Cities/Buildings Database

Repository of historical city and building photographs and design data, housed at the University of Washington.

Just select “Enter the Database” and you will be challenged by how you can come up with ways to find actual photos of cities and buildings, unless you know exactly what you’re searching for. There are also historical advertisements and other ethnographic pieces interspersed with buildings, cities and prints. Searching by date range turns up a broader selection than searching keywords in collections.

The searchable nature of this database is a result of their thorough metadata. Each photo is dated, labeled and classified into categories so when you come across a real find you have a better chance of being able to use it to measure change when compared to a modern photo. My obvious gripe is that there is no “location” category so that coordinates could be recorded for the photos when available – the closest descriptor is “region.”

Conceptually a very cool database though, with some funding from Digital Libraries Initiative Program. Hope they’re able to expand it.

 

Margaret Spyker

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