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Collection National Child Labor Committee Collection

Technical Information

During 2003, JJT, Inc., of Austin, Texas, scanned the National Child Labor Committee Collection. They used an overhead Sinar 54 digital camera to scan the 5127 photographic prints (measuring in sizes ranging between 3.5 x 3.5 inches and 5 x 7 inches) and the 355 glass negatives (measuring either 4 x 6 inches or 5 x 7 inches). The images of photographic prints were captured in color (and the glass negatives captured in grayscale) at a spatial resolution of approximately 5,000 pixels on the long side and a tonal resolution of 8 bits per pixel.

With today's resources, these high-resolution images require significantly increased costs, particularly in time spent capturing, inspecting, and loading the files. For most collections in the Prints and Photographs Division, online digital images, even at lower resolutions, play an important preservation role as surrogates that reduce handling of the original pictures. The high-quality master and derivative files are available online. One digital image of each photographic print displays in each bibliographic record. Two digital images display for items that have a both a photographic print and a negative.

Jump to: Specifications for the Photographic Prints | Specifications for the Glass Negatives

Specifications for the Photographic Prints

Uncompressed Archival Images

Spatial Resolution:
5,000 pixels on the long side with the short side scaled in proportion for file names ending in u.tif (31-72 megabytes)
Tonal (pixel depth) resolution:
8 bits per pixel (color)
Image enhancement:
None.
File format:
Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) ver. 6.0
Compression:
None

Compressed Service Images

Spatial resolution:
640 pixels on the long side with the short side scaled in proportion for file names ending r.jpg (19-89 kilobytes); 1024 pixels on the long side with the short side scaled in proportion for file names ending v.jpg (48-318 kilobytes)
Tonal (pixel depth) resolution:
8 bits per pixel (color)
Image enhancement:
Mild sharpening
File format:
JPEG
Compression:
Compressed to yield an average compression ratio of 10:1

Thumbnail Images

Spatial Resolution:
150 pixels on the long side with the short side scaled in proportion for file names ending in t.gif (approximately 15 kilobytes)
Tonal (pixel depth) resolution:
8 bits per pixel (color)
Image enhancement:
Mild sharpening
File format:
Archived copy: TIFF - Tagged Image File Format
Online copy: GIF - Graphics Interchange Format
Compression:
Archived copy: Uncompressed
Online copy: Compression native to the GIF format

Specifications for the Glass Negatives

Uncompressed Archival Images

Spatial Resolution:
5,000 pixels on the long side with the short side scaled in proportion for file names ending in u.tif (17-20 megabytes)
Tonal (pixel depth) resolution:
8 bits per pixel (grayscale)
Image enhancement:
None.
File format:
Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) ver. 6.0
Compression:
None

Compressed Service Images

Spatial resolution:
640 pixels on the long side with the short side scaled in proportion for file names ending r.jpg (28-81 kilobytes); 1024 pixels on the long side with the short side scaled in proportion for file names ending v.jpg (62-206 kilobytes)
Tonal (pixel depth) resolution:
8 bits per pixel (grayscale)
Image enhancement:
Mild sharpening
File format:
JPEG
Compression:
Compressed to yield an average compression ratio of 10:1

Thumbnail Images

Spatial Resolution:
150 pixels on the long side with the short side scaled in proportion for file names ending in t.gif (approximately 15 kilobytes)
Tonal (pixel depth) resolution:
8 bits per pixel (grayscale)
Image enhancement:
Mild sharpening
File format:
Archived copy: TIFF - Tagged Image File Format
Online copy: GIF - Graphics Interchange Format
Compression:
Archived copy: Uncompressed
Online copy: Compression native to the GIF format

Describing the Collection

This section explains the general cataloging guidelines followed by the Prints and Photographs Division as well as specific guidelines used for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) Collection photographs.

For background information about cataloging pictorial materials, see the tools section of the "Visual Materials: Processing & Cataloging Bibliography."

