Click here for the VM Annual Report 2015-16
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Minutes from the VMS Meeting in Atlanta.
A selection of born digital resources:
Digital Photography Best Practices and Workflow. An ASMP Initiative Funded by the Library of Congress.
- Digital Print Preservation Portal
The Image Permanence Institute at the Rochester Institute of Technology has put up this website. The purpose of it is to provide information, skills, and tools you need to care for your digitally printed collection assets.
- Library of Congress Digital Preservation
The Library of Congress provides a number of resources for born digital preservation on this web page.
- AIMS White Paper on Born-Digital Collections: An Inter-Institutional Model for Stewardship.
- Resources Wiki provides web resources and hard copy resources/publications on topics that include digital preservation, digital photography, digital asset management for photographs, file formats, metadata, licensing and rights.
- http://gawainweaver.com/processID A list of photographic processes that was originally designed as the controlled vocabulary for the photographic process field in a museum database.
The SAA Visual Materials Cataloging and Access Roundtable (VMCAR) provides a forum for archivists and others working with visual collections to discuss cataloging and access issues including – but not limited to – description methods, digitization, cataloging tools and standards, and other esoteric topics. For more information visit the website.
The SAA Architectural Records Roundtable (ARR) supports the preservation of architectural, engineering, landscaping, and construction records and brings together care-givers to discuss the storage, conservation, arrangement, and description problems inherent in specialized records. Our mission is to provide a forum for members to discuss issues related to access and management of architectural records and related fields. For a clearinghouse of information on architectural records in the spirit of the Cooperative Preservation of Architectural Records (COPAR) visit the website.
The SAA Metadata and Digital Objects Roundtable (MDOR) is one of the largest roundtables within SAA. It promotes discussion, education, and collaboration among archivists who are interested in digital archival objects and the metadata that enables their access, management, and preservation. For more information visit the website.
The Visual Resources Association (VRA) is a multi-disciplinary organization dedicated to furthering research and education in the field of image and media management within the educational, cultural heritage, and commercial environments. The Association is committed to providing leadership in the visual resources field, developing and advocating standards, and offering educational tools and opportunities for the benefit of the community at large. VRA implements these goals through publication programs and educational activities. For more information visit the website.
The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) is a non-profit professional organization established to advance the field of moving image archiving by fostering cooperation among individuals and organizations concerned with the acquisition, description, preservation, exhibition and use of moving image materials. For more information visit the website.
A history of the VMS Logo:
Here is a bit of history of the VMS Logo from Tim Hawkins, from the July 2012 issue of Views, which can be found in the Views Archive page.
“Maybe we should look at the logo again and think about a masthead redesign,” I spoke into the phone. Anne Salsich, our editor replied, “Are you crazy?
Don’t we have more pressing things to do?” She paused for a moment, then continued, “But maybe you could do a column about the logo just for fun.”
That seemed an interesting idea. I emailed Laurie Baty, VIEWS Newsletter Editor Emeritus, to refresh my memories on the stories she had told me.
“When I took over from Larry Viskochil we had a name and no logo. I was pretty involved with the Daguerreian Society at the time and knew of the image. Since we’re visual materials… I chose the logo from one of the most artistic studios of the daguerreian era – the first viable form of photography. There really wasn’t any discussion – I just did it.”
The image is from an ad by Southworth and Hawes, a prominent daguerreotype studio. Here is a black and white line drawing of the image that was ad- opted as the Visual Materials Section logo.
I’ve found it a difficult image to interpret, espe- cially when reproduced small. I thought it might be fun to colorize it though, to color-code all of the elements to better see how they all fit together.
One Saturday afternoon shortly after I took the reins for VIEWS, I spent six hours playing with the image in Photoshop. The result has appeared on our masthead since that day. It was a fun image to explore because it is simultaneously simple and complex.
The sun is central to the image. He is a painter with a spectrum palette. Behind him storm clouds rise as a falling star streaks toward him, stars twinkle in the sky and the moon spies on him as he flirts with Lady Earth. On the canvas – his light sensitive material – he reproduc- es the clouds, the meteor, the twinkling stars, the spying moon and Lady Earth.
In 19th century literature, photographic images were sometimes referred to as “sun pictures,” which may help to explain how the ad would have been understood in its time.
I feel that the image still stands as a metaphor for visual materials, even though it dates from the mid-19th century. What do you think?
Processing challenges and solutions related to born-digital photography
At the VMS meeting at the SAA conference in Cleveland, there were several breakout sessions discussing topics of interest to the Section members. One session took on a vexing problem: born digital photos. Here is a report of the session from Stefanie Caloia:
Some of the problems session participants expressed concerns with are the volume of digital images, non-standardized file names, how to provide access, and general uncertainty about how to handle digital images.
Working with born digital materials is not a new problem. There has been an ongoing conversation and we can build on previous work. In some ways, digital photos can be managed similarly to other digital file types. We can also think about digital image formats in relation to their analog counterparts: the RAW file is similar to a negative, and the edited file is similar to a print.
We need to look at where we are and where we should be. The group agreed that the VM section should be determining what is special or unique about visual digital files and educating the rest of the profession.
Working with born digital images can seem daunting and overwhelming. It is important to start somewhere, even if it is not perfect. However, we need to find a balance between the overwhelming and oversimplifying. There are resources out there so we do not need to start from scratch.
Some practical tips:
Some photographers set their digital camera to continuous shooting, taking many pictures that end up looking almost identical. Sometimes these photographers do not weed their images, which results in a volume of images that is difficult and time-consuming to handle. When possible, photo archivists can talk with photographers whose work they collect. Explain what metadata to include with their images, what file formats to use, and maybe even what filename conventions may be helpful or what photographs the collecting institution is or is not interested in acquiring.
Some resources mentioned by session participants include:
http://dpbestflow.org. This website is from the American Society of Media Photographers and has resources on best practices for photographers, though it is not necessarily from an archivist’s viewpoint. There is a lot of information that is helpful for an audiovisual archivist to understand before processing born digital photographs.
University of North Carolina’s Curator’s Workbench is one tool that enables ingest of digital files. (http://blogs.lib.unc.edu/cdr/index.php/about-the-curators-workbench/).
The VMS Resources page (http://saavms.org/resources/) has additional sites that may be helpful, including the Library of Congress’s Digital Preservation site, a white paper on born digital collections, and a resources wiki which contains many additional resources.
Even more help is forthcoming because the group decided to take action! We plan to put together a guide to depict how a born digital photograph is created and goes to the archives, and what should happen from there. We already have a couple volunteers from the group, but could use more help. If you are interested in helping put together a resource on born-digital images, contact StefanieCaloia @ gmail.com.
Getty Research Institute Symposium
The Getty Research Institute sponsored an outstanding symposium in February 2016 “Photo Archives V: The Paradigm of Objectivity” exploring the relationships among photographic reproduction technologies, archival practices, and concepts of objectivity, with an interdisciplinary outlook and a focus on art history. The program featured lectures and discussions by a number of leading experts in the field, and videos of these are now available on getty.edu and YouTube!
There are multiple ways to access them:
Photo Archives V event page on getty.edu
A review of the Symposium is available in the March 2016 issue of Views!