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The Wellcome Trust - Wellcome Images
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The Wellcome Trust - Wellcome Images

The 150,000 images in the Wellcome Trust Medical Photographic Library (MPL) cover the history of medicine and of human culture, from ancient times to the present day. It's a comprehensive resource, from depictions of ancient healing techniques, through beautiful anatomical engravings, to contemporary biomedical images and clinical photographs.

Holdings also include photographs of Tibetan Buddhist paintings, ancient Sanskrit manuscripts written on palm leaves, beautifully illuminated Persian books, and much more.

The images come from the Wellcome Trust History of Medicine Library, while the contemporary clinical and biomedical material comes from teaching hospitals and research laboratories throughout the UK and beyond.

MPL Image Library System

The Wellcome Library's core project aim was broadening access to the collection of images. Our solution provides a complete, integrated system based on Index+ for cataloguing and digitising the entire collection and providing picture library management and image delivery including e-Commerce.

A powerful service is provided to MPL's users via remote searching and browsing, image retrieval and delivery via the Internet. Cross searching capabilities are provided through the use of common standards (typically Z39.50) to interrogate multiple data sources.

Completed in early 2001, the system integrates with the main Trust network and the Library and Information Services system to provide an unrivalled online service for its user community worldwide. The system will scale and service the needs of MPL well into the future.

Key components - Index+ MPL online system

  • Digitising studio - supporting the digitising programme and migrating high and low-resolution images to the image arena of the Image catalogue database.
  • Image catalogue - providing facilities for data entry and editing of all catalogue records, with unique image IDs, metadata standards, field and record structures, terminology and authorities, configured to international standards and MPL requirements.
  • System Administration/Security - supporting different levels of user access for system administrators, internal user groups and individuals, external users including registered and authorised account holders.
  • e-Commerce - web access to and delivery of images, allowing fast searching and browsing of the catalogue with transaction management and image delivery over the internet.
  • Integration with other in-house systems - works transparently with the main Wellcome Trust network and its Library and Information Services system.