Got photos? Yes, just ask SALLIE

A new free image repository gives the Stanford community a place to store and manage pictures and a huge database for finding images to use in university publications.

Screenshot from SALLIE

SALLIE (Stanford ALL-Image Exchange) gives anyone with a SUNet ID immediate access not only to the News Service catalog but to images from a growing list of other departments and units.

Have you ever needed a photograph of Stanford's iconic arches and columns?  A historic photo of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memorial Auditorium? Sally Ride before she became an astronaut, or Bill Gates at the dedication of the building named for him? 

Stanford News Service has long been a resource for such content. Stanford users could view thousands of images from the News Service archives and then request permission to use them.

Now, a new, free service called SALLIE (Stanford ALL-Image Exchange) gives anyone with a SUNet ID immediate access not only to the News Service catalog but to images from a growing list of other departments and units. Many images, including almost 9,000 News Service photographs, may be downloaded directly and used for any purpose related to university business.

"The image-sharing database was created with efficiency in mind, with the hope that by sharing images with the rest of the campus, all units will save time and money instead of trying to replicate work already done elsewhere," said Lisa Lapin, assistant vice president for communications. "Once a number of units have contributed photos to the system, searching and retrieving photos will also save countless hours of staff time."

Several units had already been discussing the idea of a centralized image management system when, in 2009, Provost John Etchemendy launched a web-based Efficiency Forum which sought suggestions for places and programs where greater efficiency would not only save money but would also improve service. "Create a university-wide photo library" was one of the Forum's top vote-getters. Etchemendy asked University Communications to find  a solution, and Administrative Systems stepped up to provide financial and technical resources.

SALLIE uses Cumulus software by Canto, which several departments had been paying for separately. Those units can now use Cumulus for free.

The name SALLIE was inspired by Sallie Gardner, one of Leland Stanford's horses who famously appeared in Eadweard Muybridge's photographic experiment demonstrating that a horse at full gallop does indeed have a moment of full suspension with all four hooves off the ground.

Chris Field, art director for the Office of Development's communications and stewardship group, has been a frequent user of the News Service photo collection for several years.

"It is freeing to now download high-resolution images myself whenever I need them," Field said. "Each image has its own pull-down menu, which is an easy way to get details about a photo in advance." The menus include file sizes available, credit information and usage limitations.  "I can place multiple photos in my 'basket' and then download them all at the end of my search rather than requesting each photo separately, which saves me time. Another great feature is the 'lightbox' in which I can collect low-resolution versions of multiple images and then send them to my 'clients' to review for particular projects. Overall, SALLIE has streamlined my design process."

No more thumb drives

SALLIE will grow as additional departments contribute their images. Several departments are using it to organize their images internally, with plans to share a select set of images.

The office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE) creates many image-rich publications, both in print and online, and it has a vast collection of shots of undergraduates over many decades. Tegan Bradford, VPUE project manager, said she knew SALLIE made sense for her office as soon as she heard about it.

"Our hope was to archive images of the multitude of undergraduates who have come through our programs," Bradford said. "When I first brought the idea to our senior staff in VPUE, I guessed we might be able to dig up around 10,000 photos and videos if we asked all of our staff to search through files, discs, thumb drives and, in some cases, even old slide carousels. By November, we had managed to catalog almost 63,000 assets! So now, decades worth of VPUE photographs are archived, searchable and preserved for posterity. As a next step we will work with our program staff to curate photosets to share with the campus community and the general public."  

Other units currently managing their images in SALLIE include the Graduate School of Business, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Law School.

Jennifer McCann, archives research assistant at SLAC, said staff members there have been working together for some time to find a suitable way to manage and preserve its historical photographs as well as its growing collection of digital photos. They also wanted to find a new way to make their images available to the broader university community. SALLIE is already saving them money and time.

"We were on the verge of purchasing a database system to merge and manage these two collections when our multimedia communications manager, Brad Plummer, learned that SLAC could participate in SALLIE at no up-front cost to the lab.  Joining up with other Stanford departments saves us several thousand dollars and the headache of implementing an entirely new and different system with which no one is familiar.  Aside from saving money, staff time, and server space, we really like how easy SALLIE makes it to find, share and manage our images, and to easily access images from other groups at Stanford. We're really looking forward to sharing more of the unique photos from SLAC's collections with the rest of the university.

Rebecca Smith Vogel, assistant vice president in the Office of Development, added, "SALLIE is going to be a wonderful resource that will offer a much more efficient and robust solution than what we have been using for storing and accessing our digital assets.  Since SALLIE will also provide us with access to other Stanford departments' assets, we will be able to repurpose images we may not have otherwise known existed, saving time and money."

To view images in SALLIE visit and log in with your SUNet ID.

To find out how to use SALLIE for your department's images, visit .