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ARCHIVES Home

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ARCHIVES  February 2005, Week 4

ARCHIVES February 2005, Week 4

Subject:

Re: re cataloguing digital photographs

From:

"Will.M Thomas" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Will.M Thomas

Date:

Tue, 22 Feb 2005 07:55:21 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (137 lines)

We use Access for our photo database ... can't tell anything about it
other than that we created it in-house.  Since I know just enough about
computers to be able to REALLY screw things up, I don't think they want
me to have that kind of *ahem* access.  For subject terms, we use the
Library of Congress's Thesaurus for Graphic Materials. They have an
online search function, which makes it easy to look things up as one
enters info into the database.  Here's a link:
http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/tgm1/

Will Thomas


William M. Thomas
Technical Services
Tennessee State Library and Archives
403 Seventh Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37243-0312

Phone: 615-741-2561
Fax: 615-532-5315
e-mail: [log in to unmask]


>>> Arel Lucas <[log in to unmask]> 20-Feb-2005 17:58:48
>>>
Aside from colleagues who may contact you via this listserv, I would
say your
best resource is
http://www.archivenet.gov.au/resources.html#resources
--the Australian National Archives and the links on this page to the
Australian Society of Archivists.  Australian archivists would be
justly proud
of their international reputation; I used Australian texts for my
archives
courses in the United States, because they were acknowledged to be
excellent.
Australian archives standards and work are monitored--with good
reason--on
this continent.

However, you may be interested in looking at how others have used MS
Access
and/or other databases.  The Ontario Museum Association gives its
members a
template for MS Access that is meant for itemizing records in the
museum
tradition--including photographs.  Because I'm no longer a member and
the
software modification is copyrighted, I can't (you'll excuse the pun!)
"access" that information any more.  You might try contacting the OMA
(http://www.museumsontario.com/) to see if it would be possible for you
to
look at their template for your purposes.  (Last resort:  you could
become a
member and get it free.)  One caveat:  MS Access differs from sotware
like
FileMaker Pro in the way it stores information.  It's possible to run
out of
memory with Access even though you have storage space left on your
computer
disk drive, CD or DVD.  MS Access has its *own* storage limits, and
although
you would not ordinarily run into these limits storing only data, you
almost
certainly would run into them storing digital images.  So be
forewarned.

I would strongly advise you to research and adopt or build a
controlled
vocabulary before you begin, and as you store data on your photographs.

Otherwise you will find eventually that subtle differences in
description will
make access difficult or annoying.  For instance, is it a "bicycle" or
"bike"?
 Is that a "hill," a "mountain," or a "grade"?  Both entry and
searching
become easier when you have what may be called a "thesaurus" or
authority list
of words with "use [this term]," "used for [that term]" and "see also"
references in it.  A vocabulary list can help you decide what headings
you
need to use in your database and provide keywords for entry and
searching.
You might start by looking at the Getty vocabularies at
http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/vocabularies/

If the indexing of these photographs is a primary goal--and it seems as
if it
would be--you might consider building a vocabulary as you go (given
your
unique circumstances), possibly using portions of such things as the
Getty
vocabularies, the Library of Congress Subject Headings, or whatever
specialized term lists you might find.  Do not try to build this in a
word
processing program--within a few hundred terms such a list becomes
unwieldy if
you follow indexing protocols ("use," "used for," etc.)  Take a look at
the
American Society of Indexers site for some guidelines and software
recommendations:
http://www.asindexing.org/site/index.html
This site is chock full of free resources, including good links.

Don't forget the preservation aspects of your work, for which you might
want
to take a look at The Image Permanence Institute,
http://www.rit.edu/~661www1/sub_pages/8contents.htm,
Wilhelm Imaging Research, http://www.wilhelm-research.com/ (scroll down
about
2/3 of the way to Wilhelm's book, which can be downloaded for free)
and ConservationOnline http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/

And of course I couldn't get away without recommending you take a look
at the
parent of this listserv, the SAA, at http://www.archivists.org/

Best of luck with your project!

Arel Lucas, MLIS, CA
Archival Consultant
currently in Brantford, Ontario, Canada
[log in to unmask]

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