Digital North Carolina Blog

Digital North Carolina Blog

This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from institutions across North Carolina.

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DigitalNC works from home: expanding photograph descriptions

As work from home continues for all of us at the Digital Heritage Center, we are getting the opportunity to dive into some long shelved cleanup projects from our migration into the TIND content management system.

One that we are excited to work through right now is creating better, individualized, description on sets of photographs that previously were only described in a single record.  In our previous content management system, ContentDM, there was a hierarchy built into the system that supported parent and child records that had different metadata.  So for example, a batch of photographs that one wanted to title at the parent level as “Wilson, NC Businesses” could also have individual child records that had titles such as “Food Lion, 1975.” 

screenshot of a content management system

 The object description (minimized here) is the child level record and applies only to the main image seen above, while the description is the parent level record and applied to every image on the right.

 

 View of a “compound object” photograph set in the new system – the separated out descriptions are mostly lost here.

When we moved into our new content management system, those individual titles were dropped down to a file description that did not go in the main record or was easy to view.  As a result, we made the decision to break up those batches of photographs so that each one shows up individually in a search with its own set of metadata.  That has required pulling down a spreadsheet of the parent level metadata and then converting it to apply individually to each photograph and re-uploading it into TIND.  This has also allowed us to add useful metadata such as geolocation coordinates to images of particular places which could be useful someday if we enable mapping technology in our content management system. While a bit tedious, we believe this is broadening access to some really great photographs from our partners and made them more accessible on our site. 

Search results

Search results view for a group of photos now individually listed – previously were all grouped under one vague title

Screenshot of a metadata record for a tobacco warehouse

This photograph now has more specific metadata describing it, including geo-coordinates, which makes it more useful to users.

Projects like this keep us busy working from home despite being a digitization shop – maintenance is always an important part of this work and this unexpected time away from our scanners is giving us the ability to focus on our existing materials a lot closer. 

Want to see all our image collections in DigitalNC?  Visit Images of North Carolina here.


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