Photos added to collections

Photos are here!

The AJHS is very excited for the first release of a multi-year project that features over 13,000 photos of the Australian Jewish community.

The photos come from the Australian Jewish News from the 1960s through to 2000.

Each photo is catalogued with the list of people shown, and when available, other metadata such as the date.

Photos with face tagging
Photos with face tagging

On our collections page, you can search amongst the 9500+ subjects identified in the photos.  When you select the person’s name, you will see all associated photos with that subject, and you can also see a list of other people that share a photo with this person.

See if you can find yourself, your relatives,  past and present friends, colleagues, Rabbis, classmates, and on and on and on!

Are these your classmates?

The process

Within these 13,000 photos are people.  Lots of people!  The reason this is such a long term project is we wanted to identify as many subjects as possible in these photos.

The first step was to find software that allowed for efficient facial recognition.  After some trialling, we went with a Canadian product, Tag That Photo.  With Tag That Photo, our volunteers identify a person in a photo.  Then, the software uses AI-based facial recognition to go through the entire collection and suggest matches.   It saved us a tremendous amount of time and effort!  We also liked that Tag That Photo respects privacy and is not cloud-based.

After all the face tagging was complete, we then went through a process of exporting the metadata for every photo that contained the subjects’ name and the rectangle coordinates where their faces are.  Again, Tag That Photo made this quite easy, employing standard metadata that is easily transferrable.  Exiftool was a big help as well.

From there, the data was imported into our collections database (powered by CollectiveAccess software).  An interface was created that shows the tagging of the subject’s names next to their faces, and also allow for searching and browsing of the 9,500+ people found in all the photos.

The interface to find subjects and photos.

You can access the photos at this link:

On the bottom of each each photo record page is also a link to a form where you can provide more information, such as the name of a person not identified, corrections, or more details about the photo, such as the event, location, or year.

A big thank you to all the volunteers that helped with this project, AJHS President Peter Philippsohn for spearheading the project, the Australian Jewish News for providing these photos, and also our very dependable and helpful web hosting company that provides our CollectiveAccess server, Medeopolis IT Solutions.

Look for more photos to come later!

Jeff Schneider, AJHS Collections Specialist