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Digitization of the FHS Photograph Collection

In the year 2000 the Forest History Society (FHS) began an ambitious project to create new digital versions of selected collections in its Alvin J. Huss Archives. A generous contribution by Champion International Corporation in memory of Mr. Alvin J. Huss allowed the Society to begin developing plans for the initial phase of the project -- digitization of the Society's collection of over 25,000 historic photographs. The photo digitization project involves producing digital versions of the Society's photographs and providing accompanying descriptive catalog information in an Image Database that is searchable via our web site.

This pilot project is one that will benefit our patrons by increasing their level of access to our materials, and one that will allow our staff to provide a higher level of efficient reference assistance and to better conceptualize future phases of the Society's digitization program.

Digitization of the FHS photograph collection will also help to preserve original photographic images by reducing the wear and tear to which they are subjected during research use. We hope you share our excitement about this new endeavor, and we thank you for your continuing support of our outreach efforts!

The digitization project is supported by the Alvin J. Huss Endowment for Digitization and Outreach of the Archives. The endowment was augmented with funds from a Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Organization of the FHS Image Database

To produce the catalog, the society is using InMagic DB/Textworks software, a powerful database management program designed for and targeted primarily toward libraries. The in-house database includes such information as photo ID numbers; the physical storage location of both the original photographs and the electronic images; photo dates, captions, and titles; names of photographers; subject headings; copyright ownership; and credit lines. In addition to the detailed cataloging information assigned to a scanned image, each record displays a small thumbnail image, thus producing a complete catalog record having both visual and textual content. The FHS archives staff have designed a number of reports that DB/Textworks can generate to serve reference, accounting, and maintenance needs.

InMagic's Web Publisher Lite software makes the FHS Image Database searchable via the Internet. Search results display thumbnail images along with selected cataloging information for each image. A less detailed set of information about digitized photos is browsable through sample photo galleries organized by subject areas currently represented in the FHS Image Database. New subject-specific galleries are added as new images are scanned and cataloged.

Our Digitization Strategy web page provides specific information about the FHS image catalog's field structure and contents as well as the scanning parameters and cataloging procedures we are using. Additional information about the FHS photograph collection, including links to pages describing our service fees, use fees, and application for permission to use photographic images, is available on our Photograph Collection page. Photo researchers should contact Photographic Archivist Eben Lehman for reference assistance.

Updated: February 8, 2013