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This wiki space contains archival documentation of Project Bamboo, April 2008 - March 2013.

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Cataloging Faculty Image Requests

Collection Date: April 8, 2009
Scholar #1 Info: (if more than one scholar's process is described, copy this set for each scholar)

  • Name: Lynn Cunningham
  • Email:
  • Title: Associate Curator of Western Art History of Art, Visual Resources Collection
  • Institution/Organization: UC Berkeley
  • Field of Study/Creative Endeavor:

Collector Info (can be the same as "Scholar" above):

  • Name: Connor Riley
  • Email:
  • Title: Graduate Student Researcher, School of Information
  • Institution/Organization: University of California, Berkeley

Notes on Methodology:

The collectors recorded this interview; delineated various workflows discussed in the interview and wrote them using quotes from the interview. These were then reviewed and edited by the interviewee before being posted.


The scope section is provided by the collector, with input from the scholar(s), and attempts to estimate the scope of the group that performs the processes described: How broadly do the practices described in this narrative apply to others in same field, in related fields, etc?

  1. In the opinion of the scholar, who participates in the process the story describes?
    (e.g. "just this scholar", "many people in the scholar's field of inquiry", "all academics", etc.)
  2. What is this process intended to accomplish for the scholar?
  3. Who is the intended audience of the processes described?
  4. Is this the only process the scholar uses to accomplish his/her goals?
  5. What "shared services" would help transform the story into something of more benefit for the scholar or his/her audience?  What process or processes in the story could be automated?


Please provide some keywords that will allow us to group or cluster related stories--or aspects of stories.

1. Was this story collected for a particular Bamboo working group?  If so, please include, as keywords, the appropriate group(s).

  • Education
  • Institutional Support
  • Scholarly Networking
  • Shared Services
  • Scholarly Narratives
  • Tools and Content Partners

2. Suggested keywords: Does this narrative contain elements that could be mapped to these keywords?  If so, please indicate which ones and briefly describe the mapping.  Add any additional keywords in #3. (These are global keywords from this page keywords)

3. Please list additional keywords here:


      The Visual Resources Collection (VRC) in the History of Art department was originally created as a large repository of slides and prints for research and pedagogical use within the department. As digital tools have begun replacing slides, however, the current focus of the collection is on accessioning all new assets in digital form, as well as converting existing collection holdings to digital.

      Collection development is generally course-driven and originates from faculty or student requests. Digital images are acquired from several possible sources: books brought in by faculty; slides from a faculty member's personal collection; slides from our own collection that need to be converted to digital; or vendor sources. The book images are captured digitally with our SLR digital camera. Slides are either scanned in-house with our Nikon slide scanner or are out-sourced for larger orders.

      After the images are captured, cataloging is required for items not already cataloged into our database. Our cataloging system is very complex and requires a great deal of metadata. The metadata is usually obtained from the book or museum website, or, if it is a faculty member's personal slide, ideally provided by the faculty member. Often, however, the faculty member does not have to time to provide the metadata. In these cases, we simply give the image an accession number and filename and link it with the requestor's name in the cataloging system in the hopes that they will eventually provide better or more complete data.

      We have a large number of records in our system representing slides cataloged in a legacy format. This format was intended more as a labeling system than a database, and so has very little data standardization. If a faculty member requests digitization of images cataloged under this older system, the data must be reentered into our newer cataloging system by one of our staff. We currently have around 200,000 outstanding records in the older format.


      Currently, there is no electronic way, other than spreadsheets, for faculty to provide us with metadata for their personal images, and no real system in place for following up on database entries that lack metadata. If there were a digital submission for metadata, it might make collecting the relevant data more convenient for faculty. Additionally, since we already mark incompletely catalogued images with the faculty member's name, it might be helpful to link these incomplete images to a system like Media Vault, reminding the scholar each time they log into a system that they have outstanding images which we've digitized, but still lack descriptive data.

      Also, our cataloguing system does not include a lot of the time-saving shortcuts more recent database solutions provide, such as predictive data entry from the authority files. Our database also requires data entry into many separate tables, rather than consolidating entry screens.  
 For database entries that are in our legacy format, there is absolutely no standard for how the data is organized, which forces us to reenter them manually for now. If there were any options for automatic processing of these records, it would save us a lot of time and effort.

Other Comments:

The information below was comprised when transcribing the interview, to make sure pieces were not missing.  If it is unhelpful, please disregard.


Faculty member brings in books or other media to be digitized and catalogued 
Faculty member ideally fills out paper form describing each image 
Collection staff digitally photograph images 
Cataloger adds image to system 
Cataloger fills in any metadata associated with the image 
Cataloger fills in metadata about image's source (from book, etc.)

If faculty member cannot provide metadata, an accession number, filename and faculty name is entered for cataloging the image at a later date. 
If image is of a slide catalogued under old database system: 
 Cataloger looks up old record by number 
 Cataloger migrates the data in the old record into fields in the new system 

Ingredients: Tools and Content Books 
Faculty's personal slides or photography 
Slides from our collection 
Digital SLR camera 
Flatbed scanner 
Slide scanner 
HAVRC cataloging system 



Example Link