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History 403B (Spring 2021)

Instruction guide History 502B: Practicum in Digital History.

Course Project

History 403B students will identify and select images of Orange County public artworks to include in a digital mapping project. Students will attempt to find works available to use under the public domain or through Creative Commons, but they may have to contact the photo or illustration creators to request permission to use copyrighted works. Students will define the appropriate metadata criteria for the project, and then create that metadata.

Applying the CRAAP Test Criteria When Selecting Images

What is the CRAAP Test?

Due to the vast number of sources existing online, it can be difficult to tell whether some sources are trustworthy to use as tools for research. The CRAAP test contains a series of questions that helps students and educators determine if sources are trustworthy and appropriate for academic research. CRAAP is an acronym for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. By employing the CRAAP test while evaluating sources, a researcher reduces the likelihood of using unreliable information. Please keep in mind that the following questions are not static nor exhaustive. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.


Applying the CRAAP Test to Your Course Project Images

Since this course project involves selecting images created by others to include in a digital display, versus for regular research purposes, I have highlighted in yellow the CRAAP Test criteria most relevant to this course assignment, and elaborate on that below the infographic.

The criteria highlighted below in yellow are those most relevant to this course project.

Currency:

  • Is a date provided for the photograph of the artwork?
  • Is the artwork still standing?

Authority:

  • Is it the photographer who is sharing the photograph on a website, social media post, or in an image repository?
  • Is it a museum of local government agency who is sharing the photograph?
  • Does the social media channel, website, or media repository provide contact information (an email address or website link) for the person or organization that is sharing the photograph?

Accuracy:

  • Do you find corroborating information elsewhere to support the information (artwork title or description, name of the artist, location of the artwork, current status of the artwork, etc.) being conveyed about that photograph?
  • Has the photograph been altered from the original (i.e., using a filter, adding stickers or embellishments, etc.)?

Recommended Digital Archives & Repositories

Following are some general search strategies – applicable to any archive or repository – to locate digital content for your assignment. The tabs to the right focus on suggested repositories, and include any strategies that are more specific to each of those websites and collections.

  • Place Names: Cities, neighborhoods, parks, etc.
  • Types of Artwork: Murals, statues, etc.
  • Themes: Chicano, street art, etc.

Why Wikimedia Commons?

Wikimedia Commons is a digital media repository run by the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind Wikipedia. Many government institutes and cultural heritage organizations, along with individuals, contribute their collections to Wikimedia Commons to make them freely available and more discoverable.

Analyzing Wikimedia Commons Item Records

Pay attention to these particular sections of each Wikimedia Commons item record that you review from your search results. The numbers in this list correspond to the numbers displayed on the graphics below.

  1. The metadata immediately below the image describes the different sizes available for the attached image, and provides a link to each.
  2. The metadata Summary box provides a description of the attached image, the date associated with the image, a source link to the contributing institution's own item record, and the individual or organization credited with authorship (such as the photographer).
  3. The Licensing box provides rights information, indicating which Wikimedia Commons reside in the public domain (usually with an explanation), and which have a Creative Commons license applied (stating the specific license and terms).

 

Example Item Record for a Public Domain Image

For the numbered section of this item record, please refer to the explanation above.

This example public domain item record from a Wikimedia Commons search for "Whittier Narrows" has numbered sections that correspond to the explanations noted above.

 

Example Item Record for a Creative Commons Image

For the numbered section of this item record, please refer to the explanation above.

This example Creative Commons item record from a Wikimedia Commons search for "Whittier Narrows" has numbered sections that correspond to the explanations noted above.

Why Calisphere?

The California focus of Calisphere makes it particularly suited to the course assignment. Calisphere allows you to filer your search results on different facets such as media type (image, text, sound, etc.), and by decade, 


Discovery Tool Strategies

Filtering on Your Search Results

After entering your search term(s) on Calisphere, it can be helpful to filter your query by one or any of the following criteria. Each criteria point listed here corresponds to the same number on the screenshot below:

  1. enter or change your main search criteria in the site-wide search box,
  2. refine those initial search results by entering an additional search term in the "Search within results" box,
  3. filter your search results by the type of media item (image, text, sound, etc.), and/or
  4. filter your search results by decade.

Search Tip: There is no ability to filter on public domain items. A suggested workaround is to use the search term "public domain" in the main search box, or in the option to search within your results. While that will also retrieve items that use the term "public domain" in general item record metadata fields (like a description field that describes public domain land grants), it will also bring up any items that have the term public domain in the rights information metadata field.

 

Calisphere allows you to refine your search with an additional term, or to filter your search results by media type or decade.

 

Browsing Calisphere Exhibitions

The Exhibitions feature on Calisphere can be a useful discovery tool. Each exhibition focuses on a particular theme and curates select digital media that tell story around that theme. You can access the Exhibitions by clicking on that tab in the site-wide navigation menu (shown below with a red arrow). This brings up a random collection of exhibitions. Use the Browse All button (outlined below in the red box) to access all exhibitions.

The Exhibitions feature on Calisphere can be a useful discovery tool for identifying digital media curated around a particular theme.


Analyzing Calisphere Item Records

Pay attention to these particular sections of each Calisphere item record that you review from your search results. The numbers in this list correspond to the numbers displayed on the graphic below.

  1. A low resolution preview of the digital object, with a link to its related item record on the contributing institution's digital repository. Following that link can sometimes take you to higher resolution versions to use.
  2. The title field contains the official digital for the digital object.
  3. The date created or issued field indicates the particular date associated with the digital object.
  4. The contributing institution field identifies what particular library or archive holds the original object.
  5. The rights information field indicates if copyright applies, if the object resides in the public domain, if a Creative Commons license applies, or if the copyright status is unknown. The screenshots further down on this page show several examples.
  6. The description field provides background information about the digital object.
  7. The type and format field describe the nature of the original archival object. In this example, that original object is a black and white photograph.
  8. The bottom section of the item record displays a thumbnail feed of similar items in Calisphere.

The numbered sections on this Calisphere item record correspond to the explanations described in the above list.

 

Example: Public Domain Image

The Rights Information field on the item record for a circa 1910 photo of a winter orange grove, resides in the public domain. That field is emphasized in the image below with a purple box.

The Rights Information field on the item record for a circa 1910 photo indicates the photo resides in the public domain.

 

 

Example: Contact the Lending Institution

The Rights Information field on the item record for a historic photo of the Pio Pico Branch Library building indicates that the lending institution – in this case, the Los Angeles Public Library – must be contacted to inquire into using this image. That field is emphasized in the image below with a purple box.

The Rights Information field on this item record advises that the lending institution must be contacted to inquire into using this photo.

 

Example: Unknown Copyright Status

The Rights Information field on the item record for a photo of an early 20th century farming scene in Whittier has an unknown copyright status. That field is emphasized in the image below with a purple box.

This item record for an early 20th century photograph of Whittier indicates it has unknown copyright status.