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Thread: archiving dilema

  1. #1

    archiving dilema

    hi all

    i don't have much material in my archive, say 500 35mm contacts (neg) and 800 120 contacts (neg) and maybe about 500 sheets of 4x5.

    up till now, as something i did in my spare time, i have just numbered everything sequentially and put the negs together with the contacts in binders and marked the spines accordingly.

    however things have started to get a wee bit complicated, i have taken on a couple of commercial jobs, like this one:

    and started a new archive for this particular project with it's own numbering, as i considered it "apart" from "my" work.

    then i have "my" work like this, done over 3 seperate trips at 3 different times:

    which i don't know if i should archive in one "bunch" or keep to the sequential (and chronological) system i've been using up to now, and have this work spread over 3 different parts of the archive.

    i really don't want a computer generated super index system, just a simple manual solution, do i keep things strictly chronological? or start to subdivide according to personal/commercial projects...

    any experience would be greatly appreciated.



  2. #2
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Rio Rancho, NM

    Re: archiving dilema

    There are lots of ways to tackle the objective. Which method works best depends, in part, on how one needs to access or find individual images and whether they will also have a digital side to their presentation (i.e. displayed on the Web), I think.

    What I started doing a few years back was organizing by project or subject, and filing the negative sheets accordingly. In addition to the "long" project/subject name, I assign a short letter abbreviation, and append the month and year in the MMYY form. That gets around the issue of multiple shoots at a particular location over time. So, a shoot in Yosemite National Park in October of 2005, say, might become YNP1005, for example. Rolls get a numeric roll number, and sheets get an alphabetic sheet designator, and 4x5s get an alpha position designator, too. This method also creates "unique" file names for the scans.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Pasadena, CA

    Re: archiving dilema


    Great photos of that Gehry building!

    Is that the winery in Ontario? I'm just guessing here...

    Also, how did you get access to the site?

    I have a site of photographs documenting the construction of the Walt Disney Concert Hall here: mostly taken with a digi P+S for the early ones and a Canon D30 for the later.

    Great job...

  4. #4

    Re: archiving dilema

    hi and thanks (mr. piano!)

    i see that you have lived the same type of construction! just thrilling working on a gehry project, i felt many times that the whole constuction process was being done just for my personal pleasure!

    it was a commercial project for the propriotors, marques de riscal winary in northern spain, the building is now a "strarwood luxury collection" hotel. the photos on my site are really a personal project - displayed as diptics - derived form the main project which is much more thorough and chronological.

    thanks again

  5. #5
    Daniel Geiger

    Re: archiving dilema

    - First thing, whatever you use, use it consistently. STRICTLY chronologically, STRICTLY by subject, or whatever you want to use. Continuous numbering is the most flexible down the road (as you have done already).
    - Second, your main ordering principle should be your most important one. If time line is most important, do time line; if architect is most important, then classify by architect.
    - If you want to find items by two different mechanisms (either time or architect) then you need to cross reference with the help of an external system. Say you do it mainly chronologically, then you will have to have a card catalog with a card for each architect where you then enter under Gehry (October 2005, March 2006). If you also want to have one distinguishing steel frame from wood frame houses, then you need new cards for each category (and you have to make entries on or more cards).

    I hear your reluctance to use a computer system. I started my FileMaker database about 15 years ago (mainly nature-natural history: sorted primarily by classifcation sponge to fish), and once a friend asked me for shots of pelagic animals. With only about 3000 images catalogued, I thought I still remembered. But lo and behold entering "animalia" in the classification field and "open water" for habitat, I came across some images I had not remembered.

    As your image library grows, your intial categories will need to be redefined, and for an effective search, you need to do searches on any number of combination of terms. That is where a database shines, particularly if memory gets fuzzy. I took some picture of a spider (I have about 1000 spider images), during some trip to Europe (I go about once a year to Europe). That narrows it down to about 50 shots, and with the integrated thumbnails I am on it within a minute. Similarly, people may search for particular film/developer combinations shot with a red filter. Try that with a card catalogue. You would have to have the film card, the developer card and the filter card out, and scan across to find an image/time which is found on all three cards. What a nightmare!

    I am a strong advocate of building your own customized database (the canned version just never quite do what I/you want). It is not that difficult, and very rewarding in the end. It is also time efficient in the end, as you don't have to chase down different index cards every single time; just one entry screen, that's it. The upfront cost is a bit higher, but down the road it becomes much quicker.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    The Beach, FL

    Re: archiving dilema

    I have created a system that combines the subject index and the chronological order methodology. I have created subject categories and abbreviated them to 3 letters. Abstract = ABS, Architecture = ARC, etc., etc.. I then use a 5 digit sequential number starting at 00101. The 3rd digit was the page indicator for that Subject section. I assumed that I would never have more then 999 pages in a section or 99 on a page, so the numbering scheme works pretty well if that's the case.

    Let me break it down ARC00109 = "ARC" is the subject category. "001" is the page number, I can have up to 999 pages in a Subject category, if you think you will have more add another 0 for "0001. The last two numbers, "09" is the image number for that page.

    I was originally storing 35mm slides in page files separated by subject. If someone wanted to see image ARC00109 I knew that it would be in the Architecture section on the 1st page in the 9th place on the page. If someone wants TRA00417 then I know it's in the transportation section on the 4th page in the 17th place. If your mixing film sizes, it also works well for that because you can throw in a page of 35mm slides or a page of 4x5s in a page file and it doesn't mess up the numbering.

    A workflow would be to place an image in a subject category and then find the last image in that category. If you only have 1 image in that category you would name this image ARC00102. It is the second image on the first page of the architecture category. When you make a scan of this image you can name it ARC00102r (for RAW or oRginal) If you keep digital files then all you have to do is create a folder called Originals and a sub folder for each subject. drop the file in the subject category and your done. If you like to keep web jpegs for posting on the web create a folder Called web-jpegs and duplicate the subject categories and put the web jpeg in there for web use. This works pretty well with a program like Iview MediaPro because you can see it all at once.

    However, it's not a perfect system because if you shoot digital it makes it difficult to use. The question is how do you integrate files that originated as digital capture and maintain the numbering system? I am still working on this. I am in the process of putting all my digital files and 35mm scans into my own online stock archive, so I will have to tackle this problem this week. If your interested I can let you know what I come up with.

    Hopes this helps.

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