Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

What did Tokyo look like after its 1923 earthquake?

Throughout the Writer’s Guide to Government Information, I list “representative questions” that can be answered by a given resource. I thought it might be interesting from time to time to show you how I’d answer one of these questions with its given resource.

In the entry for the US Geological Survey Photographic Library, I assert it can answer the question “What did Tokyo look like after its 1923 earthquake?” Here’s how you’d find out:

In the left hand column, click on “Earthquakes.” On the page that follows, click on “Tokyo Earthquake 1923.” This yields six photos, including:

Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan, Earthquake September 1, 1923. “I enclose also a photo of the ruins of the Grand Hotel at Yokohama where I stopped last year.” J.H. Messervey, letter dated March 5, 1924. USGS Photographic Library

Each photograph in the result set has multiple resolution options:

  • 100 dots per inch (dpi) thumbnail-resolution GIF file
  • 700 dpi medium-resolution JPG file
  • 1400 dpi high-resolution JPG file
  • 1600+ dpi full-resolution JPG file

The entry for the US Geological Survey Photographic Library is just one resource from the Physical Settings chapter of the Writer’s Guide to Government Information.

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