The Process of Archiving the Past

By Rose Heckmann-Kurtz

The St.img_1240 Augustine Historical Society Research Library is located on Aviles Street and is home to a large collection of many things including books, newspapers, and photographs. Many of their photographs sit in boxes wanting to archived. The goal of my internship here is to archive their oversized photographs, which used to reside in cabinets in a room under the library. They now reside in boxed numbered 1 to 11. Each box contains an assortment of photographs and negatives from as early as the 1880’s all the way to the 2010’s.  They can hold anywhere from 20 to over 50 photographs.
The process starts off with sorting and identifying the photographs, but there is a volunteer that already started that part, so I started the process by scanning them in to Photoshop and giving them a name that correlates to where they are in the box, for example if the photograph was in box 10 and it was the fifth photograph it would be B10os5, box 10 oversized photograph number 5. I found out that this is not only the slowest part of the process but easiest part of it.

The next part of the process is describing the photographs, giving them a title and keywords. This is all done in a program called Bridge. This one of the longest parts of the process, you can spend upwards of one hour making a description for one photograph. While doing the descriptions you have to not only describe the photograph, but you must also put what number it is (1,2,3, etc.) the size of the photograph, the color (Sepia Black and white, etc.), and any other information (date, photographer, negative number, etc.).img_1224

The last part of the process is putting everything into a program called Past Perfect. This is the main archival program used by many historical societies. All the information, including the photograph will be uploaded on to the program and go into the official digital archives. I have yet to start this step of the process, but will be starting on it soon.


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