Christmas is coming, which also means our one-year IDThemDays project (full name as Labrador Image Identification and Dissemination Initiative Phase II) is coming to its end. It will be finished by the end of January 2019, but it does not mean all the work will be done by then! We still have thousands of unidentified or unorganized photos in our massive collection. To let you have an idea of what I have been doing with this project so far, I would like to write this blog to introduce it with some details.
First of all, our negative collection is organized by locations and we assigned ID numbers to photos from different regions in Labrador, so the goal of this project is to identify those photos labeled as “miscellaneous” and move them to the right sections. Most of them do not have any information or very little, so we need to look at each photo and try to find the information through different ways.
Some might be quite obvious, because we know the people, houses or landscapes. For example the photo Misc2771 was relocated to Makkovik section as H613, because we know it is Moravian Church in Makkovik.
While others might be quite difficult if no obvious clues found. In this case, if we know the donor who has some identified photos in our collection, we can then compare this one with them, and we may find the information we need.
For example, photo Misc2657 was from Bessie Flynn, and we already have a few photos from her in Forteau section. Eventually we found that Misc2657 was related to one of them, Z44, so the new ID number Z173 replaced it.
Z173, used to be in Miscellaneous secion
Sometimes we may find that many miscellaneous photos are actually duplicates. We purchased a software in 2016 to identify duplicate photos, and it was helpful for us to locate hundreds of duplicates, although it did not catch everything.
So whenever we come across a photo which somehow looks familiar, we go to the possible collections to see if it is a duplicate or at least relate to some others photos. This probably is the most time-consuming part because you have to go through every single photo in one or more sections. (You may ask how and why you would feel that a photo looks familiar.Well, you just gain a sense after having been looking at photos everyday. )
For example, Misc2793, we felt it could be in Sandwich Bay area because we have seen some photos in a similar style, so we looked at photos in N section (which represents Sandwich Bay region in our number system), and after comparing with hundreds of photos, we found N810! Which is the exact same photo!
N810 used to be Miscellaneous 2794
If there are absolutely no information, we will ask for help by posting photos online or invite people come to a photo identification event or turn to people who might be an expert in identifying old photos from certain regions. We had many photos identified through these ways.
For instance, the photo below was identified after posted in social media. And we relocated it to M section(Happy Valley-Goose bay) with their names described.
Now is M2530
And this one blew was identified in our last photo identification event on 14 Nov. 2018
Now is K885
Then comes to the next step after a photo identified. In our archives, once a photo identified, there are 4 following steps to complete it.
Firstly, a number starting with a letter, which indicates its location will be assigned to it. Secondly, a photo card and a database entry including the photo descriptions will be created. They usually include the information such as: locations, date, description, source and negative number. Thirdly, the digital photo will be moved to the right section. Lastly, the negative will be relocated physically as well.
For example, Misc2707 was identified with all the information after we posted it online. As it was taken in Postville, we assigned an ID number H614 to it. Then we created a photo card and database entry for it, and relocated the photo and negative.
H614 photo card. We reuse cards
We continue to use and update our catalog cards even Access database available now, because we find it is still helpful especially for those cards who have contacts attached .
Database entry H000.614 created as well
Photo moved to H section
So basically that’s what I have been doing since January. It might not be as straightforward as described above, because each case varies a lot when you handle different photos/negatives. And please follow us in social media and help with #IDThemDays!
This project is funded by the Government of Canada. | Ce projet est financé par le gouvernement du Canada.