Use Case Photo Museum

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Name

Use Case Photo Museum

Owner

Anne Isomursu, receacher in Finnish Museum of Photography, Herlsinki Finland

I would like to respond to your call for use cases of linked data though I’m not a technological expert. Part of my work as a researcher in a photographic museum is to develop the data management of big photographic collections. We have also been participating in a project that has converted the general Finnish thesaurus to ontology structure.

Background and Current Practice

To preserve and present Finnish photography and photographic art

Goal

To manage and present data conserning historical and artistic photographic collections

Target Audience

scholars, the general public, publishers

Use Case Scenario

I’m worried about the fact that big publishing projects in the Internet are planned mainly for library uses. My point is that the collection management in libraries is simpler than it is in archives or in photographic collections. That is because the books are usually copies and not unique items like photographs. Also the numbers of single items in libraries are far less form the quantities in archival and photo collections. The librarians can benefit standard descriptions produced for general use that the preservers of unique material like photos can’t use.

The managing of the library collections is usually linear and “flat” compared to data models used by archives and photographic collections. For collections with millions of units, the hierarchical data model that for example ISAD(G) standard is providing, are of great importance. The idea is to describe structure of every archive builder’s collection as a hierarchy of series, folders, photographing sessions and single items that are historically connected and linked together. The description of collection hierarchy gives the historical background and context for images and documents. For example the knowledge about original functions of images is extremely important for the later analyses of meaning of single images.


Application of linked data for the given use case

The managing of the library collections is usually linear and “flat” compared to data models used by archives and photographic collections. For collections with millions of units, the hierarchical data model that for example ISAD(G) standard is providing, is of great importance. The idea is to describe structure of every archive builder’s collection as a hierarchy of series, folders, photographing sessions and single items that are historically connected and linked together.

The description of collection hierarchy gives the historical background and context for images and documents. For example the knowledge about original functions of images is extremely important for the later analyses of meaning of single images.

Existing Work (optional)

The photo collections are popular material in the Internet. Institutes that are doing long time preservation of photographic collections would need new tools and procedures for presenting the images. Often they have several more or less linked databases describing the collections from different angles (physical descriptions of materials and conservation, content, agents, contracts and intellectual property rights etc.).The RDF software systems that are based on browser technology seem to give best solutions for the technical problems that follow from multiple databases. They make it possible to link together different sources of information to the parts of the collections.

The software based on for example RDF linking technology also make it possible to integrate the information and illustrate the collections from various points for publics via Internet. For instance one can start browsing from an interesting single photo, then have a look at the information about the photographer and maybe listen to an interview about the series of works where this photo is part of. If also the library catalogue is linked to the collection descriptions, one can continue to the books published by the photographer and so on. For audience that is interested in technical matters one could also link the information about images to information concerning photographic equipments trough the history.

I really see the future of managing and presenting the photographic collections consisting of linked databases that persons can browse. We should work towards the goal that the audience could freely make the connections from different databases after their own interests and make possible new views and aspects to information.


Related Vocabularies (optional)

Problems and Limitations

Related Use Cases and Unanticipated Uses (optional)

Library Linked Data Dimensions / Topics

References (optional)