vra 2012, beyond these four walls, a wealth of images

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Presented by Laura Anne Heller at the Annual Conference of the Visual Resources Association, April 18th - April 21st, 2012, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.Session: Beyond These Four Walls: Optimizing Traditional Collections Through Outreach and Collaboration With the advent of digital technology, image repositories are no longer limited to a single physical presence on campus or in a museum. This provides motivation for creative thinking and prompts the establishment of new working relationships within our own institutions as well as on a national level. As curators, librarians, and faculty become well versed in the use of digital technology, many have been able to optimize the development of their resources through successful collaborative ventures. This session will highlight some of these recent projects at academic institutions, museums, and cultural archives. ORGANIZER & MODERATOR: Karin S. Whalen, Reed College PRESENTERS:• Jen Green, Lamson Library and Learning Commons, Plymouth State University• Marianne Martin, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation• Laura Anne Heller, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum• Stephanie Post, The Metropolitan Museum of Art & Jenni Rodda, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University


  • A Wealth of ImagesDonald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center,National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum,Oklahoma City, OklahomaLaura Anne Heller,Electronic ArchivistBeyond These Four Walls:Optimizing Traditional CollectionsThrough Outreach & CollaborationVRA 30, Albuquerque 2012
  • The Dickinson Research Center The Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center serves as the library and archives of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Its mission is to preserve and document the heritage of the American West for the enrichment of the public. The Dickinson Research Center is actively pursuing collections of personal papers and business and organizational records that reflect and document aspects of Western history, culture, and art. The Center primarily seeks materials in the following five topical areas: Entertainment (Western popular culture), Western Art, Ranching, Native American, and Rodeo.
  • Image Database Archive(IDA) InMagic database catalog from CS/Textworks 9.00 In October 2004, the DRC purchased Inmagic to develop a web-based database of images held in the Center. In September 2005, the Image Database Archive was accessible to online users. http://imagedb.nationalcowboymuseum.org/In magicGenie/opac.aspx Edit Record Screen
  • Image Database Archive(IDA) The public records include a watermark on the JPGs & some metadata concerning the photograph. Patrons cannot download via IDA high-resolution TIFs or low-res JPGs without digital watermarks.
  • Three Rodeo Photo Collections IDA consists largely of collections from 3 major rodeo photographers: Doubleday, Helfrich, & Gregory, totaling 131,078 image records for these photographers alone. Doubleday and Helfrich collections are in IDA in their entirety: records & images. Gregory (85,439 image records) is still being scanned & added to the IDA records.
  • Native American Photo Collections Several archival collections contain photographs of Native Americans: Addison, Cunningham, and Silberman are the largest. Addison (77 images) is in IDA. Cunningham & Silberman is partially included in IDA, and added when scan-on-demand requests come in. These are larger collections, mostly of copy photographs.
  • Historical Photo Collections Some research & photographic collections contain both original & copy photographs of land runs, early towns, settlements, buildings , etc. These are also scanned & added to IDA on a scan-on- demand basis. Many already have records in IDA without the images attached.
  • Permanent Art Collection The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum has a large collection of acquired art, in addition to artwork purchased each year in the Prix de West Art Exhibition & Sale. Some pieces from these collections are in IDA, while others are not. Preference appeared to be popularity of artwork and/or artist.
  • Image Services for Curatorial Staff Curators at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum are the primary users of the collections, which provide authoritative reference supporting the exhibits. Their requests do interrupt projects, but these usually do not impede progress more than a day. I process these on a first- come, first-serve basis. Images are provided on a CD, as prints, or in Staff Common folders on an internal secure server.
  • Image Services for Outside Patrons I get phone calls, emails, letters, & faxes for image requests because patrons have found images in IDA. About 50% of outside requests are from book authors, magazine writers, scholars, & other museum exhibit creators. The other 50% of outside requests are from rodeo performers & their family looking for photos for their personal collections.
  • Receiving Outside Image Requests Most calls, emails, letters, & faxes are sent directly to me because patrons found my info on our website. Others are forwarded to me from the general AskArchives email account. I often spend time on the phone providing instruction for downloading & completing the request forms or searching & finding images in IDA, etc.
  • Use: Museums West The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is a partner of Museums West with 13 other museums. Exhibits created by these partner museums may use images from our collections at no cost of fees, etc., as long as image credit is provided. Occasionally these exhibits draw interested persons to our photograph collections.
  • Use: Magazines NC&WHM publishes Persimmon Hill Magazine, for which editorial staff will request images for articles. NC&WHM also has an agreement with some magazines: Free images for articles as long as NC&WHM has a free advertisement. Other magazines pay production & use fees for each image provided & used in article.
