Curation Note 5: Editing and Loading Artifacts

Activity Summary: 

  • Added thumbnails to main exhibit page for each family group, the community collection, and a link to the dissertation chapters (as a kind of artifact of the archive itself)
  • Added descriptions to each image, captioned each artifact, added links to attachment pages for images for close-up viewing and detailed descriptions
  • Created a page for each family and the community collection
  • Added artifacts (in order by accession log number) to each family page
  • Created pages for artifacts with multiple images


The work completed in this session represents a significant shift toward the development of the exhibit itself. When I first began the project, I imagined that building a digital archive would primarily be made of of work sessions like this one: selecting images, editing and cropping artifacts, describing content, arranging artifacts on the site. However, what I have learned is how much more time and attention goes into the development of the archival concept and generating artifacts through participation and within the constraints of funding and institutional affiliations. To finally get to the stage where artifacts are being delivered to users and presented in a deliverable product is exciting and feels like an accomplishment. It feels good to share the work with contributors and others to show them what I have been working on for so long, to bring something visible to the table. 

For example, after loading the Coute family artifacts and sharing it online with contributors, there was a rush of excitement to see as more and more family members were tagged and added to the conversation. Cousins and relatives joined the Facebook post, each adding comments and discussion to the artifacts. I learned so much more about the artifacts I posted, even able to develop further descriptions based on what was shared. Cousins introduced themselves to each other, figuring out how they were related, as some were Facebook friends with other relatives not already in their networks. One cousin even started a Facebook group for the Coute family to continue the discussions and sharing in a separate space. There was talk of a reunion. I think it demonstrates the power of an open and participatory archive to strengthen cultural ties and identity. I look forward to studying how the archive interacts with users and how it contributes to their understanding and cultural knowledge.

The screencast videos below illustrate the work from this session in three areas. First, I discuss the establishment of the Exhibit main page that features a grid of family collection thumbnails and the family page organization in a grid pattern by accession number. I discuss the decision to include a link to the dissertation chapters from the exhibit page as a way to express the idea that these chapters are another kind of artifact, an artifact of how the archive was developed.

Discussion of Exhibit Main Page and Family Page Organization:

Next, I wanted to capture the processes associated with editing the images for the exhibit. It was important to me that I make it clear that there is a difference between the archived images, which are in their raw form from the camera, and the images I wanted to use on the site. I am cropping and adjusting the color, light, and clarity for each image, so it was necessary to copy the archival images to create a set that could be edited while keeping the original images unaltered. I discuss the processes for editing image metadata and adding descriptions for use across the site.

Editing Individual Images from the Archive for the Exhibit:

In the final step, I discuss the processes associated with adding individual images to the family pages. In particular, I discuss the decision to create additional pages to display multiple images that correspond to a single artifact rather than filling the main family page with every image. I explain how I used captions and accession numbers to label each artifact, and I demonstrate the process for individually linking each artifact to an attachment page where users can view close-up images and detailed descriptions.

Adding Artifacts to Family Pages and Linking to Artifact Pages:

Follow-Up on Curation Note 4 Next Steps:

  • Develop About the Archive content of home page.
    • I am still not convinced the layout of the home page is necessary. The scrolling down to reveal a new panel and some information about the site seems unnecessary, and perhaps not ideal for users since they may navigate to the exhibit without seeing the information at the bottom of the page. I think I will likely choose to keep the home page a simple image with the three pages on the menu bar.
  • Purchase the upgrade to prepare for image tagging.
    • I was able to put off the upgrade purchase since I was able to use the new block editor to create grids. I will still need to do the purchase to remove adds, add audio media content, and add plug-ins that will allow me to tag media, which is very important for organizing content and creating thematic connections across the site. 
  • Edit and select photos from archive for the exhibit. Add descriptions to metadata for images.
    • I was able to complete this step in this session, but based on early sharing of the site with families, it is likely that I will have additional details to add to the descriptions.

Next Steps:  

  • Media tagging and search page functions
  • Determine if it is possible to add cross-references between artifacts
  • Adding links to external sites with additional information about culture associated with the artifacts
  • Add images of field notes to 2017.SOU.022 (Portuguese soup)


  • Invisible work and the time investment in digital projects
  • Financial considerations involved in creating digital work
  • Design influence from CMS embedded functions and non-expert designers reliance on pre-determined code and function
  • Digital representations of archival materials require and contain additional layers of mediation
%d bloggers like this: