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There are three ways in which you can view the images in this collection. You may browse individual albums, you may browse the catalogs of images, or you may search the collection by keyword.

The Photos

The Photo Collection is composed of thousands of photographs, each having a unique eight-character alpha-numeric identifier. The photographs are initially arranged in a hierarchical grouping of three images: 1) an 80-pixel wide thumbnail that has a vertical dimension proportional to that of the original image; 2) a 700-pixel wide image that has been incorporated into an html album page that also contains caption information; and 3) the original higher-resolution digital image that has been acquired by a digital camera or has been scanned from either a slide or a print. Resolution of scanned images is usually of the order of 1800 X 1200 pixels, while digitally-acquired imagery can run from 640 X 480 for older photographs to over 3600 X 2400 pixels for more recent imagery.

Getting Started

To begin, select a collection from the list presented on the pulldown menu labeled “Collections.” Once you have selected a collection, you will be provided with a short introduction followed by a table of contents labeled Collection Viewing Options. From these options, you may choose Catalog to browse the thematic collection’s entire contents, presented in increments of 49 thumbnail images at a time, or you may choose Albums.

The Albums

If you choose to view Albums, you will proceed to the first level (table of contents) of a group of thematic sub-albums. This table of contents is composed of a sample image with an associated sub-album topic written below. You will find that there are various levels of nesting such as in the case of the Historical Weather Service Collection of images dealing with the album “Meteorological Monsters” that includes numerous sub-albums including topics such as tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, etc. On this page, “Hurricanes” is such a broad topic that there are a number of individual sub-albums containing images of hurricane phenomena and photographs of damage from major hurricanes such as Camille and Andrew. If for example, one clicks on Andrew, page 1 of a series of html pages will appear ( Each page of an album has up to 20 thumbnail images. Above the thumbnails on the right is the series of page numbers for a given sub-album. By clicking on these numbers or the forward button, one can navigate through the sub-album viewing thumbnails. All pages in a sub-album past page 1 also have back buttons. To see a 700-pixel wide image with caption information, click a selected thumbnail. This 700-pixel wide image will fill most of a screen set to 800 X 600 pixel resolution. After viewing the 700-pixel wide image one can either click on the high-resolution image or return to the most recent thumbnail page. Above the thumbnails on the left is a navigation bar that allows returning to any level in a given album. If one wishes to view another major thematic collection, proceed to the pulldown tab at the top of the page and select another collection.

Note! If your screen is set at 640x480, you will have to change the setting to 800x600 to view the full image without having to scroll from left to right. Also set your color at as high of setting as possible with 800x600 resolution.

If desiring to view or download the highest resolution image available, click on the message "High Resolution Photo Available - Click Here" that is located at the bottom of the caption information provided with the 700-pixel wide image.

Browse by Image Catalog

To review a thematic collection rapidly, you may wish to use the image Catalogs. The image Catalogs are organized such that individual images associated with a given thematic element are displayed in alphabetized order of image ID alphanumeric characters. Not all thematic collections have organized albums. However, each collection has a catalog. Each catalog has a set of pages that contain up to 50 thumbnails along with much caption information. 700-pixel wide versions of the images are viewed by clicking on the thumbnails, the same procedure as followed in viewing individual images associated with albums. If wishing to view the image ID number of a thumbnail, place the cursor over the thumbnail and view the URL and image ID number in the lower left corner of your Internet Browser. At the bottom of each Catalog page are links to additional pages containing up to 50 individual photographs. To view all images from a given collection, click on each consecutive page number.

Search the Image Collection

USAsearch, a search engine developed by the United States Government for searching the whole Federal web presence or for searching individual Federal websites, is being utilized to search the NOAA Photo Library website. This search engine is specifically designed for key word searching.

After activating a search, a display of thumbnails having metadata matching the key word search term(s) will be shown. Only thumbnails associated with the 700-pixel-wide images that exactly match the desired keyword(s) will be returned.

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Last Updated:
September 30, 2009