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What is Image Collections Online?

Supported by the Indiana University Digital Library Program, a partnership between the IU Libraries and University Information Technology ServicesEstablished by the IU Libraries, Image Collections Online (ICO) is the collective name for two a dual set of services that support the creating creation and publishing of publication image collections of images online:

  • The Image Collections Online Service also known as PhotoCat, which provides scanning, workflow, and cataloging support for collections managers for the creation of online image collections.
  • The Image Collections Online site, which serves as a showcase for various image collections curated by the libraries, departments, and cultural institutions of Indiana University. The site can be viewed here:


The Image Collections Online site provides a central portal for accessing, browsing, and searching image collections from across the Indiana University community. The Image Collections Online Service provides a cataloging interface (called Photocat) for describing a collection and the individual images that make up that collection. Staff from the Digital Library Program 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, Digital Library Program 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 a service provided by the Digital Library Program of the Indiana University Libraries in collaboration with University Information Technology Services. The DLP serves the IU Libraries as well as the , which serves departments and cultural institutions (museums, galleries, etc.) of Indiana University. Any of these units may create collections 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 DLP's digitization lab, Digital Media Imaging Center (DMIC), IU Libraries' Digitization Lab, or in the department or unit responsible for the collection. In either case, DLP 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 DLP 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 Dot Porter Michelle Dalmau ( to get started.