Website Features and Use

The pilot for the Tibet Visual History Online pilot project aims to provide a fully searchable, flexible, interactive and multilayered website. The resource has image-led interfaces and clear instructions throughout for both navigational aids and interactive facilities. It is hoped that the experience of image-based navigation will facilitate more adventurous approaches to website usage enabling users to view such sites as ‘dialogues’ between images.

The 400 photographs are divided into seven categories:

  • Buildings
  • Ceremonies
  • Everyday Life
  • Landscape
  • Material Culture
  • People
  • Places

For ease of access we have created broad ‘interest’ albums, made up of photographs that we thought best represented the particular category. These albums form a gateway to the all the photographs on the website.

Search and Navigation Functions:

The interface allows open approaches to the resource, through simple search tools, using keyword and hypertext facilities. The captions for large single image views are hyperlinked to allow maximum navigational ease between albums themselves and all the photographs on the website.

For example, with an image of the Potala Palace –

  • a single click on the word ‘Potala’ in the caption will bring up a text entry on the Potala.
  • a click on ‘Retrieve all images from the colelction pertaining to’ on the text entry page will bring up all images of the Potala available on the website.

There are similar links for various ceremonies and photographers to enable flexible navigation throughout the database.


There are also simple ‘search’ and ‘advanced search’ functions for specific searches. Each search will bring up a light-table of scans for the relevant category.

To access the full museum database record for an image, either click on the caption below thumbnail images in the light-table format, or, on the accession number preceding the caption in the single large image view.

The full museum record can be further utilised to see collections of photographs. Terms in the caption category are hyperlinked as in the image captions. Also, each entry in the ‘Class’ category is hyperlinked. Thus, clicking on ‘Ritual Object’ in the ‘Class’ category will bring up all images belonging to that class.

To access biographies of the photographers and entries on specific photograph collections click on the relevant categories on the menu appearing on the left hand side of each page. These pages will give access to all images made by a photographer or belonging to a particular photograph collection.

Viewing and Making Albums: See Viewing and Creating Albums

Spelling of Tibetan words: Historically, photographers and scholars have used many different phonetic versions of Tibetan words. We have tried to be as consistent in our spelling of names of personalities, places and ceremonies as possible. However we are aware of discrepancies that remain. Since this is a pilot project and will be subject to further revisions we hope to reach as uniform format for spellings as is possible.

Feedback: This is a pilot project. We would be grateful for feedback on all aspects of the website, especially on the design, navigability and spelling of Tibetan words at

Copyright: Copyright for all images presented on the website belongs to and rests with the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford. No image may be published without prior permission from the Museum and without proper acknowledgement.

None of these images may be used for commercial advertising or for political propaganda or in use contexts of a racist or sexist nature.

Enquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be sent to

The Museum is committed to guarding the privacy of users and no user album or correspondence will be made public without prior permission from the user. Copyright of personal albums belongs to the users. However, copyright of specific images within user albums remains with the museum. Users, however, are most welcome to exchange albums or information through the e-mail address.