Most of the images produced at the Lick were recorded as negatives on glass plates coated with photosensitive chemicals. After working through the night, astronomers often continued to work into the morning, developing the negatives they had created. They often found that the images were overexposed, underexposed, or blurry. Part of the drive toward objectivity at the Lick involved mechanization in order to reduce contact between the human and the telescope; astronomers quickly developed new technologies to automate the telescope's movement throughout the night.
We have in this archive only a few of the thousands of images created by Lick astronomers, as many were rejected. Many of the original glass negatives created with the telescopes are still housed on the grounds of the Lick Observatory.