Tax Galaxy — A Visual Image Search

21 Dec

Tag Galaxy

Looking for a unique way to search for images?  Students having trouble navigating Flickr or Google Images?  Give Tag Galaxy a try for a different kind of image search.

Tax Galaxy works by searching through the tags assigned to Flickr images by their users.  Typing in a general search term (like “chocolate”) will immediately create a solar system with the initial term at the center and other, related terms orbiting the initial search.  These “planets” are tags that commonly appear along with the primary term.  To narrow your image search, click on one of the planets to add this term to the center of the Tag Galaxy.  New planets will appear that are related to the combined search terms and the number of images retrieved will also change.

You can continue the process of adding terms to the Tag Galaxy as often as you like.  When you are ready to see the images, simply click on the central planet (or sun) and the Flickr images will begin to appear on the sphere.  You can manipulate the view by clicking and holding your mouse over this sphere to see the individual images.  To see a close up of each image, click it to view a pop up.  To download, print, or otherwise use the image, select the option to visit the image’s Flickr page.  Make note at the top of this screen that only about 240 images can be displayed on the “sun” at a time.  To see more, you need to select the next set.

Sample results for Chocolate+Cake+Sweet+Dessert

Tag Galaxy is a fun, easy way for you and your students to conduct an image search.  You will quickly be able to narrow your search by adding related terms – some you may not even know were related! – and the number of results is much less cumbersome than a Google Images search.  The only downside to this engine is that the searches are limited to Flickr images and lots of content will not be accessed.

As always, when using a tool such as Tag Galaxy to search for images and other media, if it is to be used and distributed, whether inside class or out, always check the permissions that the image owners have established and credit properly!  Many of the images on Flickr are copyrighted with no downloads and no reproduction; please honor that!

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Posted by on December 21, 2012 in Tips & Tricks, Websites


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