Wednesday, February 25, 2009

State Archives of Florida - Florida Memory Program

This collection is presented and maintained by the State Archives of Florida, as part of the Florida Memory Program, which also includes other unique collection features like an online classroom, timelines, and links. The photographic collection contains approximately 154,000 digitized photos and some video clips, both individual and as part of several online exhibits.

The collection in its physical form was first established in 1952 by way of a gift from Allen Covington Morris, a journalist and historian who compiled the photographs for his writings. Though it proves to be a somewhat artificial collection assembled without a major thematic component, the photographs document the “people of Florida,” their families, work and pastimes. The collection is continuing to grow and develop. The criteria seems to be all encompassing so that the entire body of photographs from this collection may be scanned and made available online. The collection is further divided through genre, so it may be that more significantly historical persons or subjects are prioritized in the digitization process.

The metadata is available at different levels of the collection. The collection level metadata includes a relatively extensive historical description, with a side note on how to order photographs, or request them for special purposes (through contacting the archives). The collection is further divided through an alphabetical index mixing subjects and individuals. For this assignment, I focused on the Florida Folklife Collection. The metadata provided for these images includes an overhead archival description (quantity and date range), description and historical note provided through the finding aid. Images here may be browsed in their entirety, or through a search engine. The Individual image metadata is brief, containing only a description of the photo, the location, and an unidentified digital ID or numerical piece of data. However, when one clicks on the “details” icon to the left of the item, one can view the entire range of metadata for the image, which is extensive. It contains, among other items, a list of subject terms, the date and location of the physical capture, the creator or author, and the series. However, the does not appear to be any metadata about the digital object itself.

The images can be enlarged, which is the only available manipulation. Additionally, the digital format is a JPEG. Like most archives, the intended audience is likely very broad, from genealogists to researchers to enthusiasts.

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