  • Use: Books A childrens book author used A number of authors research images of rodeo cowgirls in a our manuscript collections for scrapbook-designed book. primary materials & in the process find photographs that compliment their text. Depending on scholarly/non- profit or commercial publishing of the book, the use fees of images may vary. This is outlined on our Price Sheet with the Image Request Form. High-res images are provided on CD or via FTP Site.
  • Use: Film & Television Occasionally we receive calls for use of images in documentaries & television programs. Recently OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) requested 6 images of Reba McEntire, her brother Clark McEntire, & radio announcer Clem McSpadden for use in an interview on one of their programs.
  • Image Request Formhttp://www.nationalcowboymuseum.org/research/cms/Services/ImageServices/tabid/94/Default.aspx
  • Photographic Collection Workflow1. Collection of photographs, negatives, & related logbooks or papers arrive. Deed of gift is signed.2. Director discusses with me plans for the collections digitization.3. Summer interns & staff create an inventory of materials.4. Depending on size of photographic collection, a selection of negatives/photos is determined to be scanned, if not entire collection.5. A filename structure is devised.6. Items are scanned as TIFs, saved to secure server, & JPGs are created for use in IDA.7. IDA records are created based on photo description, logbook, and/or writing on photographs.8. JPG images are linked to IDA image records.9. Once collection or selection is scanned, an exhibit either in a gallery or solely online is created and advertised. An article may be written & sent to museums magazine.10. Interns & staff complete print & online finding aids & link to related collections & online exhibits.11. Disseminate and Celebrate.
  • Image filenames Most photographic collections are assigned an accession number, RC2012.010.(RCyear + collection # + item #) For every photographic item the filename may read: RC2012.010.001 RC2012.010.002 RC2012.010.003 We have not scanned manuscripts materials such as letters, financial records, etc., only photographic items. Except for a FEW items
  • Challenges: Silberman Images The Silberman Collection poses an issue with the filename structure. Some artwork, photographs, & negatives have been scanned & numbered. However, theres no existing record outlining the file structure for the entire collection. Cannot determine what numbers are safe to use & have not been assigned, and which ones are already assigned to photographs, artwork, & negatives.
  • Challenges: Silberman Images Solution: Hire intern to work Currently, some filenames are solely with Silberman correct: 1996.027.0855.TIF collection to inventory item numbers already assigned, log Others are randomly which ones have been numbered with collection scanned, and identify numbers name: Silberman13.TIF available to use. Others include the collection The collection needs a accession number, then consistent filename structure. box+folder number merged, & the item number: 1996.017.11856.06.TIF
  • Challenges: Consistency Previous staff cataloged photographs in IDA before they were ever scanned. Some have been cataloged for years & still have not been scanned. Preferred order would be to scan photographs, then create IDA record, & update with JPG. Currently I prioritize requests for images that are listed as No Image Available as the orders come in.
  • Challenges: Access & Copyright Some imagery have been scanned that we do not own copyright on: Lobby Cards, Film Stills, etc. Most of this imagery was cataloged & then JPGs attached to the records. Im consolidating image records into one per film title (Example: Belle Starr, 1941) http://imagedb.nationalcowboymuseum.org/I nmagicGenie/opac.aspx
  • Outreach: ImagesMost learn about our image collections through: Google searches for Highlighted photos shared family names, art on our Facebook fanpage. titles, artist names, and place names. Professor & DRC staff guided introductions to Credit lines in our collections during publications, exhibits, etc appointment-made tours. .
  • Outreach: Oral History Interviews 2 Oral History Projects:(1) Rodeo Performers(2) Western Contemporary Artists I create Youtube- compatible brief clips to promote the interview online. These are usually 10 minutes or shorter. http://www.youtube.co m/NCWHMuseum/
  • Outreach: Oral History Interviews
  • Outreach: Oral History Interviews I share these Youtube links on our Facebook page & send emails to art professors concerning updates to the interview playlist. The Museum also has its own Facebook page, in addition to a Twitter account, so I collaborate with our Public Relations & Marketing departments to share the links and blurbs for updated interviews & playlists. Rodeo interviews are announced to rodeo organizations, authors, & related professionals. These are also collaboratively shared across both DRC and NCWHM social media accounts.
  • Collaboration A large number of artworks & artifacts have no visual representation. Currently, visual images are created on-demand. When the Registrar has new photography scheduled, I am informed. I can then expect and schedule reminders to receive these images. Once received, these images are added to our Image Database Archive with complete records.
  • Collaboration The DRC collaborates with a professor & college students in his Art of the West course for extra credit projects. One semester I assigned small photographic collections to be scanned & saved according to our procedures. Another semester I assigned 15 minute clips to be transcribed from artist interviews. These were moderate successes.
  • Conclusion As a small archives with a big vision, were always looking for ways to promote & make accessible our collections to a wider audience.