Kinsey and the Wasps: Mapping a Journey
Part Eight: Moving Parts #3, in Which We Leap Online With the Grace of a (Photo)Cat
Creating a collection for Indiana University’s Image Collections Online is a multi-step process that begins with conceiving of an online collection, taking the images through the digitization process, and determining metadata fields, steps I have outlined in previous posts. The culmination of that work is to gather it all together and enter it into Photocat, the background-level platform that holds all the data and translates it into a (mostly) user-friendly, public-facing online image collection.
For someone like myself with no prior experience with the inner workings, it was a little intimidating, and I confess it was the step that inspired the most procrastination and avoidance on my part. In truth, instead of leaping online with the grace of a cat, I was more like a short-legged puppy trying to navigate tall stairs for the first time. Lots of hesitation, little initial success. However, it was not for lack of access to thorough documentation: the Image Collections Online Guide contains a wealth of clear, helpful information, and after a few false starts, the process began to feel much more comfortable.
But there were some technical issues, including images that had loaded successfully but did not appear, as shown below:
Photocat generates an email report for each image uploaded; it confirms successful uploads and gives error reports for those that did not load properly. The image files for all the records shown above had resulted in a “Successful” report, yet they did not appear. There is an expected delay in the appearance of images, as ingest takes a while, but these images remained unavailable for days, prompting an S.O.S. from me to the experts (aka Kara Alexander in her liaison role with the programmers). I felt fortunate and relieved that I did not have to solve this technical difficulty myself.
Some of this detailed work in ICO remains incomplete, because as we learn in the next installment, the whole world is about to go haywire.
Heather Sloan is an ILS Master’s student with a specialization in Digital Humanities. She is a full-time staff member in the Media Services and Government Information, Maps & Microform Services (GIMMS) departments of Herman B Wells Library. She has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Percussion Performance from SUNY Stony Brook, and her interests include Caribbean folkloric music, Latin music, record collecting, and design in popular culture. Her Digital Humanities work focuses on intersections between digital and humanitarian mapping, the environment, and arts advocacy. She is a 2019-2020 HASTAC Scholar.