There are lots of approaches to sharing images online from simply providing people with a link to download to fully fledged online galleries and collections of images. After weighing up a few options, I would suggest that the photos tools in Google + offer all the required functionality, including:
- Easy to use and update for gallery owner and viewer
- Images can be viewed online and / or downloaded (at the discretion of the owner)
- Navigable “gallery” of thumbnails with option to view images in more detail / zoom in and pan
- Options to manage access permissions
- Options to add descriptions and information to images and allow commenting from viewers.
As far as I can tell there are two ways that you might go about this;
1) Use a bespoke application or service that can package up collections of images to be accessed online. While you can get some great results with this approach, my concern is that updating and maintaining these collections could be cumbersome and they will have limited options for user interaction (commenting etc.) There are lots of tools out there for this, including lots of custom JQuery functionality if you don’t mind getting into a bit of coding. The sample gallery below has been created using the free simpleviewer program;
2) Take advantage of one of the many dedicated online services for sharing and viewing images. There are plenty of these about such as Flickr if you have images you want to upload. There are also platforms which allow users to collate / curate content from around the web such as Pinterest which can also allow students to add images too.
However, given that simplicity and security of data are likely to be primary concerns, and as The University is a “Google institution” with supported use of Google apps, my gut feeling is to start with what they can offer, namely Google Drive or Google+. While Google Drive is potentially slightly simpler to use and share content, the fact that you can easily add descriptions to images in Google + and the more professional presentation of image galleries, make it the first choice for sharing collections of images.
The “Album” below has been shared publicly though there are options to share with individuals, groups or just the University of York. While anyone can view the images in the album, you will need to be logged in to comment. You can either link directly to an album or embed it within a page.
With thanks to Chris Milson for talking this through.