I gave a quick “tour” of the Morton collection recently to a group of local archivists who specialize in audio-visual materials, and after explaining a bit to them about the file naming scheme we’ve adopted, they suggested I share it on the blog. WARNING: some may find this a bit dry, but hopefully it will be useful (or at least mildly interesting) to others.
All the scanning David’s doing presents a number of challenges, one of which is how to name the digital files he creates. Some quick background: as I briefly explained in my post on mass digitization, we are going about scanning in a somewhat unusual manner, in that we’re beginning to scan the collection in the middle of processing it, rather than waiting until the end. We’re doing this because 1) we don’t want to wait that long to make Morton’s images available on the web, and 2) we’re hoping to use scanning as a processing tool, helping us to view negatives more easily and to bring like materials (e.g., images shot at the same event but on different film formats) back together again.
For these and other reasons, we decided to base our naming/numbering system on the format of the original item. For one thing, when you’re looking at a scanned image, you have no way to tell whether the original was a print, a negative, slide, transparency, etc.—we wanted the file name to give us this information. So, here’s an sample image and file name:
—P081 is our collection number for the Hugh Morton
—N stands for negative (this could also be “P” for positive)
—T stands for transparency (this could also be “R” for reflective, e.g., a photographic print)
—B stands for black & white (this could also be “C” for color)
—F stands for film pack (this could also be “S” for sheet film, “R” for roll film, “P” for print, or “M” for mounted slide)
—3 indicates the size of the original, in this case 3″ x 4″ (this could also be 4 for 4″x5″, 2 for 35mm, 8 for an 8″ x 10″ print, or one of the many other numeric codes we came up with to indicate size)
—The six digit number is our running “lot” number to provide a unique identified for every image
—The last two digit number indicates the frame number (only film packs and roll films have this)
Here’s another sample—see if you can decipher this image’s original format.
And while we’re at it, does anyone know who these gentlemen are? I recognize Gen. William Westmoreland (2nd from left), and former NC Governor James Holshouser in the middle, but I need help with the others.
We’re not far enough along in our process yet to fully judge the usefulness of this naming scheme, but it does seem that it would be most applicable to collections with very little existing organization (like the Morton). We’ll let you know how it goes. Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions?