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  Photo # NH 48028: Captain Stephen B. Luce with other officers in the Captain's cabin of USS Hartford, 1 March 1877

Online Library of Selected Images --

Scope and Limitations of the Online Library

From time to time, questions arise about the nature, scope and limitations of the Online Library. This page addresses some of these questions.

What the Online Library IS:

It's a Picture Catalog -- The Online Library is a catalog of some of the photographs and other images held by the Naval Historical Center's Photographic Section. This catalog can be conveniently used by anyone with Internet access. The individual images referenced by the Online Library are presented with captioning information, appropriate credit lines and digital reproductions. Subject presentions generally include brief introductory text, providing limited background information relevant to subjects and pictures.

It's a Source of Images that are BELIEVED to be in the Public Domain -- To the best of our knowledge, all images referenced in the Online Library are in the Public Domain. They can be used by anyone, for any purpose, without obtaining our permission (which WILL NOT be given, if requested), and without payment of usage fees to the Naval Historical Center.

It's a "Work in Process" -- Since its beginnings in early 1998, the Online Library has grown to include over 22,000 individual images, with about 200 new pictures added monthly. It includes presentations on a variety of subjects, among them more than a thousand U.S. Navy SHIPS, hundreds of other SHIPS and PEOPLE, a growing number of EVENTS and a variety of other topics. New subjects are being added regularly and coverage of existing subjects is frequently expanded.

What the Online Library IS NOT:

It's NOT a Comprehensive Catalog of the Naval Historical Center's Pictures -- The Online Library contains only a small fraction of the total image holdings of the Naval Historical Center's Photographic Section. At present, it contains less than ten percent of the Photo Section's individually indexed images. With only another percent or two being added each year, the Online Library is not and probably never will be a fully comprehensive catalog of the Photographic Section's picture collections.
Other components of the Naval Historical Center have separate pictorial holdings, most notably the the Navy Art Collection, whose Navy Art Gallery represents a dynamic Internet presentation of paintings and other art works, and the Naval Aviation History Branch.

It's Certainly NOT a Comprehensive Catalog of Official Navy Photography -- The Naval Historical Center's photo collection is not and never has been the Navy's OFFICIAL photographic collection. For photos taken since about 1982, the Official collection is held by the Defense Visual Information Center. Earlier Official Navy images are in the collections of the National Archives' Still Picture Branch.

It's NOT a Source of Authoritative Historical Information -- The brief text that introduces most Online Library subject presentations is intended only to provide some background information that will enhance the utility of the pictures provided on that subject. This text is generally based on limited research in secondary sources, is deliberately concise and often lacks precise detail. People needing authoritative and detailed information should consult standard reference works on the subjects involved.

It's NOT a Direct Source of high-resolution reproduction quality digital images -- Online Library images are generally posted at slightly better than computer screen quality (96 dpi, with most images measuring about 740 pixels in the long dimension). They were scanned by historical professionals, who do not necessarily possess high digital image processing skills.
The Online Library's images are intended to provide a good representation of image content and a REASONABLE approximation of actual image quality.
In nearly all cases, these images should be satisfactory for computer-based and 35mm slide presentations, and for newspaper publication up to two or three columns in width.
Online Library images are not expected to be suitable for higher standards of publication, exhibition, or close study of details. For such purposes higher resolution reproductions are available for all Online Library images. See our page How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions for further information on this.

If you want higher resolution reproductions than the Online Library's digital images, see: How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions.

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Text and links revised 30 November 2006