Cataloging Images in Library, Archive, and Museum

Cataloging Images in Library, Archive, and Museum

Lili Shakhsi (Oslo University College, Norway)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1653-8.ch007
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This research was supposed to illustrate the process of image cataloging in a library, an archive and a museum in Oslo. In all researched places catalogers are treating the photo as a historical document. It was interesting to know whether the cataloging process is structured in sort of controlled way or no. And gathering some information around usage of hand books or thesaurus and investigating the helpful competences in work place was expected. In worth mentioning that not much research has been done in this practice. The results clarified in general prospect that there is a gap between theory and practice. International standards are not recognized as required tools for cataloging in none of the focused places. Outcomes presented that interviewees think that learning by doing is the key factor in work development. Interviewees have some creative and self-made tools which are based on experiences rather than academic background. Due to this research, there might be requirement for deeper studies in order to come up with better recommendations.
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  • AAT: Art and architecture thesaurus

  • OM: Oslo Museum

  • CMC: Computer Meditated Communication

  • IRC: Internet Relay Chat

  • MeSH: Medical Subject Heading

  • TGM: Thesaurus for Graphic Materials

  • CHIN: Canadian Heritage Information Network

  • LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings

  • ULAN: Union List of Artist Names

  • NIE: National Library of Estonia

  • ELNET: Eesti Raamatukoguvõrgu Konsortsium (Estonian Libraries Network Consortium)



Images are much more than a simple record. They are visual form of different subject in wide variation of fields which try to cover daily human needs either informational or emotional. When it comes to Photos, the fixed format of images, it is tangible that photographs can grab our attention and speak directly to our emotions. This impulse to save our recorded memories is a powerful force which tells us much about the role of photography in our lives and our constant desire to distil our most precious moments into images. (“6 Reasons Why Photography Matters,” n.d.) In this area building comprehensive and coherent database is a sort of need, which is an increasingly interdisciplinary task when the collection is somehow narrative. As a supplementary necessity of each and every source, there is a high demand for a deep study on usability and accessibility requirements.For achieving this goal technology and theory play vital roles. When it comes to non-technical aspects, structure of indexing, archiving and cataloging as the key point can be field of extended analysis. Because the mentioned area is quite sensitive since process of translating or transferring a visual object in to textual format is taking place. Obviously, there is a risk of ambiguity, error or data drop for many reasons; either unsustainable working approaches or lack of expertise. In order to make the subject access more successful in this domain, we may need a precise action in describing, identification and interpretation of visual materials by using sort of guidelines, for covering aboutnesses and offnesses. Of course the principle of experts’ collaboration should be highlighted here

In this study the main idea is analyzing and observing the application of librarianship in cataloging historical photos. This research will be supported by some semi structured interviews from those who are dealing with visual archives and photo collections. Required data will be gathered in qualitative way. During this research the technical issues won’t be under focus. It is interesting to see how useful subject headings or thesauri are. The main goal is explicating the process of cataloging by observing the cataloger behavior in qualitative way, so problem solving in cataloging process is far from approaches of this case. Oslo city museum, Arbark and Bekkestua library are focus points for this research. All these three places are holding historical photos in their collection.

Whole thesis will circulate around these research questions;

  • 1.

    What are the most important common features of cataloging photos in the focus institutions

  • 2.

    To what extent are catalogers interested in following international standards?

  • 3.

    What are the helpful competences for image cataloger?

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