Do PHIL images represent the most current scientific methods practiced in the field of public health?

Answer: The imagery showcased in the PHIL is historic in nature. The contents depicted, though appropriate at the time a photograph was captured, may no longer be appropriate in the context of the current time period, and is not to be viewed as a source of the most current public health information.


I am having trouble viewing the PHIL web site. What's wrong?

Answer: The PHIL is a sophisticated web application and requires a high-end computer for optimal performance. It is designed for 17-inch monitors with display settings of at least 800 x 600 resolution and at least 16-bit colors. A screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels is recommended.


How do I run a search on the PHIL?

Answer: The PHIL offers two basic searches common to the Internet environment: Quick Search and Advanced Search.

"Quick Search"

  • Uses "keywords" which are embedded in the textual description of the image record
  • Controllable elements:
    • Image Type (Photos/Illustrations/Videos)
      • Click the drop-down menu that reads "All Image Types"
      • Select from the choices
        • Photos Only
        • Illustrations Only
        • Videos Only
      • Or allow the default "All Image Types"
  • "Add to Search" feature allows additional keywords to be applied to the results of a search in order to narrow the results even more. All the keywords involved are listed to the right of "Selected Keywords," which appears on the screen above the search bar. This feature is activated by clicking the "Add to search" checkbox.
  • "Image ID Search" is available to users who know specific identification numbers of images
    • Clicking the text opens search box
    • Enter PHIL ID #. Multiple IDs must be separated by a single typing space
    • Click "Search"

"Advanced Search"

  • Allows a user to control the same search elements as in the "Quick Search" with the addition of "Category Search," and "Date Range" choices for both "Creation Date" and "Upload Date," and keyword choice within specific FIELDS of a record's metadata.
  • "Image Type" allows users to specify whether or not they want ONLY "Public Domain" images in their search results or wish to see BOTH "Public Domain" AND "Copyright Restricted" images, for example. The same is true for the "Color" versus "Black & white" choice. Users may also choose the format type: "Photos," "Illustrations," or "Video" or all of them together (the default).
  • "Category Search" features:
    • A controlled vocabulary viewable as a "tree" showing hierarchies of terms branching out from the top-level terms, "People," "Places," and "Science."
    • Category Selection
      • Click "plus" and "minus" signs to open or close hierarchical levels
      • Select terms by clicking the check box before each term; the selection will be marked in "red"
      • The "gray" box indicates no images were catalogued under that specific term. (There could still be images catalogued under a term's sub-categories.)
      • Click "Search" button in lower right hand corner of page
    • Revised Search
      • To change selections in the same hierarchy, simple click the "Clear Selections" link in the upper right-hand area of the "Category Search" section of the page
      • To collapse the hierarchical tree structure to start over, click "Reset Trees"
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How do I view search results in PHIL?

Answer: There are three custom views you that you can select whether in "Quick Search" or "Advanced Search" mode. Each allows viewing 10, 15, 25, or 50 items per page.

The different views and their key features are:

  • Thumbnail (Default) - thumbnail image with identifying PHIL Number (ID#) and "Add to Download" selection box
  • Detail - thumbnail image with ID #, description, and date
  • Full - Larger thumbnail image with complete metadata

The user controls the view and the number of images per page by clicking "Custom Results View" on both the "Quick Search" and "Advanced Search" pages.

The number of pages in a given search result are listed individually at the bottom of the page in order from 1 to 10. For results that yield more than 10 pages, the additional pages are grouped by tens. If a search, for example, yields 15 pages, they will be numbered

     Results Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11-15

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What metadata is available for users to searchers?

Answer: The following information is available with each record:

  • Title - PHIL ID #, a system-assigned unique identifier
  • Description - Extensive and authoritative explanation of the visual image or video file
  • Categories - used to describe the image
  • Photo Credit - Photographer or Videographer who took the photo or shot the video
  • Creation Date - When the object was created (photo taken, video shot, etc.)
  • Upload Date - When the image entered the PHIL database
  • Content Provider - The contributor of the asset
  • Color Scheme - Color or Black & White
  • Source Library - Where the image originated
  • Resolution - Either high (print quality) or low (best viewable in small size)
  • Copyright Status - either "Public Domain" (free use) or Copyright Protected (restricted, obtain permission from owner before use)
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How can I obtain both Hi-Resolution and Low-Resolution images for my own use?

Answer: Both Hi-Resolution and Low-Resolution public domain images may be downloaded directly to your computer.

  • To download the Low-Res image
    • "Right click" on the large, browsable JPEG image
    • Select "Save Image As"
    • Navigate to a chosen location on your hard drive, and save the image
  • To download, if available, the Hi-Resolution print-quality version of a given image
    • "Right click" the link located both below the browsable JPEG
    • Select "Save Target As_"
    • Navigate to your chosen location, and save the image
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What regulations govern the use of images in the PHIL?

Answer: Images are either "Public Domain" (free use) or "Copyright Protected" (restricted, obtain permission before use)

  • Most of the images in the collection are in the public domain and are thus free of any copyright restrictions. If you look directly beneath the image you will see a fair use statement that tells you if the image is public domain or copyright protected.
  • Permission is not required for public domain images, but we do ask that you credit the original institution and contributor, when known, whenever the image is used in any publicly distributed media.
  • If the image is copyright protected, you will have to contact the content provider to obtain usage permission. PHIL does not have the authority to grant usage for any copyrighted images in the library. If you have difficulty contacting a content provider, we may be able to help, but we cannot act on their behalf.
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Is there a PHIL disclaimer?

Answer: The following represents the PHIL disclaimer:

The information provided on the Public Health Image Library (PHIL) website, or data to which the PHIL website links, is only intended to be "general summary" information to its visitors. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law, or regulations, or for the purpose of providing professional advice.
Before relying on material provided on the PHIL website, visitors should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance to their purposes, and obtain any appropriate professional advice on their own.
For documents available through the PHIL, the U.S. Government does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed.
Links on the PHIL you may find to other web sites, are included for a visitor's convenience, and do not necessarily constitute an endorsement of the material on those sites, or any associated product or service.
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Is a statement required when using photographs in conjunction with sensitive topics?

Answer: A "sensitive use disclaimer" is required when a PHIL photograph is used to accompany a written passage describing a sensitive, or controversial topic, i.e., sexually-transmitted disease, mental health issue, which is unrelated to the person, or persons identifiably depicted in the image. A number of PHIL photographs depict models, who had posed for these images merely to reflect the lifestyle-related activities portrayed therein. When you chose to implement this type of photograph, the phrase, "Stock photo. Posed by model.", is required.

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