Most Prints & Photographs Division catalog records rely on information that accompanied the picture when it came to the Library of Congress rather than what could be learned by fully researching the images. Such original accompanying information is sometimes inaccurate. The Division appreciates hearing from researchers who have additional or better information. Contact the Prints and Photographs Reading Room through its Ask a Librarian service.

Cataloging the National Child Labor Committee Photographs (Summary)

The titles of the photographs come from caption cards that the Library of Congress received from the National Child Labor Committee with the rest of the collection. The abbreviation "[sic]" indicates a misspelling; corrected spellings appear in brackets, where possible, preceded by the abbreviation [i.e.] (sometimes missing letters are simply inserted in brackets). Some capitalization, punctuation, and spacing was altered when necessary to make the information clear or to improve retreival.

Examples:

  • Pheobe [i.e., Phoebe]
  • Eight-year-old girl (see label 4006). She is very skilful [sic] ...

When multiple versions of the same image are available (usually a negative and a print), both versions are described in a single catalog record to facilitate comparison of what was captured through the camera and what the NCLC printed in the darkroom. Photographic prints in the collection (more than 5,100) vastly outnumber the glass negatives (ca. 325).

Many kinds of reproduction numbers are included because different versions of the image may have been copied in different formats--digital, photographic, black-and-white, color.

Examples:

  • LC-DIG-nclc-01536 (color digital file from b&w original print) [scan of a print]
  • LC-DIG-nclc-05388 (b&w digital file from original glass negative) [scan of negative]
  • LC-USZ62-38564 (b&w film copy negative) [copied from print]

Categories Displayed in Catalog Records (in alphabetical order)

Call Number | Card # | Collection (Part of) | Creator | Created/Published, Date | Digital ID | Format | Medium | Notes | Related Names | Repository | Reproduction Number |Subjects & Summary | Title and Statement of Responsibility

Call Number

The NCLC prints came to the Library in twenty-one albums that Library staff then clustered into nine groups (called LOTs) by subject matter. Each LOT consists of one or more albums. The LOTs bear numbers 7475-7483. Within each LOT, the prints bear a volume number followed by an item number assigned while the material was still at the National Child Labor Committee. Staff added zeros to the item numbers, where necessary, to fill them out to four digits, for purposes of better sorting. Item numbers are unique--the same number does not appear in different LOTs except in rare cases where copies of the same photo were placed in two different groupings by the NCLC.

Example:

  • LOT 7479, v. 2, no. 0548

The Library of Congress assigned the negatives to two filing series, coded "H" for the surname Hine. "LC-H5" designates 5x7-inch negatives and "LC-H51" designates 4x5-inch negatives. The rest of the call number consists of the number the NCLC assigned to the item. Occasionally, the NCLC used "A, "B," and "C," suffixes to distinguish items with otherwise identical numbers.

Examples:

  • LC-H51- 1106
  • LC-H5-2985-B

General practice

The call number is a string of letters and numbers used to locate the original material at the Library of Congress. The Prints and Photographs Division has a unique system of local call numbers, and the patterns vary from collection to collection. The common call number elements include: a coded collection designation (called a "filing series"), an alphabetic or numeric subdivision category, and an item number. For reference citations, researchers should note the whole call number, not just the item number.

Card #

Each catalog record has a unique identification number called a "card number" or "control number." Researchers can use the card number to do a quick number search and retrieve a specific record without repeating a long keyword or subject search.

Examples:

  • 89713927
  • ncl2004004477/PP

Collection ("Part of")

The title of the collection associates each item with its source and with other pictures in the same collection. This title is useful to include in bibliographic citations as a provenance statement.

Example:

  • Forms part of: Photographs from the records of the National Child Labor Committee (U.S.)

Some items are in more than one collection because they are associated with both a format-based collection (e.g., Daguerreotype Collection) and a donor-based collection (e.g., Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection). Other items lack a formal collection title heading because the collections have not yet been fully cataloged.

