PLEASE NOTE: Photobook was available for educational and research purposes only, to those sponsoring, affiliated with, or collaborating with the Media Lab and is no longer supported. This page remains for archival purposes, and any off-site links may or may work.


Browse with Netscape here.


Photobook is an interactive browser of image databases which uses machine vision to perform queries based on content. Besides providing the capabilities to search on keyword annotations, photobook allows the user to perform queries based on "content", as defined by which vision algorithm is used. For example, images may be queried based on low-level features such as coarseness, color histogram, directionality, or periodicity. Suitable vision algorithms may even allow queries based on higher-level features such as the presence of certain objects or the spatial relationships of those objects.

The VisTex distribution site maintains the latest additions to Photobook's precomputed image data for the database. This data allows the user to create custom groupings and indicies for the database.

You can find techincal reports on Photobook in the Vismod Publications archive:

TR#302: Vision Texture for Annotation
Rosalind W. Picard and Thomas P. Minka

TR#255: Photobook: Content-Based Manipulation of Image Databases
Alex Pentland, Rosalind W. Picard, Stanley Sclaroff

TR#215: Real-Time Recognition with the Entire Brodatz Texture Database
Rosalind W. Picard and Tanweer Kabir and Fang Liu

TR#205: Finding Similar Patterns in Large Image Databases
Rosalind W. Picard and Tanweer Kabir

XV Image Viewer

XV is John Bradley's popular image browser for X. The program allows for simple browsing as well as basic image manipulation (filtering, color adjustment, and scaling). To obtain a copy of XV see the XV distribution site (, or download the tar and compressed distribution of XV directly from this page. The compressed XV file is 3.4 megs.

To load images into XV change into the directory with the images and run: xv *.ppm. Since annotations are stored in the ppm file headers they are available through the "Image Comments" command under the windows menu in XV.

PBMPlus Image Toolkit

PBMPlus is a popular set of image conversion and manipulation programs by Jef Poskanzer. The various programs that make up the toolkit work on the portable pixel map (ppm) file format which VisTex uses. While the kit does not provide a browser, it does have many useful routines for handling the images in VisTex.

The PBMPlus Toolkit is available via anonymous ftp from The file pbmplus10dec91.tar.Z contains the source for the Toolkit which needs to be compiled. To compile PBMPlus to work with TIFF images Sam Leffler's TIFF Software package is required. This TIFF library is available from The file v3.0.tar.Z contains version 3.0 of the release.

Back to the VisTex homepage

4/6/95 - Chris Graczyk