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Forest History Society Digitization Program

A number of people have asked the Forest History Society (FHS) for advice about digitizing image collections, so we are providing the information below for those who wish to know more specific details about the scanning and cataloging procedures we are using to create a catalog of our photographic collection. If you have additional questions, please contact Photographic Archivist Eben Lehman.

Cataloging Software

The Forest History Society is cataloging its photograph collection in DB/Textworks, a database software program designed by InMagic. DB/Textworks is very easy to work with in terms of designing data entry screens, search screens, and report forms, but the primary reason FHS selected this piece of software is its ability to display thumbnail images alongside text within catalog records.

A search of our catalog will return a report form that shows cataloging information from fields we choose to display, such as photo captions and subject headings, as well as the image itself. We believe this is a highly useful tool and are quite pleased with the results we have experienced so far. FHS uses InMagic's Presto software to make its image catalog searchable online.


Database Field Structure

FHS designed its Image Database based on the field structure outlined by the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, an organization that supports shared metadata design and best practices. Below are listed the fields included in the FHS image catalog, corresponding Dublin Core field names (if applicable), and information about the way FHS formats data within each field.

  • Image Scan Location: Physical storage location of scanned image. Corresponds to Dublin Core "Identifier" field.
  • Thumbnail Location: Physical storage location of scanned thumbnail.
  • Thumbnail2 Location: Physical storage location of smaller thumbnail2 image created as a by-product of creating photo galleries in Adobe Photoshop.
  • Tiff Location: Physical storage location of scanned .tif image.
  • Scan Properties: Resolution and pixel limitation of various versions of scanned images.
  • Image Title: Brief title describing image content. Corresponds to Dublin Core "Title" field.
  • Image Caption: Full caption of image. Corresponds to Dublin Core "Description" field.
  • Image Date: Date photo taken. Corresponds to Dublin Core "Date" field.
  • Subjects: Time frame; geographic location; persons or organizations; and other general subject information represented in the image content. Pull information from caption and title of photo, from folder heading title under which photo is filed, and from a visual check of photograph. Has a validation list that may be updated by data entry person override. Corresponds to Dublin Core "Coverage" field and Dublin Core "Subject" field.
  • Type of View: Record whether action, exterior, or interior shot; landscape scene or portrait (individual or group); landscape or portrait orientation. Has a validation list that may be updated by data entry person override.
  • Formats and Sizes: Information about (1) number and size of original images and negatives, and (2) whether images are black/white or color (i.e., 4" x 5" negative -- 2 copies; 3" x 5" B/W print -- 2 copies; 5" x 7" color print; etc.). Corresponds to Dublin Core "Relation" field. 
  • Copyright Holder: FHS uses: "Forest History Society", "Public Domain", or "[unknown]". Corresponds to Dublin Core "Rights" field.
  • Photographer: "Lastname, Firstname MiddleName". If photographer's employer commissioned the photo, include name of employer (i.e., "Jones, Bill, for the U.S. Forest Service"). Corresponds to Dublin Core "Creator" field.
  • USFS Negative Number: FHS uses "U.S. Forest Service photo -- negative number X" (replacing "X" with the actual number or leaving the entire field empty if the image is not a U.S. Forest Service photograph.)
  • Credit Line: Suggested credit line. FHS uses "Photo courtesy of the Forest History Society, Durham, N.C." or a variation thereof (i.e. "American Forest Products Institute photo courtesy of the Forest History Society, Durham, N.C.").
  • Remarks: Remarks or notes about the condition of the original images (i.e., tears, poor image quality, caption taped to back of photo, negative numbers, crop markings, etc.).
  • Catalog Date: Date catalog record created (i.e., "12/3/2001").
  • Cataloged By: Cataloger's initials.
  • Updated: Most recent date edits were made to a record (i.e., "9/14/2000").
  • Updated By: Initials of the cataloger making updates to the record.
  • Image ID: Unique image identifier number.
  • Location of Original: Physical filing location of the original image (i.e., building, file cabinet drawer, folder heading, etc.)
  • Collection Name: Name of the photograph or manuscript/archival collection of which image is a part. Corresponds to Dublin Core "Publisher" field (in conjunction with Repository -- "Repository. Collection Name").
  • Repository: Name of repository that holds the image. Corresponds to Dublin Core "Publisher" field (in conjunction with Collection Name -- "Repository. Collection Name").
  • Repository Address: Mailing address of holding repository.

Cataloging Policy

  • No field is left empty except for the "USFS Negative Number" field, which is left empty only if the image is not a U.S. Forest Service photo.
    • In the "Image Date" field, "[no date]" is used if date of photo is unknown.
    • In the "Remarks" field, "[none]" is used if no remarks are made.
    • In the "Updated By" and "Updated" fields, "n/a" is used if there is no information.
    • For all other fields, "[unknown]" is used if there is no information.
  • Square brackets [ ] are used to surround any text arbitrarily added by the cataloger (i.e., if there is no caption to the photo and the cataloger provides one, it should be enclosed in [ ]).

Scanning Parameters

  • Photos are scanned in "Grayscale" (8-bit) mode for black-and-white and sepia-toned images or in "True Color" mode (reads as RGB Color in Photoshop) for color photos.
  • Only minor adjustments are made to clarify toning, brightness, and contrast levels of digitized images. Scanned images should accurately resemble the quality and tone of the original photograph. Cropping is kept to a minimum.
  • Master archival .tif images are created at 300 dpi resolution with no pixel size limitation.
  • Master .jpg images are created at 150 dpi resolution with a maximum height or width limitation of 700 pixels.
  • Thumbnail .jpg images are created at 75 dpi resolution with a maximum height or width limitation of 300 pixels. The letters "th" are added to the end of the file name before the .jpg extension. For smaller-sized images and small negatives, dpi resolution is raised to 150 so that the image is big enough to easily view. Using Adobe Photoshop software, a new text layer with the text "May Be Protected By Copyright" is created and added to the thumbnail image, which is then flattened and saved.
  • Smaller thumbnail2 .jpg images are created from thumbnails by running thumbnails through Adobe Photoshop's Web Photo Gallery application. The letters "th2" are added to the end of the file name before the .jpg extension.


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Updated: February 8, 2013