Creator

The name of an artist, photographer, architect, printmaker, or other image creator appears in this category. For unidentified creators, the category is blank. Only one form of the name is used, so that it is possible to retrieve all of a creator's works under a single spelling or expression. Birth and death dates appear only when such information was readily available when the heading was established. When a name is established while the creator is alive, a death date is not usually added when the creator dies. Many of the creator names come from the Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCNAF), which has cross references for alternative versions and some biographical details. The LCNAF is available online at authorities.loc.gov/.

The Library has attributed all the photographs in the National Child Labor Committee Collection to Lewis Hine unless the caption card explicitly identified another photographer. Many of the cards identify Hine as the photographer. The appearance of Hine's name in the title area identifies these clear credit situations (see Title and Statement of Reponsibility). On other cards the credit isn't legible or is absent. The note "Attribution to Hine based on provenance" explains the source of the attribution for these ambiguous situations.

After the name, a relator term identifies the relationship(s) between the name and the work being cataloged: for example, architect, artist, copyright claimant, photographer, or publisher.

Examples:

  • Hine, Lewis Wickes, 1874-1940, photographer.
  • Hyram Myers Photo Studios, photographer.

Created/Published (includes Date)

Dates for NCLC photos

The records cite the date that appears on the caption card, whenever there is one. In some cases, no date appears on the card. In such cases, staff estimated the date on the basis of dates given in captions for related images, enclosing the date in brackets and noting the source of the estimate in a note.

Examples:

  • 1908 August.
  • [1914?] (with Note: "No location or date recorded on caption card; date estimate based on captions for photographs with neighboring numbers.")

General practice

This category refers to the place, publisher, and year(s) for a picture's creation.

Only the date appears for unpublished pictures. For photographs, creation and depiction dates are usually the same, and the date field may be the only place where the date information is displayed. The time period depicted in a picture may be conveyed through notes and subject-heading subdivision areas, especially for prints and drawings showing events that happened long before the artist portrayed them.

The date is transcribed when such information appears with the picture. It can be difficult to assign a specific year to undated prints and photographs. The catalogers look for clues such as the creator's life dates and type of physical media. Often, only a span of years or decades can be estimated, and such dates are shown in brackets.

When the single letter "c" appears before a date, it indicates the year in which an image was deposited for copyright.

The abbreviation "ca." means "circa" and indicates a date that is approximate to within five years before or after the stated year.

Digital ID

This category begins with a word or phrase that explains the source used to create the digital image: for example, the "original" work or a "b&w copy film neg." The Library's digital images are often created by scanning one or more of the copy negatives, slides, or transparencies listed in the Reproduction Number field. The Library uses a brief file identifier for its locally programmed image displays. The URL (http) identifier is provided to aid display of images in other environments.

Example:

  • color digital file from b&w original print [the source identification] nclc 05264 [the file identifier]hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/nclc.05264 [the URL]

Format

The genre and physical characteristics of the original work are listed as plural index terms. Examples include: Broadsides, Engravings, Group portraits, Lithographs--Color, Paintings--Reproductions, Political posters, Portrait photographs, Stereographs, and Woodcuts.

These headings are sometimes subdivided by the nationality, place, or decade in which the work was created. Other subdivisions indicate whether or not the work is in color or is a reproduction of another medium. The terms come from the Thesaurus for Graphic Materials II: Genre and Physical Characteristic Terms.

Examples:

  • Photographic prints
  • Glass negatives

Medium

This category begins with a readily recognized object type, such as photograph, drawing, or print, followed by a more specific designation, such as daguerreotype, charcoal, or aquatint. Staff determine the medium by examining the original work. This physical description helps remind viewers that the physical characteristics of the original work are quite different from the digital reproduction on a computer screen.

The quantity of material is also stated, although most records usually describe only a single item. Some records, however, describe tens or hundreds of items, and it is helpful to know the extent of each work to understand the specificity of the information in the catalog record.

The dimensions of a work are rarely provided unless the same dimension applies to many items.

