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The main focus of the project – next to the integration of FACES as an online open source solution in the eSciDoc architecture – would be to add new attributes to single pictures in form of standardized metadata (e.g METS) and to implement a user management for different usage rights. Therefore, the application has to be flexible to integrate further data like the outcome of the rating study.


FACES is a lifespan digital collection of adult emotional facial stimuli. It contains two sets of images of naturalistic faces of 171 women and men displaying each of 6 facial expressions: neutrality, sadness, disgust, fear, anger, and happiness. The specialty of this collection is that it comprises pictures of persons of three different age groups: young (n=58), middle-aged (n=56), and older (n=57).
To save the personal rights of the depicted persons, the pictures of FACES are only available to researchers on a case by case basis (e.g. person by person, study by study).

FACES can be found here.



  • Picture search based on the available attributes (currently ID, age group, gender, facial expression and picture set)
  • Detailed view of single pictures (and navigation within the pictures) and their attributes
  • Creation and export of public and private subsets for the analysis of special research questions
  • Management of an unlimited quantity of attributes per picture (e.g. adding new attributes based on the output of rating studies)
  • User and rights management to realize different access rights

Rating Study
Currently, the MPI is working on a Normstudy for comparing their expert opinion about how an emotion has to look like with the opinion of layman. The results of this study, about 130 grouped values per picture, should be integrated in FACES.

Benefits for the Researcher[edit]

  • Simple access from everywhere to the research materials through the internet
  • Long term archiving of the research materials
  • Persistent referencing of the collection and its subsets within publications
  • Improved visibility of the institute and its research data
  • Re-use of the primary data for complementary studies (rating study) or other interdisciplinary research questions


FACES is a collaboration of the MPDL with the Max Planck Institute for Human Development,Center for Lifespan Psychology, Berlin, Germany.
The project coordination is organized by Ursula Flitner, head of the institute’s library.
The content of FACES was collected between 2005 and 2007 by Ulman Lindenberger, Natalie Ebner and Michaela Riediger.
The content model of the FACES software design was influenced by the predecessor database developed at the institute by Matthias Bindernagel & Natalie Ebner.

Re-Use of FACES[edit]

The FACES software enables to maintain collections of pictures which are usually enriched by attributes or metadata.

FACES provides a basic user management to control the access to the pictures, to enable the creation of subsets of the collection, to support the sharing of such subsets with selected users and to afford the publishing of subsets by a simple workflow.

Access to Faces[edit]

Please see and fill out the Release Agreement.


See Faces Support!