The Birth of Pictoscope

One evening, three years ago, I had an idea suddenly electrify my tired mind just as I was lying down to sleep:  “What if we could see inside the archive?  What if we could suddenly see all the amazing images and art contained in all the books of all the world’s libraries?”

Luckily for me, when I say super weird stuff out loud like that my wife doesn’t even flinch… (she’s also a librarian).  In fact, I can clearly remember her shaking her head in equally tired agreement (we have young children) as we talked about it for awhile and then turned out the lights on the small seedling of a new idea.

So it was that creating an online service that could capture and index amazing arrays of images and visual content found its way into my heart and mind.   Yet the more I worked on ways to move forward with the project, the more the metrics grew in immensity –seeming evermore intimidating and elusive to manage.

Another very clear moment in the development of Pictoscope was meeting Al Kirby and Jeremy Rimer.  Al’s initial reaction after hearing me describe the proposed resource was a true game changer: “Yep, we can do that.”   How Al convinced his very talented friend Jeremy that they were going to work with a librarian to build an online image database and discovery service is likely another story that I have not heard…  But regardless, turns out that “Yep, we can do that” was all we needed to move forward and I think in hindsight Jeremy and I thank Al for his great instincts and optimism.

A year later, as business partners, we form a small dedicated team working to launch what we hope will prove to be one of this year’s most innovative online resources, the Pictoscope Visual Discovery Service.