Internship week 6-Removing bias

I’m happy to say that thanks to a quick reply from the NHM’s IT department, I was able to get back into the digital asset management system without any trouble.  I’m just disappointed that I lost a whole weekend of work in the process, which of course is not their fault.  Because of a full work schedule, I tend to do the majority of my class work on weekends and so if there’s any problem, I have to either attempt to troubleshoot on my own or have some patience and wait until Monday, but both cause lost productivity.  I’ll just have to make up the hours later in the semester!

This week, I cataloged nearly 150 images, so I’m about two-thirds of the way done with this data set.  I emailed a few questions to my site supervisor when I was at the halfway point and because some of the pictures had copyright information already assigned and I wanted to make sure that I used the correct metadata since the cataloging instructions differed. The first 200 images in this set were nearly identical to my first assignment, so I was familiar with the keywords and general info.  With my new ability to batch edit, cataloging these images was no problem and went quickly.  After that, the images began to greatly vary, with more event photos with people, which I learned from the site supervisor is called reportage; different locations around the museum that I hadn’t seen before; and objects from the museum’s collections.  I was glad for the change because it forced me to again think more critically about each image and what keywords to assign.  And now I know what kerosene locomotive headlights and oil pumps look like!

nhm-becoming-la-3-pacific-railroad-trigger-case

Kerosene locomotive headlight

Yesterday, I had a nice phone call with my site supervisor, where I learned about the photographers that the museum employs and their various styles.  This helped me to be more aware about what to look for when cataloging, and to learn about the benefits and challenges of the different photographers and how these impact her when cataloging their work.  I had caught on to a couple of the differences between two photographers already, so it was nice to hear it confirmed that she felt the same.

I also learned a great tip – you never know what image someone is going to like and want to use for their work (for my internship, the NHM’s communications department), so you have to catalog everything that’s unique.  You can’t be biased and apply your own opinion of whether you would personally want to use a picture.  Something that you think is a horrible photo may be exactly what someone else is looking for.  However, if you have multiple images of the exact same thing at the exact same angle, catalog it only once if possible.  Otherwise the DAM system will be overflowing with duplicative images, complicating the search process.

Total hours: 9

Image source

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