Each digital object is accompanied by a description of the object itself, its history and provenance, and its content. This systematic description is known as the metadata and enables us to manage our objects in the physical and digital worlds, and allows you - our users - to find things quickly and comprehensively.
As a result, the metadata can sometimes be quite complex and detailed. This page will help you to understand how we have described our material, and to find the resources suited to your enquiry. More general search tips can be queried through the 'Help' button on the right hand side of the top grey bar.
The title of each object is a simple way of stating the name by which the object is commonly known or a simple name assigned by us, and does not include specific details about the content.
This field describes the subject matter of the content of the resource, using a standard vocabulary derived from the Library of Congress Subject Headings. This should ensure that we always describe the same thing in the same way, thereby bringing consistency to your search results.
Name and Description
The name field lists any names associated with the content of the resource - including people or organisations directly depicted in the image or listed in the resource. They are in the format of 'surname, first name, date'. Sometimes a first name initial is used. This is a freetext field, so the first names are not 'chained' to the surnames.
The description field sums up the content of the object by observing and listing all things pertinent to the subject areas.
Where relevant, the geographical location of the content of the resource can be expressed in two fields. The place name uses a hierarchical vocabulary derived from the Library of Congress Subject Headings, while a standard geotag is sometimes used to pin the object to a specific spot.
Date of Subject
The date of the subject is expressed in as much detail as it is known in the format year-month-day. In addition we have also included a period field that will allow quick narrowing of searches by decade. For photographs, the date associated with the content of the resource is also the date of the creation of the resource - hence this information repeats itself. For other resources such as oral histories and artistic pieces, then the date of creation of the resource does not tend to coincide with the date of the content of the resource. For instance, an oral history interview created in 1970 might include a majority of content where the interview subjects talk about the Second World War.
The collection name, donor and creator of the object are all recorded. In some cases where various parties contribute to the creation of a resource we will also record their role. This allows you to narrow searches down by specific names if you require. Please note that rights and use details are also expressed here - we ask you to read them and adhere to them.
We describe the format of the original physical (archival) resource under the heading original format using a standardised vocabulary. A few useful details about the format may also be included such as colour and orientation - these can be used to narrow a search or define a new search.