Guide to the Emilio Segrè Visual Archives online

Guide to the Emilio Segrè Visual Archives online

Leslie Groves confers with David Lilientha

Leslie Groves confers with David Lilientha

You can now find all of the digitized images from our Emilio Segrè Visual Archives in the Niels Bohr Library & Archives digital collections site! We are excited to now have a central repository for our digitized collection materials, but realize that this is a big change for researchers, so our staff compiled a handy guide you can use to get acquainted with the features of the new site. We are continuing to make improvements to the site and are available if you have questions, comments, or feedback - reach out via email at [email protected]!


Simple search

The search box on the ESVA homepage provides a simple full-text search of all items in the ESVA collection. A term will appear, no matter where it appears in the metadata.

Simple search

Advanced Search

Boolean search

Advanced search provides a configurable search for users, where specific metadata fields (Title, Name, Subject, Description, Keyword in Metadata, Fulltext, and ESVA Catalog ID) can be searched and combined with specific collections, and boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT).

In the example to the left, the search results will return results of items that have Niels Bohr anywhere in the metadata, but it will exclude items that have the name of Niels' son, Aage, in the data.

Tip for searching: to search for a specific phrase or get results with an exact match, use quotation marks around your search terms. Quotation marks are particularly useful when searching for a specific Catalog ID (ex. “Hoffman Darleane C1” as a search will lead you here).



The facets block on the left hand side of the search results allows users to narrow their results using specific fields.

  • Resource Type: At time of writing, the entire collection consists of the “still image” type.
  • Subject: This includes topical terms and genre terms. It does not include personal names or locations; please use the search box for those.
  • Donor Name: Filters by donor, when known.
  • Collection: Filters by collection within ESVA.
  • Copyright Holder: This is especially useful when searching for photos to be licensed for use in other works. Note that ESVA does not always have this information.

The “Show more” link appears when a search produces many options within a particular facet. This list is limited to the top 20 results within your current search. 

A facet will not appear if it is not relevant to the current search results.


You can now download high-resolution copies of almost all our ESVA images, free of charge. To access the high-res version, just click on the image in either the Summary or Full Description Tab. This will open a new window with the high-res image, which can be dragged to your desktop, or right clicked and saved to a location of your choice.


You can also select the “Download Image” link under each image, which will prompt you to either open the full-resolution JPEG with your image viewer of choice or save the file on your computer.

Copyright and Permissions

To see the full metadata for an ESVA image, make sure you are viewing the Full Description tab; this is where we display copyright and credit information, if known. Here are a few examples of common copyright and permission scenarios:

American Institute of Physics is the copyright holder 

This means we freely give permission for you to use the image in your project(s). Simply download the image and use the credit line listed. There is no need to email NBLA or fill out an Item Request Form.

We don’t hold copyright but may know who does

This example shows someone other than the American Institute of Physics as copyright holder. In this scenario, we cannot grant permission for the image’s use in a project. We recommend contacting the copyright holder listed for permissions. If you need assistance locating contact information for the copyright holder, please email [email protected]

If you are able to obtain permission to use the photo in your project, or if you claim fair use (this is up to you to determine; NBLA cannot provide guidance on this matter), feel free to download and use our digital copy of the photo. 

Tip: Not all photos have the “Copyright Holder'' field. Copyright should not be confused with the “Held by” or “Credit Line” fields. See more information below.

We are not the copyright holder & we do not know who holds copyright

This example does not feature the “Copyright Holder” field, meaning we do not hold copyright nor do we know who the copyright holder is. Again, we cannot grant permission for the image’s use in a project. In this scenario, it is possible that we have an unconfirmed idea of who could be the copyright holder, so it never hurts to reach out to us with questions. 

Reference only collection

This means we do not have permission from the donor/copyright holder to offer high-resolution downloads of the image on our site. You may want to contact the donor or copyright holder for digital copies and permissions to use this image. We may have contact information on file and ask that you reach out to us at [email protected].

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