Vast Smithsonian archive of photographs goes online





Spread across the Smithsonian's 18 museums, nine research centers and the National Zoo are 13 million photographs. In the hallways and laboratories are about 700 collections of photos. Harnessing them into a form that gives researchers and the public some access has long been a goal for Smithsonian caretakers.

But like a lot of things at the Smithsonian, you had to know where to go to find what you were looking for. Some photos were locked away in the researchers' storehouses.

Tomorrow, the Smithsonian Photography Initiative is launching an electronic means of looking at a small part of this vast collection. A Web site, http://www.spi.si.edu/ , will provide access to 1,800 digital images, the work of 100 photographers, who used 50 different processes.


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