The value in photographs is noted “in our culture because they are inexpensive, easy to acquire, and serve as accurate, detailed records of our environment and activities" (Schmidle, 1996). But, many challenges are presented to the archivist and librarian by the discovered or donated collection of photographs because in their abundance and variety, they can surpass all other forms of information housed in institutions. For a university archives, holdings include photographs culled from manuscript collections, from individual photographers and alumni, but the majority come from in-house production. For the librarian, the provenance of the photographs will be as varied as the images themselves. This article seeks to answer the question: What are we going to do with these file cabinets of photographs? Solutions and examples of how to deal with these are quite wide-ranging. This paper will review how an archivist and a photograph librarian/curator in a special collections department, are adapting cataloging strategies to meet the demands of researchers in the digital age, while foregoing item level processing and reducing cataloging time. The article also reviews familiar obstacles and alternatives in providing access to these collections.
- Western Kentucky University
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/slathrop/8/