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  • PhotoCat is the cataloging tool that "sits" behind Image Collections Online
    • It requires a special setup per image collection and login access for collection owners and catalogers (per collection)
  • Image Collections Online (ICO) is the public-facing portal web site of all IU-affiliated image collections
  • Sometimes when we say ICO, we reference it as a digital library "service," which includes both PhotoCat and the ICO portal
    • We need a new name for the service! Apologies for all the confusion.

Important Links


  • Cataloging can only happen after quality control (QC) of images is complete. Please stay on top of the QC so not to hold up your team mates. Consult the digitization guidelines for additional instructions.

Getting Started 

Please read these "Getting Started" tips before uploading and cataloging images in PhotoCat.

  • Upload the photos or slides you scanned in the "History of the IU Libraries" collection in PhotoCat.
    • Please upload images only from the QC_complete directory on
    • Make sure you copy the original filename (including the file extension ".tif") from the file itself or as referenced in the scanning inventory spreadsheet into the "Original file name" field
    • Change status to "in progress"
    • Click the "Save" button, but do not click "Save, Create New Record" if you don't have another image to upload.  This will create an empty record.
    • The upload will take a while so prepare to wait 10-15 minutes for an image to upload and show in PhotoCat
  • Make sure the images you have uploaded to PhotoCat actually uploaded.  The easiest way to do this is by clicking on the "View All Items" link, or as the collection grows in size, by browsing by "Last modified by:"
    • Click on "Browse" on the top menu
    • Click on "Last modified by" in the list of linked fields
    • On the right, find your username and click on "View records" next to your name
    • For those images that uploaded correctly in PhotoCat (you can see the image!), you can:
      • Move the file on => ResearchNow from QC_complete to in_PhotoCat
      • Begin cataloging!
  • Catalog the images YOU scanned.  
  • Have handy the inventories we compiled for this collection and the scanning inventory for clues to help you with cataloging.
    • Scanning inventories are on the server: => ResearchNow (in the photos, slides and documents folders)
      • Most helpful for the documents and possibly the photographs; less helpful for the 35 mm slides
    • Processing inventories are in Google Drive: inventories folder
  • Cataloging some of the slides may require that you reference Lou Malcomb's slideshow script for clues.  Keep a list of questions that relate to images for which you can not identify at all or having missing "key" information.  We can collectively compile these questions and review them with Lou at some point.  
  • Catalog the best you can with the information you have.  Don't feel like you need to complete every field in the record.  And focus on completing "key" fields like the title, abstract, etc. that will help users find these images (see the field list below).  

Cataloging Tips

  • Consult the usage notes for each field by clicking on the field name (i.e., Abstract).  The usage notes contain helpful information including explanations to disambiguate fields that may seem to overlap, examples, and controlled vocabularies and content standards to reference.  To close the usage note, click the field name again.
  • You can catalog by referencing the item preview to the right of the record page you are completing.  If the thumbnail is too small, download a larger image size to help you zoom in on any details needed for cataloging.
  • Aside from reading the cataloging tips for each field before actually cataloging, here are a few extra or reinforced tips for the following fields:
    • Date
      • Year ranges are acceptable and I see lots of those in our inventory spreadsheets (e.g., 1999-2010), but make sure the range is reasonable otherwise don't enter a date.
    • Subject
      • TGM I: Thesaurus for Graphic Materials: Subject Terms is the only thesaurus that has a pre-populated pick list.  You will likely still need to consult the online version of the thesaurus to determine the preferred term to enter.  For example, if you type "cars" it is not an option, but "automobiles" is an option).  You might find this list is outdated compared to the online version of the thesaurus.  If this is the case, enter the preferred term in the "local" cataloging field, but make a note for yourself that the term is actually in TGM I, just not in the pick-list.
        • Sometimes the pick list won't appear or will take a long time to generate.  If this is the case, save your record and reload your browser page (shift + F5 or right-click to Reload Page).
      • LCSH: The LC Subject Headings are not pre-populated in PhotoCat.  You will need to consult the subject authority list and enter the authorized heading.
        • Once a term has been entered like "Card catalogs," that term will be automatically added to a pick list for the LCSH field.  The next time you need to use "Card catalogs" or someone else is cataloging images of card catalogs, that term will not need to be entered again.  It should appear in the pick list.  We provide this functionality to ensure consistency in data entry.
      • LCNAF:  Reference the LC Name Authority list to enter names of personal or corporate entities that are subjects of a photo (e.g., Wells, Herman B or Indiana University, Bloomington. Libraries).
      • Local Subjects (to be added):  Use this field to describe a salient feature of the image that is not available in any of the above controlled vocabularies (e.g., Reference desks).
        • Follow TGM I conventions for entering subjects:
          • Plural (e.g., Patrons as opposed to Patron)
          • In multi-word terms, only the first letter of first word is in uppercase (e.g., Reference desks)
    • Has Copyright Restrictions
      • Our research thus far has not revealed any copyright issues with the images in our possession. If you encounter a photo or slide that was taken by a contracted photographer or photography studio, those may have copyright restrictions.  Rather than checkmark the box indicating a restriction, make a note for Naz.
    • Status
      • Make sure to keep status as "in progress" while you are working on a record.  Once you feel you have cataloged all that you can, set the status to "pending completion."  This will alert Julie, Michelle and others that the record is ready for review.
      • Once the History of the IU Libraries photo collection is live via the ICO portal web site, the statuses will control what is published to the public and what is not.  This isn't anything you need to worry about now.  We can update these tips at that time.  
    • Persons Pictured: For photos with identifiable people who may or may not be in LCNAF, use this field.  Enter names following the LCNAF authorized format (last name, first name).  In some cases, you may have the same names in the "subject" and "persons pictured" fields.
      • Affiliation: Anything that is more specific than "Indiana University Libraries."  For example:
        • Departmental affiliation (e.g., Technical Services)
        • Title affiliation (e.g., Head of Technical Services)
        • Generic Status (i.e., student or donor)
        • You could chain some of these together if you have more information.  For example:
          • Donor, Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals
          • Librarian for French & Italian, Germanic Studies, Classical Studies, Comparative Literature, and Linguistics, Arts & Humanities
      • Location in Picture: This is a free-text field used to describe how people are positioned for easier identification.  For example:
        • From left to right, name of person 1, name of person 2, etc.
    • Fields we won't use or likely not use
      • Collection ID (won't use)
      • Item ID (won't use)
      • Copyright Owner (not likely)
      • Creator (not likely)     



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