The San Diego Air & Space Museum (SDASM) has launched what could possibly be the largest online collection of aviation images in the world.
By using Flickr.com, the entire SDASM Library & Archives digitized photo collection will eventually be viewable via the Internet anywhere in the world. To date, 64,000 images have been uploaded, and more than 100,000 digitized images should be online before the end of the year, museum officials said. The aviation-related subjects include foreign and domestic military and civilian aircraft, the Flying Tigers, aviation-related biographic photos, the Ryan Aeronautical Archive, and the Pacific Southwest Airlines archive. The project, with assistance from the Balboa Park Online Collaborative, has been made possible by a grant from the Legler Benbough Foundation.
The images can be tagged or commented upon by the viewing public to add information to the data on each image. All of the images on the site are available for purchase in high resolution for publication or personal use.
The SDASM Library & Archives houses one of the world’s largest collections of aerospace still and moving images, including images of approximately 95% of aircraft ever conceived. In total, the collection contains nearly 2 million photos, negatives, slides and transparencies, plus thousands of films and videos. In addition to the images on Flickr.com, indexes to the museum’s collections of films, videos, and other audio-visual materials are currently being added to AeroCat, the Library & Archives online catalog.
The SDASM is one of several cultural institutions within Balboa Park currently working with Balboa Park Online Collaborative’s rapid capture stations to digitize archival images and publish their collection data online. The Museum of Photographic Arts, the San Diego Hall of Champions and the San Diego History Center (formerly the San Diego Historical Society) all plan to launch similar online collections in the coming months.
Balboa Park Online Collaborative was created to change the way museums, cultural arts and science institutions in Balboa Park approach the use of online technology. It is intended to make online technology an integral part of the way the institutions fulfill their missions, interact with patrons, and collaborate, to improve their technology capabilities while reducing costs by bringing organizations with similar needs together on mutually beneficial projects. For more information: BPOC.org
The San Diego Air & Space Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and it was the first aero-themed museum to be accredited by the American Association of Museums. For more information: SanDiegoAirAndSpace.org