Examples:

  • 1 photographic print.
  • 1 negative : glass ; 5 x 7 in.

Notes

Many types of notes are written to explain publication rights status or restrictions, sources of devised dates and titles, acquisition source, related material, the name of the collection to which the work belongs, citations to published versions, and other aspects of the work. A subject description, displayed as the SUMMARY note, may be written, especially if a title is not self-explanatory.

For the NCLC photographs, the notes include rights information, the source of the title, the basis for the CREATOR attribution, the title of the album in which the print is found, the Hine number (the item number assigned at NCLC), and the collection name. The notes also quote any information from the caption card that was not title information. Most common among these was "Negative destroyed," which was penned across many cards. Library staff are not sure who recorded these notes on the cards or when. They may refer to nitrate negatives that the NCLC offered the Library but that the Library did not acquire with the collection.

Examples:

  • No known restrictions on publication.
  • Title from NCLC caption card.
  • Attribution to Hine based on provenance.
  • In album: Mills.
  • Hine no. 0443.

Related Names

When multiple individuals or corporate bodies contribute to a work, their names can be listed as related (also called added) entries. A relator term, such as "client," "copyright claimant," "interior designer," or "sculptor," appears after the name when the nature of the contribution is known.

Repository

Explicitly stating the name of the library that owns the work helps users locate and cite items. The Library of Congress is so large that the custodial division is also identified.

Example:

  • Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Reproduction Number

This alpha-numeric code identifies existing black-and-white and color negatives, slides, transparencies, and digital files from which prints, transparencies, and other photographic reproductions can be ordered. This number is also the most useful (and shortest) reference citation to include with any subsequent publication of the image.

A qualifying phrase identifies the type of reproduction (e.g., color transparency) and points out which reproductions are only details or cropped versions of the original works. This information can help users decide which copy to reproduce.

The abbreviation "b&w" stands for black-and-white.

For information on how to use the NCLC Reproduction numbers to obtain copies, see the "Obtaining Copies" link in the catalog record for any NCLC photograph.

Subjects & Summary

Subject headings for NCLC photos

Records for many of the NCLC photographs currently have subject headings only for the place where the photograph was taken. LC staff transcribed the geographic location information from the caption cards, spelling out abbreviated state names. Where the cards showed variations in the way the same name was expressed (e.g., Spartanburg, Spartenberg, Spartanberg), staff chose one form, but they did not attempt to verify the accuracy of the identification or to match the name to approved name authority sources. When the card indicated the location as "near [placename]," staff rotated the information so that the placename would appear first, followed by "vicinity." The word "vicinity" appears in the geographic location information cited in the title area, but has been eliminated in the Subject heading. Staff also expressed "New York City" as "New York (State)--New York" and Washington, D.C. as "District of Columbia--Washington (D.C.)." If county information was supplied on the caption card, staff included it, spelling out the term "County." When a card did not include place name information, staff mentioned this in a note and, if the location could be deduced from captions for related images, it was supplied.

Topical subject headings are being added to the catalog records in stages. Access points for people (gender, occupation, ethnicity), building type or environment, activity, and objects are being added gradually starting in spring 2004.

Examples of topical subject headings being added:

  • Glassblowing; Factories
  • Girls; Street vendors; Baskets

General practice

Catalogers assign index terms that describe what the image shows as well as what the image is about. For example, a political cartoon depicting a basketball game in which the players are dribbling a globe is "of" basketball and "about" international relations. Most of the topical terms come from the Thesaurus for Graphic Materials I: Subject Terms. //lcweb.loc.gov/rr/print/tgm1/ The proper noun headings come from the Library of Congress Name Authority File and from the Library of Congress Subject Headings, available online at: authorities.loc.gov/.

Some collections have only preliminary index headings and do not use standard vocabulary sources such as the Thesaurus for Graphic Materials. For example, the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER) uses an uncontrolled indexing vocabulary in which different terms, such as "Car dealership" and "Auto dealership," are sometimes used for the same subject, because the material being cataloged used those different terms. The Gottscho-Schleisner Collection headings focus on terms for types of structures (for example, "Automobile dealerships") and use few proper names for subjects such as buildings. (The title includes an informal building or project name taken from the photographer's logbook.)

