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ARCHIVES  February 2005, Week 4

ARCHIVES February 2005, Week 4

Subject:

Re: Digitizing the backs of photographs

From:

Margaret Graham <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Margaret Graham <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 28 Feb 2005 13:11:40 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (122 lines)

We just went through this discussion for a digitization project in which 
photographs are just one of several formats - mixed with a variety of 
textual documents.

We decided that for those images with verso information created by 
former staff, the versos will not be scanned.  We have lots of images 
where former librarians and archivists identified people, events, etc. 
and we capture that metadata but didn't want to confuse users about who 
determined what information.

For those images where the verso information existed before coming to 
the archive (was ostensibly there as part of the creation or ownership 
chain), then the verso will be scanned, as 'p. 2' of the image.  We can 
generally tell what was added by staff and what wasn't, although general 
users may not be able to make that distinction - that was part of our 
rationale.  We have plenty of images where there is some description 
written by the photographer or subject on the back, and where our 
researchers will gain something by seeing the actual hand.

IMHO, actual practice is dependent on the nature of the photographs, the 
project scope and the needs of the users.

Margaret Graham

-- 
Margaret Graham
Digital Project Archivist
Archives & Special Collections
Drexel University College of Medicine
http://med.library.drexel.edu/archives/
215.842.7750
[log in to unmask]

--------------------
"If I could tell the story in words I wouldn't need to lug a
camera."  Lewis Hine


Paul Schlotthauer wrote:
> I am involved in a grant-funded digitization project and disagree with 
> several colleagues who believe the backs of photographs should be 
> scanned because they contain important metadata, such as dates, 
> accession numbers, and subjects.  We all agree this information is 
> important and must be captured, but, in my opinion, thatís the purpose 
> of the metadata fields in the software weíre using.  The writing on the 
> backs was done at some point for administrative and informational 
> purposes, as is often the case in archival collections, but in itself it 
> has no particular historical significance, nor was it intended to be 
> part of the images themselves.  Therefore, as long as the information is 
> recorded in the database and is searchable, I can see no reason for 
> digitizing it.  To me, this is a different case than, say, historical 
> postcards, where you probably would scan both sides because postcards 
> are intentionally two-sided (if that makes any sense) and the writing on 
> the back has an intended connection with the image beyond the functions 
> of metadata.
> 
>  
> 
> Those of us who share my view are primarily archivists, whereas my 
> dissenting colleagues are artists.  I suspect they are more concerned 
> with the entire physical object and believe that we would somehow be 
> violating its integrity by not digitizing everything.  But for me, itís 
> the image that is the focus here, and recording the metadata in the 
> proper database fields is sufficient.  I canít remember coming across 
> collections of digitized images that included the backs, and scanning 
> them seems to me a waste of time, effort, and space.  Iíd greatly 
> appreciate it if those of you who are involved with digitization would 
> weigh in with your opinions.  Obviously I have strong views of my own on 
> this, but I want to be fair and make sure thereís not an issue here that 
> I just donít get.  Thanks.
> 
>  
> 
> Paul
> 
>  
> 
> Paul Schlotthauer
> 
> Librarian and Archivist
> 
> Assistant Professor
> 
> Pratt Institute Libraries
> 
> 200 Willoughby Avenue
> 
> Brooklyn, New York 11205
> 
> 718-636-3686
> 
> [log in to unmask]
> 
>  
> 
> A posting from the Archives & Archivists LISTSERV List sponsored by the 
> Society of American Archivists, www.archivists.org. For the terms of 
> participation, please refer to 
> http://www.archivists.org/listservs/arch_listserv_terms.asp.
> 
> To subscribe or unsubscribe, send e-mail to [log in to unmask] 
> In body of message: SUB ARCHIVES firstname lastname *or*: UNSUB ARCHIVES 
> To post a message, send e-mail to [log in to unmask]
> 
> Or to do *anything* (and enjoy doing it!), use the web interface at 
> http://listserv.muohio.edu/archives/archives.html
> 
> Problems? Send e-mail to Robert F Schmidt <[log in to unmask]>
> 

A posting from the Archives & Archivists LISTSERV List sponsored by the Society of American Archivists, www.archivists.org.
For the terms of participation, please refer to http://www.archivists.org/listservs/arch_listserv_terms.asp.

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Or to do *anything* (and enjoy doing it!), use the web interface at
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Problems?  Send e-mail to Robert F Schmidt <[log in to unmask]>

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