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This policy governs the activities of the Fine Arts Library Image Collection, a unit of the Anne and Jerome Fisher Fine Arts Library. This policy only applies to the acquisition of fine arts images.

Accordion List

The Image Collection provides visual resources of fine arts material to students and faculty throughout the University of Pennsylvania in support of their teaching and research needs. The primary users of the collection include the Department of the History of Art; the Weitzman School of Design, comprised of Architecture, City and Regional Planning, Fine Arts, Historic Preservation, Landscape Architecture, Urban Spatial Analytics; Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and the College of General Studies. 

For an in-depth description of these programs please consult the Program Information section of the collection development policy for Architecture and City Planning.

The Image Collection, previously the Slide Library, was historically located in the basement of the Fisher Fine Arts Library and is now largely stored off-site at LIBRA. The collection houses over 500,000 35mm slides filed according to the Fogg Classification Scheme. Approximately 350,000 slides are cataloged and searchable in Artstor (requires PennKey login).

Mounted photographs, lantern slides, and 35mm slides are retrievable from LIBRA by requests submitted to

The Image Collection acquires material in the following ways: 

  • Donation - Donated collections are accepted when the material is relevant and beneficial to the collection, and when the donor agrees to the terms specified in our deed of gift. See the Penn Libraries' policies pertaining to donated materials.

  • Image Databases - The Penn Libraries subscribes to web-based image databases and purchases image files in other media to serve the University by supplementing local collections. Such databases and files include: ARTstorAP Photo Archive, and Creswell Photographic Archive on CD-Rom.

  • Purchase/License - Slides and digital images were historically purchased or licensed from suppliers such as Saskia, ACSAA, University of Michigan, Walter Denny, as well as other sources and museums as needed. Acquisitions of this kind are very limited today and proposals for purchasing/licensing should be submitted to where they will be assessed by Fisher staff. 

  • In-house creation – Historically, 35mm slides were generated in-house via copystand photography. New slides are not produced in this fashion, but instead source materials are digitized at the Penn Libraries and 35mm slides are digitized in-house using slide scanners. 

Subscriptions to image databases and funding for new acquisitions come from the general Fine Arts budget.

Selection Responsibility

Selection responsibility lies with the Materials & Images Librarian. Faculty and students may request slides for retrieval from LIBRA or request digital images be made for lecture, display, or review through the Materials & Images Librarian.

Selection Criteria

The table below represents the level of slide collecting circa 2000, at which point digital formats became common and interest in slide acquisitions dropped. Collecting covers subjects ranging from prehistoric art and architecture through art and architecture of the present day. Fine arts images were collected to support the University's teaching and research needs. 

Subject Level
Maps 2
Landscape Architecture 3
City Planning 3
Architecture 3
Sculpture 3
Painting 3
Drawing 3
Minor/Other Arts 3
Furniture 3
Manuscripts 3
Photography 3
Prints 3
Contemporary Arts 3
Texts 2
Arts of the United States 2
Ethnography 2

When slides are lost or damaged, faculty and students may request a replacement or digital facsimile.

The Materials & Images Librarian may choose to deaccession slides. Such instances include: 

  • Damaged slides 

  • Deteriorated slides 

  • Slides depicting material outside the realm of fine arts as defined by the Fisher Fine Arts Library 

  • Slides made from books or other print materials where the original can be scanned to produce a higher quality image 

Technical Applications

  • Slides: Slides were photographed on Kodak Ektachrome 64T film using a Nikon F3 camera with a 1-2.8 Nikon lens. 

  • Digital Images: Transparent slides have been scanned using a Nikon Cool Scan IV slide scanner, Plustek OpticFilm 7600i scanner, and Epson Perfection V-750 Pro scanner at 2400dpi. Non-transparent printed materials have been scanned on Epson GT-15000 and Plustek OpticFilm 7600i scanners at 600dpi. The resulting scans are saved as Tiff files and kept for archival purposes. 

  • Catalog: Artstor serves as the catalog, discovery interface, and image viewer for the Fine Arts Image Collection.