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The ICONA database


The ICONA cataloging layout is the database developed by IMSS for cataloguing and managing images from the iconographic archives in a Web environment.

The structure of the database is aimed at managing the iconographic and documentary material of historical-scientific nature, reproduced in traditional or digital media. Designed for the cataloguing of recently-produced images, the layout can also be utilized for old and historical iconographic material, thanks to the flexibility of the descriptive and technical fields.

Icona optimizes the dissemination of documentary information for editing printed matter (catalogues, books, articles, etc.), and for creating multimedia computer applications.

Through the Archive, remote users can identify material of interest to them, and request usage authorization from the IMSS.

The great number and highly varied nature of the images that make up the photographic archives have made it indispensable to create a system for determination of subjects which, although at a very simplified level, can serve as guide to users in their research. For this purpose, a conceptual tree of science has been studied and developed; it consists of a series of categories broken down into disciplines and sub-disciplines.

Designed to satisfy internal requisites, the ICONA data base is equally useful as a tool for cataloguing and computerized consultation of the numerous iconographic collections existing in museums (or cultural institutions in general), for which efficient management and utilization is at the moment lacking.

The layout is implemented on a relational data base, designed to be integrated with the other IMSS archives.
It is divided into three sections, integrated with one another:

    • the first "CD" contains data relevant to the computerized mediums which may be utilized (PhotoCD, CD, DVD);

    • the second "Images" , compatible with Scheda F of the ICCD, concerns photographic material, both traditional and digital;

    • the third "Requests" records data relevant to lending images to others, for publication or study.

With the system of intranet interrogation through Web, exhaustive research can be carried out in the main fields of the "Images" and "CD" sections, with the possibility of recurring to subject-determination fields such as "Categories" and "Key Words".
In addition, the "Typology" and "Collection" filters allow a more precise search for images.


The "Images" section

The data input mask consists of a portion which is always visible, at left, in which to enter the Record Code, the photographic Inventory Number and a field that indicates whether the card refers to a single image or to one in a series.

This is followed by the Title of the photo, any listings which may have been made of the photographed image, the Notes on Content, specifying any noteworthy features of the subject portrayed, indication of its Typology (manuscript, printed work, scientific collection, etc.), and the Work Area, which serves as memorandum for internal use.

The right-hand part (when viewing the screen) is organized in five fields, alternatively viewable:

TECHICAL DATA: specifies the date and the quality level of the photograph, the photographic medium utilized, its format and that of any catalogued copies, its physical location in the archive;

OBJECT: indicates data relevant to the inventory of the object or book photographed and information on the type of photograph;

CATEGORIES: specifies the subject of the image, effected through the fields "Collections", "Categories" and "Key Words";

NAMES: records the name of the person and/or agencies connected to the image, including indication of the type of relationship existing (e.g., Author, Maker, Proprietor, etc.);

RIGHTS: contains data on the legal status of the image, such as the provenance of the photograph, the photographer and the conditions under which the Institution can provide it. The last fields concern the degree of completeness of the records compiled and the name of the staff member responsible for these records.

The section "CD" is used for integrated management of the digital mediums of the images, offering a view of the cataloged material from a different perspective. This ensures more efficient management of digital images, destined to assume an increasingly important role in the years to come.
It also presents the fields for identification of the CD and for its collocation and dating. The "Content" field contains a brief description of the contents of the CD.

The "Client" and "Request for photographs" fields are instead utilized to record requests to use the images made by other parties.



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