The UMD Digitization Center in Digital Conversion and Media Reformatting uses several online resources to assist with identification and metadata for the objects we digitize. The following list contains the most frequently used reference resources.
Library of Congress Authorities
“An authority record is a tool used by librarians to establish forms of names (for persons, places, meetings, and organizations), titles, and subjects used on bibliographic records. Authority records enable librarians to provide uniform access to materials in library catalogs and to provide clear identification of authors and subject headings.”
Librarians use authority headings to help to identify objects and to link similar objects together through a catalog. Our digitization assistants use subject and name authority records to enhance metadata records for digitized objects. Using these headings allows us to link all objects on the same topic or person together. For example, if a user wants to search for an image of and searches Digital Collections using the subject heading “Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain, 1926-,” they are taken to all of the images and films of the Queen of England across the digital collections, primarily from the “Queen’s Game” in 1957: http://digital.lib.umd.edu/results?query1=Elizabeth+II%2C+Queen+of+Great+Britain%2C+1926-&index1=dmSubject. When the digital collection records are harvested into the WorldCat Local catalog at UMD, series of images can be linked to books and documents on the same subject or person.
Thesaurus for Graphic Materials
“The Thesaurus for Graphic Materials is a tool for indexing visual materials by subject and by genre/format. The thesaurus includes more than 7,000 subject terms and 650 genre/format terms to index types of photographs, prints, design drawings, ephemera, and other pictures.”
The assistants in the Digitization Center use the Thesaurus for Graphic Materials to describe photographs, prints, drawings, ephemera, and similar objects in metadata records. Like the LC Authorities, the TGM genre and format types are also imported into the catalog and used to link like-items together. For example, if a user wants to search for an image of a shop and searches Digital Collections using the subject heading “Stores & shops,” they are taken to all of the images using this heading, across the digital collections: http://digital.lib.umd.edu/results?query1=Stores+%26+shops&index1=dmSubject.
The University of Maryland, the State of Maryland, or the Federal government created many of the objects digitized in the Digitization Center so we can make these surrogates freely available to the public. However, many objects are copyrighted and patrons who wish to use them must seek permission from the copyright holder. We use several blanket statements for specific collections or genres of materials. Our digitization assistants add copyright status information in the metadata based on collection information, format information, and creation or publication dates. They occasionally use this copyright slider tool to assist with the status decisions: http://librarycopyright.net/resources/digitalslider/.
National Trust Library Historic Postcard Collection
Since 2007, the UMD Libraries has been systematically digitizing postcards from the National Trust Library Historical Postcard Collection: http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/11274. The digitization assistants identify the type of postcard using TGM genre terms, but they identify the type of postcard by using these two resources, which provide details of the style and paper to help identify the type of postcard:
Greetings from the Smithsonian: A Postcard History of the Smithsonian Institution: http://siarchives.si.edu/history/exhibits/postcard/chronology.htm
Tips for determining when a U.S. postcard was published: http://www.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/M194/PostcardDating.htm
Other Identification Tools
Collection managers have usually identified materials by the time we receive them for digitization. They may use some of the following tools while processing a collection. While we do not use these tools frequently, they are useful in some aspects of digitization.
The Graphic Atlas from the Image Permanence Institute “presents a unique, object-based approach for the identification and characterization of prints and photographs.”
Media Formats & Resources
Media Formats & Resources is part of a privately-maintained website by Richard L. Hess. While the media formats and descriptions are extensive, he does not list the measurements or include photos for identification.
Field Audio Collection Evaluation Tool (FACET)
Indiana University Bloomington created this audio identification tool in 2007. It features identifying characteristics for most audio formats, and provides useful images and dimensions for identification.
Videotape Identification and Assessment Guide
The Texas Commission on the Arts produced the Videotape Identification and Assessment Guide, which features characteristics for most video formats, and provides useful images and dimensions for identification.
A/V Artifact Atlas
“The goal of AVAA is to advance the audiovisual archiving field generally by strengthening the practice of reformatting archival media content. Archivists can improve the outcomes of their media preservation efforts if they can properly identify and characterize signal issues and anomalies.”
The A/V Artifact Atlas features descriptions and video or audio clips of many common analog and digital video and audio issues. Our Digitization Center staff occasionally uses the AVAA to corroborate issues heard during quality assurance of an audio file.