Cataloguing in Gippsland

Musings of a Cataloguer at Large in Gippsland. Just personal thoughts - absolutely no bearing on the thoughts of any organisation with which I am working.

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Location: Victoria, Australia

Saturday, August 20, 2011

File Names for Photographs

I am exercising my mind about file names for photographs. Not, for the moment, for the photographs or scans of collection items, where I am 90% happy with the management in place, but for for all the things that go on around collections.


A while ago, I took this photograph at the Stratford Historical Society, and a short time ago I posted it on Stratford's blog. It is of two hard-working members of the Society, early on a cold morning, as part of the phenomenal restoration and upgrading work that has been taking place there. The process I am using to number photos like this at Stratford, from bitter experience, is to give a file name of the date taken, with a letter of the alphabet for order.

So this is photo 2011-08-09bVSFH.JPG.

It means it is the second photo I have kept that I took on 9 August. It is filed in the building restoration folder on the computer. I'm a bit ambivalent about adding the VSFH to identify it as a Stratford photo - we are unlikely to mix it with others in a database, so maybe I should go for


putting my initials in there to show I took it. Not that it is all that brilliant a photo, but it may be that some others may take exceptionally brilliant ones and hand them into common files, so we should keep track of who photographed what.

Why the date? As part of our celebrations for the presentation of an RHSV Award of Merit to our President, Wemyss Struss, I have been making a powerpoint presentation. It shows the wonderful period through which Wemyss has led us. I just wish I know what date some of the photographs were taken. In some cases the editing has removed that information from the file data, in other cases, it is obvious there were photos taken with an incorrect date on the camera. A date several years out.

One thing is for sure - starting the file name with the date will make it easy to keep track of them. Sorting them into folders by themes (Building Restoration / Activities / Exhibitions etc) makes them easy to find. We tend to so easily take quick snaps of activities these days, which become our de facto organisational history (unless someone keeps a set of state-of-the-art minutes). We need to make sure we get maximum value from these photos.

There is a photo management suggestion in the Victorian Cataloguing Manual, but I don't think it deals at all well with objects, and it is rather complex.

And what were George and Martin doing?


They were taking over a hundred years' worth of mould off the building. You should see the colour in the sandstone footings!

You can see some more of the progress in this set on Flickr.


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