Currently viewing the tag: "CAT question"

Today, I started out continuing the authority work on the Photographic Slide CAT spreadsheet. I focused on the 6xx and 7xx fields, looking up names as well as topical and geographical subjects. While most of these terms were found using the AMNH OPAC or Library of Congress authorities, again the issue arose of several names I could not find. If this issue occurs, as I assume it does in almost any institution, I wonder what the proper procedure is for dealing with this?

This afternoon Iris and I began labeling some of the slide collections. As we began this right after lunch, we eagerly grabbed the first two boxes in need of labeling, thinking this would be a swift and efficient process. Wrong!

Our first collection was PSC 34, slides of the Hall of Human Biology under construction. Each slide is to be labeled by collection number and the slide label in sequential order (e.g. Slide Collection 34, the slides will be numbered 34-1, 34-2, etc). However, there is often more than one exposure made from the same image, a process called ‘bracketing for exposure.’ The standard procedure for dealing with this process is to select the best exposure first, and follow the duplicates with the same number and an added letter suffix of “A,” “B,” or “C” (e.g. 34-1, 34-1A, 34-1B).

Sounds straightforward enough, right? In a perfect world yes, but there are about 600 slides in this collection, and the duplicates were spread out over the entire box! Luckily the standard procedure is to number slides using a #2 pencil, because we often had to erase numbers and reorder slides when we came across another duplicate of a previously labeled slide. We got about a quarter of the way through PSC 34 before it was time to end the day. This is definitely a more tedious (albeit necessary) process than we assumed.

Once these slides are processed and put into the library catalog, it will end up being much safer to loan them out with numbers and labels, preventing them from being lost or facing our most feared foe – dissociation!

As the weekend begins, I leave you with this image from another collection. Any guesses as to what this contraption is called? And notice how it is already nicely labeled for us.

I find myself spending a little extra time with T. Don Carter these days, as new materials seem to keep surfacing, along with an evolving orientation on my part toward the arrangement, description and separation criteria of what is now 5 or possibly 6, or possibly 7, distinct but connected collections (Papers, Field Books, Memorabilia, Photographic Prints, Photographic Negatives, Slides, Film). What’s especially interesting as this project expands somewhat, is thinking about how these materials can perhaps be linked in terms of subject and content through encoding and cataloging. How can the disparate but related collections “talk” to each other and provide researchers with the wealth of related primary source materials to enhance their research: not just the field book, but photos of the specimens as well, on top of which the camera itself used to take the photos, as well as the photo contact sheets, etc. This range of materials on a single topic reinforce one another and provide rich historical texture in their variety.