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Journal: Library Journal
Issue Date: June 1, 2001
Column: Database & Disc Reviews
Editor of Column: Cheryl LaGuardia

Electronically speaking…with this column's products you can feast your eyes on an invaluable new web-based photo archive, delve into the details of slave ship voyages, and learn the nuances of conducting business in English for nonnative speakers. Find a rich new resource for budding scientists and a reference tool for sports enthusiasts, as well.

The AccuNet/AP Multimedia Archive
AccuWeather, Inc. (888-438-9847;

Date reviewed: 4/25/00

Price: Negotiated by site.

Here's the first resource you'll turn to when a student looking for an early 1960s photo of Fidel Castro shows up at the reference desk. The AccuNet/AP Multimedia Archive is a database of approximately 500,000 current and archived photos from the library of the Associated Press.

The Archive is updated daily, with an average 800 contemporary photos added each day. The best 200 or so from each day's additions are retained permanently in the database, while the rest are removed after 12 months. To give you an idea of just how current this archive is, on the morning of April 25, 2000, the database already contained photos from the previous afternoon's shooting at the Washington National Zoo. In addition to its remarkable currency, the AccuNet/AP Multimedia Archive's historical collection also continues to grow. It features notable historical figures as well as images from significant events of the 20th century and, occasionally, the 19th (there's an 1844 photograph of Abraham Lincoln here). Each photo is accompanied by a caption identifying details of the photo and providing historical context.

The search interface has three free text search boxes labeled "What," "When," and "Where." Searching will be relatively intuitive for even first-timers, but there is also online Help available, as well as excellent search examples that will save every user time, especially when searching dates or a range of dates. There's a left-hand navigational bar for easy access to starting new searches, checking help, and limiting and sorting results. A real plus here is the "download image" feature. A couple of clicks of the mouse and each image can be saved on your hard drive or to a disk. Users can save the photo alone, or retain the caption as well. Standard Windows shortcuts also work for saving images: a single right-click on a spectacular photo of the Eiffel Tower taken at midnight on December 31, 1999, quickly saved the image as wallpaper to my PC. Vive le systŹme!

The Bottom Line: AP Photo is a wonderfully rich, easy-to-use resource for finding sought-after images quickly; the deep archive of historical material is especially notable. For users of all ages seeking multimedia for reports, research, and presentations, this invaluable file is enthusiastically recommended for all libraries.

  AccuNet is a trademark of AccuWeather, Inc. AP is a registered trademark of The Associated Press.
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