Posts Tagged ‘ Visual Resources ’


One problem with being in library school is that people assume that I know how to find things. The other day my friend Adam set me to work finding a particular image of a dog that he had seen at some point, somewhere on the internet. Things he was able to tell me about said image included the fact that the dog was sitting on a couch, may have been a terrier of some kind, and looked “self-satisfied.” I, on the other hand, did not. The search was not a success. The other problem with being in library school is that you feel like a failure when you don’t know how to find things.

I’ve only completed a semester and change of my MLS program, so I shouldn’t be too hard on myself, though I imagine there will be times much later on in my career when I will have to admit defeat. It will probably suck then too.

My inability to find a doggy picture to satisfy Adam was probably not due to a lack of knowledge on my part. I would know where to look for images of, say, Rembrandt drawings, but the resources in place for finding pictures of self-satisfied terriers are limited. Google image search is actually pretty great, but it still relies on standards-less, user-created metadata—if you can even really call it that.

The thing is, it’s a little difficult to imagine how it could be improved. Even if there was some kind of reliable image indexing or cataloging in place, one man’s “self-satisfied” is another man’s “serene.” Tagging is a possibility and works relatively well within smaller image collections, like the Brooklyn Museum’s, but I can’t see how it would work on such a large scale. The semantic web would certainly make this kind of searching much more feasible. Imagine being able to search for an image by subject, and then by attribute of that subject. Imagine a computer that knows what you mean by “some kind of terrier.” Definitely interesting to think about, but we’re not there yet.

Anyway, I did find this guy, and I think he is rad. I prefer my pooches forlorn-looking, I guess.


Addendum: Boyfriend contributes: “Flickr.” That too.