Wednesday, 30 Jul, 2008 Science
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NASA Presents New Website With Historical Image and Video Gallery

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Last week NASA presented a new interactive website, which was created in collaboration with the non-profit organization Internet Archive. The website unites 21 collections of NASA images that were separately placed and managed into an integral online resource that comprises improved search, visual and metadata features.

The website in entitled NASAimages.org , and it includes over 140,000 digitized high-resolution NASA images, audio and video files. Manager of strategic alliance at NASA, Debbie Rivera, said that the launch of the website is just the end of the first step of a huge five-year collaborative project that aims towards making millions of unique NASA photographs available online for public and researchers.

Currently the website include images and video of the Apollo moon missions, Hubble Space Telescope's views of the solar system, as well as photographs and video describing the evolution of spacecraft.

The five-year agreement between NASA and Internet Archive, signed last year, also includes the incorporation of Web 2.0 tools into the new online resource. Currently engineers are working on Wikis and blogs for online users to share content. According to Riviera, engineers have already begun adding metatags for better search results. "There's a lot more to come," she said. "This is only the beginning."

Probably one of the most difficult tasks refers to on-site digitizing of still images, film negatives, audio material and films, all of them being stored on analog media devices throughout NASA field centers. Riviera outlined that the work should be done as fast as possible, due to the fact that film recordings of events that took place as far back as 1915 are disintegrating.

This is one of the largest aspects of this partnership," she said.

The non-profit organization was founded in 1996 with the goal of creating an Internet-based library. Internet Archive will monitor and host the new image gallery of NASA on 2,000 Linux servers located in San Francisco headquarters. The information was provided by John Hornstein, who holds the position of director of the project for the group. He said that currently Internet Archive features 2 petabytes of storage.

The team had to face a number of technical difficulties last week after servers crashed leading to intermittently slow response times. "We're just finding where the issues are and we don't see any of this as an ongoing problem," mentioned Hornstein.

In order to help develop and maintain the NASA project, Luna Imaging Inc. donated Internet Archive special software.

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