The Digital Library is wholly reliant upon images contributed and uploaded by Museum staff, volunteers and independent photographers. Early in the development process, we determined that the standard method of uploading images would not be effective. Standard web techniques for uploading images involve selecting the appropriate file using the browser’s upload dialog and waiting until you enter the form before being able to see the image that was uploaded. We needed to be able to see the images immediately to ensure that the metadata matched the image in question. Our initial idea was to submit the form as soon as the image was selected, thus going to a new page for which all previous cataloged information would have to be passed. This was time consuming and distracting, so we implemented an asynchronous method of loading the image into the page without refreshing or reloading the page. This way, catalogers can continue to fill in metadata while the image is uploading and once the image has uploaded, the image will appear on the page. There are very few websites that do this even today, though it is far more intuitive from a user interface perspective.
Click here to try it yourself.