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How can I comment on an image on E-Pics Image Archive?

You will find the “Do you know more?“ section in the information window at the bottom of every image, which contains the fields “Feedback”, “Questions” and “Comments”.


Feedback section on E-Pics Image Archive (screenshot)

Click on the envelope in the “Feedback” field. Your e-mail programme will open automatically with an e-mail to us stating “Feedback on image [image code]” in the subject line. You can now write your comment in the text field of the mail, without salutation according to the following scheme: First name Name: write comment text. You will not receive an automatic confirmation e-mail from us. Normally, we will only contact you directly if something is unclear.

In the “Questions” field, the Image Archive team can address any concrete questions to the volunteers.

In the “Comments” field, the volunteers’ comments are published along with their names, provided they have given their explicit consent.

You can find more tips and tricks for writing comments under Wie Sie uns helfen können! (1) und Wie Sie uns helfen können! (2).

Leave out superfluous information

You can support our processes by writing your mails without salutation and greeting formula as follows:

First name Last name: Comment text

  • no welcome
  • comment as continuous text without any paragraph marks (Enter key)
  • no paragraph marks at end of comment (Enter key)
  • no “Kind regards”
  • no addresses/e-mail signature

Or work directly with Excel

Would you rather enter the comments in an Excel list? We have two Excel templates available for download.

  1. There is a simple list with one column for the image code and one column for the comment (first name name: comment text). Excel template image code/comment
  2. If you want to add a comment and suggestions for the title or description, you can use this template: Excel template image code/comment/title suggestion
  3. However, we will also be happy to send you a customized metadata sheet in Excel with the existing metadata such as image code, title, description and dating. If, for example, you want to go through all SIK_01 images from Basel.
    For individual advice or sending in Excel lists, please contact:

What happens to my comment?

We subject your information to a plausibility check. If you grant us permission, we will publish your comment on the image in question along with your name. It would be best if you could do this in your first e-mail. Your first name, surname and comment will then be displayed as you have sent them to us. No address or e-mail information will be published. Without explicit permission to name the volunteer, the comment will be published anonymously.

We will then transfer the relevant information from your comment to the corresponding fields on E-Pics Image Archive.

Normally, we will only contact you directly if something is unclear.

We process the e-mails very swiftly: provided you have granted us permission to publish it, you will see your comment in the Comments field in a few days. To do so, simply enter the image code you find in the subject line of the e-mail in the search field (e.g. Ans_01918). The images will also appear in the category “You knew more! Thank you!“ – a sub-category of “Do you know more?”.

How do I find images I have commented on?

Your first and last name is recorded in the comments field, which can be searched as full text. This means you can enter your name in the search window on the top left, e.g. in quotation marks: “Joe Blogs”. You will then receive all the images you have commented on.

You can also find the images in the category “You knew more! Thank you!” where, as in the category “Do you know more?” there is also a specific sub-term, e.g. buildings or aircraft.

Where can I find the images?

Every image on the platform E-Pics in the Image Archive catalogue can be commented on. Search via the category “Do you know more?” or conduct a location or subject search.

Newly published images are compiled in the category New images. At the moment there are three sub-categories: Views and postcards, Comet reportages und Aerial photos. These new images are remain in these categories for about one month.

What kind of images are found in the category “Do you know more?”

In the category “Do you know more?” on E-Pics Image Archive and this blog, you will find images on different topics such as buildings, mountains, botany, glaciers, Walter Mittelholzer, industrial structures and people. We regularly add new sub-categories and images. We highlight new sub-categories in this blog under the category “Do you know more?”

How can I find a location on E-Pics Image Archive?

Enter a location in the search field on  E-Pics Image Archive. Alternatively, you can also search for this location in the standardised subject catalogue. Open the “Place” here under “Subject headings”, where you have two Options:

  • Go to “Political geography”, which is organised into continents, countries, cantons/departments etc. All the Swiss municipalities are included.
  • Or click on “Natural-geographical place” for a glacier, lake or mountain. Please note: there isn’t a subject heading for every object in natural-geographical places; just those with many images. The natural geographical subject headings are arranged alphabetically.

How can I find a subject on E-Pics Image Archive?

Do you have a hobby or subject that you are interested in? Then conduct a keyword search. Enter terms (keywords) in the search field on ETH E-Pics Image Archive. The keyword search takes into consideration the fields “Title”, “Description”, “Imprint”, “Contained in” and “Photographs”. These fields contain the information only as it appears on the image.

Alternatively, you can search via our subject catalogue, which contains seven thematic groups with several sub-groups.

How can I communicate with other volunteers?

By popular request, we have set up a forum for discussion on this blog. Here you can discuss questions with each other. The only condition is that you create an account and log in (see instructions here). You will also find the forum on the start page in the top right-hand corner of the menu control.

What’s crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing is when institutions outsource sub-tasks to volunteers, who help accomplish these tasks in their free time because they are interested and have specific (technical) knowledge – in other words, the so-called “Wisdom of Crowds” or “collective intelligence”. Thanks to the internet, this kind of collaboration on a voluntary basis has become technically easier and is now also dubbed Crowdsourcing 2.0. This new form of knowledge-sharing is also finding its way into archives, libraries and Museums.

How can I help ETH Library?

As there are many images that contain only rudimentary title information, further details are very welcome. We’re on the lookout for supplementary information on or corrections to the titles, descriptions, photographs, dates etc. Any uncertain information is indicated with a [?] next to it on the database. It is not currently possible to georeference the images.

Why is my help so precious?

For many images, there is little, no or even erroneous information. This is because the data was no longer available for the original images. In these cases, researching the images requires a huge amount of effort if you are unfamiliar with the place or subject. Therefore, we hope for input from numerous volunteers.