Online trove of university photographs keeps growing

There are now more than 600,000 photographs – and counting – stored in the Stanford ALL-Image Exchange, best known as SALLIE, the university's online image library. Campus units are saving time and money by using the database.


Jose Mercado / Stanford News Service

This photo of a snowman in White Plaza is among thousands in the Stanford ALL-Image Exchange.

Nothing says "winter" like a snowman, so when Stanford University Libraries needed an image to illustrate an announcement about its winter break schedule, Kelly Fields used a black-and-white photo of a snowman in White Plaza.

It's one of the many images that Stanford University Libraries has unearthed in the Stanford ALL-Image Exchange, best known as SALLIE, the university's online photo library. Fields, who oversees the features section on the libraries' home page and articles on its news page, said SALLIE has made it easier to add images to web pages.

"It has reduced the need for creating last-minute graphics, and the process of accessing and downloading the graphics is easy," she said.

Stanford University Libraries is one of two-dozen campus units that are using SALLIE to manage their communications-related digital assets – primarily photographs – since the university established the database in early 2012. SALLIE also has become a repository for logos, illustrations – such as architectural renderings and maps – and videos.

An online album with hundreds of thousands of photos

So far, 25 campus units have uploaded more than 600,000 images to SALLIE, said Michelle Futornick, digital asset management librarian in University Communications, which runs the database with Administrative Systems.

Nine of those units, including University Archives, Stanford News Service and the Graduate School of Business, have uploaded images to share with other units. Others, including Undergraduate Admission, The Stanford Alumni Association and the Law School, are using SALLIE to store and manage photos internally.

Nearly 90,000 images are available – to anyone with a SUNet ID – to download and use immediately for Stanford communications, including social media, websites, presentations and publications. Nearly 175,000 images are available for viewing by anyone with a SUNet ID.

Two of Stanford's seven schools – business and law – have contributed images to the database and two more schools are preparing to do so. The School of Engineering is selecting images from its vast collection of 50,000 photos to upload to SALLIE. The School of Medicine plans to move 2,300 photos to SALLIE, including images of buildings, campus life and faculty members and their work.

SALLIE was funded by the university's systems governance group, which prioritizes and supports major university systems projects.

"This is a great example of leveraging a central university system to replace multiple department systems, improve productivity and save money," said Randy Livingston, Stanford's vice president for business affairs.

Turning to SALLIE for many publications

Christine Field, art director at the Office of Development, said the department has turned to SALLIE to find images for its publications, including The Stanford Fund's Annual Report on Undergraduate Education, The Stanford Benefactor and Remember Stanford.

Angela Drury, director of communications for the School of Humanities and Sciences, said she uses SALLIE to find photographs for multipage fundraising brochures. In recent months, she has downloaded images of Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve and photos from the annual Stanford Powwow for brochures.

"I shoot much of the photography we use in the brochures, but there are many times when that is not feasible or efficient," she said. "SALLIE helps us save time by allowing access to a variety of images that could not be easily shot."

Immediately saved SLAC thousands

Brad Plummer, multimedia communications manager at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, said SALLIE has become the "hub" for integrating and archiving content created among several groups, including Multimedia Communications, Visual Media Services and SLAC Archives.

"I also use it as a platform for delivering sets of images to people making requests," he said.

So far, SLAC has uploaded some 65,000 images spanning more than 50 years of the lab's history to SALLIE, Plummer said.

Plummer said the arrival of SALLIE "immediately saved my group tens of thousands of dollars," because the group was about to buy a similar system for archiving and sharing photos from a third-party service provider.

Photos are big part of GSB story

 The marketing and communications team at the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) manages the SALLIE database for all departments within the school.

"Photos are a big part of how we tell the story of the Stanford Graduate School of Business experience, and SALLIE allows multiple operating units within the GSB to collectively manage and access our collection of more than 13,000 quality photographs," said Bruce Taylor, director of global brand marketing.

Among the images the GSB stores in SALLIE are commissioned photo shoots, major student and alumni events, candid shots in the classroom and on campus, student study trips, faculty headshots and major conferences and speaking events.

SALLIE the "go to" place for Human Resources

Valerie Beeman, director of communications for University Human Resources (UHR), said the department has used SALLIE for several large projects, including the new Stanford Careers website, a new UHR website that will debut in January, a recruitment brochure and a 2013 calendar.

"For all these projects and others, we needed photos of Stanford people and places, and SALLIE was our 'go to' resource," she said.

Before images were available on SALLIE, UHR bought stock photos from iStock Photo or Getty Images, which made projects more costly, Beeman said.

"We also had feedback from employees that they didn't like seeing photos of people who were obviously not Stanford employees and wanted photos of 'real' Stanford people, which SALLIE allows," she said.

"For some of our projects, such as the recruitment brochure and the 2013 calendar, we took a lot of photos of Stanford employees ourselves and then used SALLIE to find complementary photos of additional employees and of iconic places on the main campus."

You can start using SALLIE right away to find and download images by logging onto the SALLIE website with your SUNet ID.

 University Communications will offer its next training session Wednesday, Feb. 6, from 10 a.m. to noon. This course is designed for those who are responsible for producing, storing, organizing or providing access to digital photographs.