not yet in a digital format. If your collection has already been cataloged in a database or spreadsheet, IU Libraries staff will work with you to migrate that information into the Images Collections Online service, so you need not re-enter it by hand.

ICO is intended as a preservation solution for IU-affiliated cultural heritage organizations and scholars.  It is not an image hosting service like Flickr or Picassa.  

Who can create collections for Image Collections Online?

ICO is a service provided by the Indiana University Libraries, which serves departments and cultural institutions (museums, galleries, etc.) of Indiana University. Any of these units may create collections for Image Collections Online.

What is the Image Collections Online Working Group?

Units that use the Image Collections Online Service are automatically members of the Image Collections Online Working Group (ICO WG), which meets once a month to discuss issues with ICO and makes recommendations for modifications and functionality to be added to the Service. The ICO WG has a standing subcommittee that makes recommendations on issues of metadata and formatting. The ICO WG can set up additional committees (standing and ad hoc) as needed. Users of ICO are encouraged to participate in the monthly meetings.

How can I create a collection for Image Collections Online?

If you have materials that are not yet in a digital format and have not yet been cataloged, creating a collection for Image Collections Online will involve both the conversion of the physical objects into a digital format (usually through scanning), and the selection of fields that will be used in Photocat (the cataloging interface used by the ICO Service) for cataloging the images. Scanning of materials may happen in the IU Libraries' Digitization Lab, or in the department or unit responsible for the collection. In either case, IU Libraries staff can provide information on best practices to ensure that digital images meet archival standards for digitization. Photocat has a large number of fields that may be tailored to your needs, however the system is flexible and new fields can be added if necessary.

ICO collections can also be created from images that already exist in a digital format (either taken with a digital camera, or have already been scanned), and/or collections that have already been described or cataloged in a database or spreadsheet. In these cases, collection managers will need to work with IU Libraries staff to get their digital images ingested and their cataloging information migrated into Photocat.

If you are interested in using the ICO Service, and publishing your image collections on the ICO site, please read the next five pages of documentation, listed below and in the left-hand navigation window, and then send an email to Michelle Dalmau (mdalmau@indiana.edu) to get started.

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