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UNESCO Photobank Online

UNESCO Photobank Online

PHOTOBANK is a selection of UNESCO's collection of photographs and slides made available online. The collection --covering a wide range of subjects related to the Organization's fields of competence: education, science, culture and communication-- was started in 1946 when UNESCO was founded and currently contains over 10,000 digitalized images. More will become available as the rest of the collection is digitalized and further developed. Searchable.


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C. (Faculty)
20 years ago
Quality of Content
The search capabilities on this site are pretty good and fairly thorough. You
can search by region, country, place, theme, subject, keyword, year, and
photographer. A brief review of the pictures revealed lots of excellent images.
But searches on certain combinations (Africa, 1996) revealed too few pictures to
make this database a reliable source of images from different spaces, cultures,
and times. Like most sites that promise a world of content in its search
options, it offers only what it currently has. (If the U.S. were to rejoin
UNESCO, I wonder if the added funding would help with photo acquisitions.)

Potential Effectiveness
I could see this photobank being useful for illustrating various lecture and
discussion topics (e.g., cultural change, modernization, globalization). If, for
instance, I needed images of the Altamira caves, I could do a specific search
for them. I suppose I could do this on Google images, too, but I?m more likely
to get better quality images here.

Ease of Use
The site offers a French language option for Francophones; it also an English
version for us Francophobes. I?m not sure what constitutes fair use with this
site. I was also surprised UNESCO would charge--quite steeply in some cases--for
use of these photos. Despite the lack of content in some areas, the search
functions worked well. I never got lost in the search results.