Daily Worker Negatives: Encoding and Sample

I will be using Dublin Core for the project, unless I discover a better standard for describing photographs, particularly one that may give me the ability to parse out elements of the image's content and composition. But this may also be done through tagging in Dublin Core.

Going through this exercise I realize that the metadata and encoding process will require a good degree of research, which will hopefully add much to our understanding of the photographs, and their relationship to the contexts out of which they were taken, to their creators/photographers, and to the medium and audience which they were intended for, which was the Daily Worker and its readership.

The primary source and reference for the research will be the microfilmed Daily Worker at the Tamiment Library. Further research could be done within Tamiment's archival collections, particularly the Communist Party Papers, and secondary sources, which are among the best available in this area. There is a great deal of potential for this research to flesh out the pictures behind the pictures, to add to our understanding of the images themselves and their authors, and to provide additional value.

The research process — the close inspection of photographs and fleshing out of meaning — will give the project a true digital humanities bent, that could make it interesting and useful not only to social and political historians, but to scholars of the history of photography, and visual culture/visual studies.

For example, in the Source field below, the project director or assistant would describe whether or not the photo was published in the newspaper based on research into the microfilm. Was the image printed, and if so, which frame? This might illuminate the editors’ decision making process, how they chose to visually represent the event. If the image was published the metadata will indicate this, but if there is no indication, this does not necessarily mean it wasn't published, only that I we couldn't find evidence of it being published in the general vicinity of the time period indicated on its sleeve.

Similarly, the tagging field could flesh out aspects of the image like perspective, composition, texture and informational elements inaccessible through the subject headings.

For the project I will use the following fields in Dublin Core. I have filled out the fields for the attached sample image.

Title Memorial Meeting for Pete Panto (1911–July 14, 1939), the New York City Rank-And-File Longshore Activist Murdered in 1939.
Subject Pete Panto, International Longshoremen's Association, Labor unionsNew York (State)New York—1930-1940.
Description: Members of the Brooklyn Rank and File Committee of the International Longshoreman's Association (ILA) meet in January 1941 to memorialize Pete Panto, an ILA activist who led a revolt against Joseph P. Ryan and his colleagues, many of them allegedly mafia, who ran the International Longshoremen's Association [ILA]. (I don't know whether these are actually members of the Brooklyn Rank and File Committee, but I am inferring. This is the type of thing that research could bring out and which could add great value to the image.)
Creator/Photographer: Unknown
Source: The Daily Worker [?]
Publisher: The Communist Party of the United States of America [If the image was published]
Date: January 1941 (An effort will be made to nail down the date further)
Rights: All rights reside with the CPUSA.
Format: 4x5 medium format negative.
Identifier: 00103-01 - 00103-06. (This is the Shoot-Negative #, the same as the finding aid, and refers back to the physical collection. I would like to keep a sense of continuity between the two so if researchers or Tamiment staff want to find a print or negative they can do so easily. This also gives the sense that the digitization is an extension of the archival processing, and it is not creating a new archive but extending the current one.)
Coverage/Place: Unknown (Will be used for place, both specific and general. Often there is no exact address or specific place, sometimes there are general areas indicated, avenues, streets, or buildings and landmarks, potentially long gone. Some effort should be made to nail down an address, and add as much value as possible.)
Tags: Pete Panto, Longshoremen, Trade unions, American flag, Flash photography,

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