The Tibet Album has been designed with a wide range of users in mind and should produce fascinating results for those with very specific research requirements as well as for those with more general interests in Tibet, in British history in the colonial era and in photography. At various stages in its development the site was trialled by visitors to the Pitt Rivers Museum (virtual and actual) and by members of focus groups. Specialist advice on both the scholarly, linguistic and technical aspects of the project was sought from experts within and beyond the University of Oxford and we have collaborated with a number of institutions and individuals on an international level such as Facts and Files (Berlin), the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology (Sikkim) and members of the International Association of Tibetan Studies. (See Acknowledgements)
Our aim was to produce an interactive, fully searchable and multi-layered website. Each of the scanned images was catalogued and presented with detailed information such as dates, locations, identity of subjects, description of image content, publication histories and so on. This has been achieved through intensive visual examination of the original negatives and prints, coupled with textual documentation from official reports, publications and the private diaries, journals and other material written by the photographers themselves. This means that you can browse The Tibet Album for photographs of a particular activity (such as playing music or eating food) by entering a relevant term in the "SEARCH" box. Our custom-built navigational aids and site functions have also made it possible to follow many different pathways through the thousands of images on the site. Large sub-sets of photographs can be assembled in all kinds of ways - for example by thinking about maps, routes and places (see Maps and Places), or by searching for people (See People), by named photographer (See Photographers) or by the collection in which sets of photographs are gathered together by an individual and within a museum (See Collections).
We hope that users will not only access the resource but also add to it or produce their own albums (See My Tibet Album). In this way The Tibet Album website can act as a source of pictures and as a dialogue between photographs and viewers.