Vintage Fascination: Implementation

As part of the repository assignment, I wrote about my process in implementing the digital collection. This is the write-up:


Introduction

The collection I created is of my family’s vintage cameras. I had my family help me with the project by taking photos and answering questions about the cameras, since they are all in North Carolina. Although there are only four camera entries completely finished in the digital collection as of 3 May 2016, each entry has a camera and some of them also have other items like cases, manuals, etc. [UPDATE 16/5/16: All entries on repository are now completed] Each completed entry also has photos my brother took for the project. There are five camera entries that have been completed through the sub-series hierarchy and will be completed fully in the course of the next week.

User Experience

At the beginning of the project, I intended to use Omeka (Omeka, 2015), but found it to be too limiting. Although Omeka is very basic, I was frustrated at how basic it was because I wanted to add more detail to the metadata and I was not pleased with the layout of the collection interface. After some research, I found Access to Memory (AtoM) and decided to use that instead. Since I have a personal website, I was able to install AtoM on my website and use it for the project. There was a larger learning curve because of the different platform, but once I figured out how to do everything I needed to do for the project, adding entries went a lot quicker. (Access to Memory, 2016)

Organizational Schema

At first, it is somewhat difficult to see the organization scheme within the website, but there is a definite set to the hierarchy. While deciding the best practice to organize the collection within the AtoM hierarchy of Fond > Series > Sub-Series > File > Item, I settled on the following diagram:

Diagram

In order to better organize the identifiers, I have an excel spreadsheet that helps keep track of the hierarchy and which digits have already been used. For example, F01 is Cameras (Fond 01), the Iloca Quick Series is S01IQ (Series 01 Iloca Quick), the Quick-B Camera Model is SS01B (Sub-Series 01 [Quick] B), etc. Through this naming system, I can tell how many camera models are currently in the digital repository (6) and how many images there currently are (60). I can also ensure there are no repeats in the naming system.

Preservation, Metadata Management

Since the website is hosted by my uncle and has very good security, I am limited only by what my uncle and I are able to puzzle through when it comes to site management. As for preservation, I intend to create a backup of the website using a tool such as HTTrack (Roche, 2016) or SiteSucker (Cranisky, 2015). With these tools, I can create a full backup of the collection’s website, although I will need to do more research into the most appropriate option for my website. I will have to take into account the operating system and the reliability of the backups created by the tools.

Challenges

While trying to pick a metadata standard for the project, I originally started with Dublin Core (Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, 2012) while using Omeka. However, I was quickly frustrated by the simplicity of the descriptions. Since I was working with camera models, I wanted to build a better hierarchy within the metadata that would allow all cameras made by Kodak to link to each other and all the Brownie models to link to each other. When I switched to AtoM, it automatically uses ISAD(G) (UKLON, 2002), but I tried displaying MODS (Library of Congress, 2016) metadata standards, but found them to be too limiting as well. In the end, I continued to use ISAD(G) metadata standards because it offered the best options for describing the items in the collection.

Future Plans

I intend to double-check the uniformity of the metadata in the current records and update descriptions of the cameras with more research information. This research will also allow me to expand my subject headings and apply them more uniformly across the files. I also intend to utilize AtoM’s link digital object feature to add the camera manual .pdfs that are frequently available for online and link the Flickr photo albums that contain photos taken with the cameras. When I go back to North Carolina, I will add the remaining cameras in the collection and update the photos to be more uniform. I will not delete the existing photos, since my brother worked very hard to take them for me. Even after the project has been turned in for the Digital Libraries course, I intend to maintain the website and keep it up as part of a portfolio. Once I have completed the camera portion of the repository, I will add more collections to the repository. AtoM supports more than one collection and I have collections of post cards and vintage books. I will need to create policies for the post card and book collections; since they are mine and not my family’s, I am in complete control of acquisition — to a certain extent.

References

Access to Memory. (2015). AtoM: Open Source Archival Description Software. Retrieved from https://www.accesstomemory.org/en/

Cranisky, R. (2015). SiteSucker for OS X. Retrieved from http://ricks-apps.com/osx/sitesucker/index.html

Dublin Core Metadata Initative. (2012). Dublin Core Metadata Element Set. Retrieved from http://dublincore.org/documents/dces/

Library of Congress. (2016). Metadata Object Description Schema. Retrieved from http://www.loc.gov/standards/mods/

Omeka. (2015). Omeka.net. Retrieved from http://omeka.net/

Roche, X. (2016). HTTrack Website Copier. Retrieved from http://www.httrack.com/page/1/en/index.html

UKLON. (2002). ISAD(G). Retrieved from http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/metadata/cld/formats/isadg/

Vintage Fascination: Cameras

Over the course of the past few years, much to my mother’s chagrin, my family has amassed a small collection of vintage cameras from antique shops, gifts from family and friends, and other unknown origins. Included in this collection are a camera that belonged my mom’s grandma, a camera my dad’s dad bought in Germany, and a camera my dad bought when he wanted to be a photographer (it explains why my dad takes over a thousand photos on our family vacations).

When I was tasked with creating a digital collection based on something I collect, I chose the camera collection. I had been curious about the cameras in it and how old they are since my brother and I got the Polaroid Land Camera Automatic 100 and the Kodak Brownie Flash Six-20 running during summer 2015.

The digital collection can be found at this link and I hope to continue adding cameras to it and maybe other collections, since the platform supports multiple collections.