Terms are sometimes subdivided by place and date of depiction. In other cases, the place names are expressed as hierarchical geographic "strings" to allow keyword access to names of countries and states as well as counties and cities.

Title and Statement of Reponsibility

Whenever possible, the title is transcribed from the original picture, or from a photographer's logbook or negative jacket. If the picture carries no caption, a title is devised from another source and displayed in brackets. Devised titles are written by Library staff, or they might come from a published book illustration or a former owner.

The terms "[sic]" and "[i.e.]" indicate misspellings or erroneous information in the original titles. The correct information is provided as needed in the title or a note.

The titles of the NCLC photographs come from typed and handwritten captions provided by the NCLC on a set of cards that came with the collection. The information is often very detailed, making for quite long titles. Sometimes the text is difficult to decipher and it often uses non-standard capitalization and punctuation.

  • Capitalization, punctuation, and spacing were adjusted when it would clarify meaning or improve retrieval. For instance, on the cards surnames beginning with "Mc" always appear with a space between "Mc" and the remainder of the name; staff closed up the space in keying the information, in order to make searching for the names more predictable.
  • The cards frequently use formatting (e.g., columns and indentation) that could not be reproduced in a bibliographic record; such information was usually entered as a string separated by semi-colons or commas.
  • Where words were underlined for emphasis on the card, staff added a note to indicate where the caption compiler had placed an emphasis.
  • Dollar signs were retained, but cents symbols were converted to the word "cents."
  • Ditto marks were replaced with the words that they stood for.
  • Staff entered "[...]" in places where text was clearly missing from a card and "[?]" to indicate doubt about the interpretation of text that was difficult to decipher.
  • Staff closed up spaces in abbreviations and added bracketed letters to fill out abbreviations when it seemed as though it would improve understanding or retrieval.
  • Hine numbers generally appear on the caption cards in the upper left corner. In cases where the number was repeated at the beginning of the caption, it was not transcribed as part of the title.
  • Some cards were blank, in which case LC staff supplied a description in brackets, mentioning the absence of caption card information in a note. In a few cases, the image is simply titled "[Untitled]".
  • Placenames appearing at the top of the caption cards have been included at the end of the title, wherever possible. In recording the geographic location information from the caption cards, because the place name information was also to be used as a subject heading (see Subjects & Summary above),
    • staff spelled out abbreviated state names
    • where the cards showed variations in the way the same name was expressed (e.g., Spartanburg, Spartenberg, Spartanberg), staff chose one form, but they did not attempt to verify the accuracy of the identification or to match the name to approved name authority sources
    • when the card indicated the location as "near [placename]," staff rotated the information so that the placename would appear first, followed by "vicinity."
    • staff also expressed "New York City" as "New York, New York (State)" and Washington, D.C. as "Washington D.C. (District of Columbia)"
    • if county information was supplied on the caption card, staff included it, spelling out the term "County."
    • when a card did not include place name information, staff mentioned this in a note and, if the location could be deduced from captions for related images, it was supplied in brackets.

LC staff transcribed photographer credits on the caption card as a statement of responsibility, which is separated from the title by a slash "/" mark. Many cards do not carry such a credit.

Example:

  • Slide for accident statistics / L.W. Hine

Viewers who have a question about a caption may find it instructive to view the card from which the caption was transcribed. The Albert O. Kuhn Library & Gallery at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), has digitized the cards with their copies of the photos (in some cases where information was continued on the back of the card, only the front is shown). As the photos share the same Hine number used at the Library of Congress, a fast way to retrieve the image and accompanying caption is to search "Hine" in the "PHOTOGRAPHER" field and the Hine number (without leading zeroes) in the "ACCESSION No." field in UMBC's photograph search system External.

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