Portrait Gallery a service of the Perry-Castañeda Library, University of Texas at Austin, is a collection of pictures of historical figures scanned from books in the public domain. It’s been around for over a decade, and it continues to be a good place to go when you need a picture of Florence Nightingale or Charles Dickens or Joan of Arc, whether you are helping a library user find an image for a project, or looking for something to add to a page on your website.
These are images scanned from books in the public domain, so the images here are all pretty old, and the quality varies depending on the original book source. You won’t find a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. or Albert Einstein here, and the picture of Winston Churchill shows him as a young man — it’s World War I Churchill, not World War II Churchill. But for pre-20th century artists, authors, composers, explorers, scientists and statesman, it definitely a useful source.
And because these images are all public domain, you can do whatever you want with them — print them out and use them on posters or for craft projects, resize or crop them, colorize them, add text them, or combine them into an artful collage.
They are also fun to play around with using various online editing sites. Go to Big Huge Labs to make a Pop Art Poster or a set of trading cards or a magazine cover. Or go to Picnik where you can add all sorts of special effects, as I did to Marie Antoinette.
The design of this site is simple, elegant and easy to use. The collection is small but useful, and it’s definitely a site worth bookmarking and sharing.
Give your online photographs a high-class look with an elegant mat and frame. This is a nice way to display photographs you’re using for a special online exhibit or display, and is especially nice for library photography contests.
There are several cool tools that make it simple to add these mats and frames. One of the easiest is Matte, on of several quick and handy tools at the Big Huge Labs website. You can upload a picture from your PC, Flickr or another website, adjust the width of the frame and mat, turn on the options for beveling and add a credit if you like, click Create, and then either download your framed masterpiece, or upload it directly to Flickr. If you’re looking for something a little different, there are other tools at the Big Huge Labs website that can do other kinds of frames and poster effects. Continue reading
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post called Picnik: Easy Photo Editing Online about the online photoediting site Picnik. But I have to write about it again because I keep discovering new features every time I use it.
The big news of the past week was adding Facebook support — which brought over 100,000 new Picnik accounts in just a matter of a few days. This should be great for all those libraries who use Facebook to communicate with students and others.
There’s nothing that enhances your library website more than photographs, and whether you’re taking them yourself with a digital camera, hiring a professional or using volunteers, or finding great shots on Flickr, you should have plenty to choose from.
But to make photographs look their best on your pages, a little editing can make a big difference. You really need a simple, quick way to do just a few basic things : resize a picture, crop a picture, and make simple adjustments to color and light. There are many commercial and free image editing programs out there, from powerful Photoshop on the high end to the free and easy Picasa.