Over the past several years, our Library &Archives (L&A) staff and volunteers have digitized close to 250,000 images and placed them on Flickr.com. We believe ours is now the largest aviation related image collection on the web, and it has become very well known among aviation enthusiasts, worldwide.
Our digitized collection is so popular, according to the Flickr.com statistics page, that our images have now surpassed 160 million views. Tens of thousands of comments and tags have been added by the public, excited to share their knowledge about our one-of-a-kind photo archive. However, we have over two million images yet to be digitized, so this ambitious project still has a long way to go.
Images can be viewed via the Museum’s Flickr site:
In addition to the 250,000 images, we have also digitized over 4,000 rare films and videos, which are available for viewing at:
Last year we also uploaded descriptions of more than 500 rare and unique special collections, photo albums and scrapbooks into AeroCat. The materials found in these volumes document individuals, aircraft, locations, and events important to the history of aviation. Significant sections from more most of these items have been digitized and can be viewed in Flickr.com via a link in AeroCat. As we move into the next year, we will continue our efforts to preserve the collection and increase public accessibility.
Aerocat is available at: http://s92006.eos-intl.net/S92006/OPAC/Index.aspx
We also digitized and added online access to many of our rare books, including important publications from Consolidated/Convair Aircraft and Ryan Aeronautical, San Diego’s two most important aerospace companies. These books are searchable and can be found at:
It is important to note that in today's information environment, the use of new technology enables rare and unique materials to transcend their physical boundaries. Photographs, films, and rare books are fragile; and the deterioration process is accelerated through handling, exposure to light, and climate fluctuations. Through digitization, this process can be mitigated so that archival material is not lost. Digitization is expensive and time-consuming, but it provides easy and comprehensive access for researchers, while preventing damage from handling.
To learn more about how you can help in this digitization preservation effort or to order high resolution copies of our digitized material, contact the L&A staff.