Special Collections Photo Collections Data Dictionary

March 2009
Compiled by Kathryn Totton, Glee Willis, and Molly Beisler
Updated by Glee Willis, June 1, 2012

Field name Comments
Title Enter a title for the photograph.  Sometimes this will be taken from the caption, such as on a postcard.

Example:  Pyramid Lake Guest Ranch

Image ID Enter the accession number and image number.

Example:  UNRS-P1993-01-382

Photographer Enter the name of the photographer in the form "Last Name, Firstname".

Example:  Mack, Ernie

Image Date
[displays to user]
Date original image was created. Use as exact a date as is possible, including the month and day, if known. At a minimum, the year is required. 

a. Year: YYYY ("1897" for the year 1897)
b. Year and month: MM-YYYY ("07-1897" for July 1897)
c. Complete date: MM-DD-YYYY ("07-16-1897" for July 16, 1897)

For older images, if the exact date is not known but you can make a pretty good guess for the date, use a "circa" date, e.g. "ca. 1934" or "ca. 1890."

An approximate date is better than no date, so make an educated guess as to a date whenever possible.

A circa date should be entered as:     ca. 19XX  (e.g., "ca. 1940")

For more information on dates, see the Dates page.


Searchable Date
[does not display to user]
Enter the searchable date in the form "YYYY".

When a "circa" date has been used in the "Image Date" field, enter a 10-year range (5 years earlier and 5 years later) around your guessed date. For "ca. 1934" (in the Image Date field), enter "1929-1939"  (no spaces between the dates and the dash).

(CONTENTdm will translate that range into "1929; 1930; 1931 ... etc." so a user will find the image if they search for any of the included dates.)

For more information on dates, see the Dates page.


Summary/Description A description of the scene depicted in the image.

If no caption, then create a description like this:

Photograph, from the Margaret M. Wheat Collection, of a Northern Paiute Indian community; Title supplied by cataloger; postcard

If there is a caption, then create a description like this:

Title taken from photograph. Caption on image: Harry Drackert winning on "Sierra." Reno Rodeo, September 6-7, 1942.   Photograph from the Harry and Joan Drackert Collection; postcard

The description should include:

  • Format of item (postcard, stereograph, etc.)
Subject Use LC subject headings based on those found in the online catalog. Copying and pasting from the web display is the easiest way to transfer the heading entry. [To find relevant subject headings, do a keyword search in the Classic Catalog. When you find a LC subject heading that fits or is close to what you need, click on it to go to a browse list of subject headings.]

  • Pyramid Lake Guest Ranch (Sutcliffe, Nev.)
  • Dude ranches-Nevada
  • Aerial photographs-Sutcliffe (Nev.)

You may use the headings in the catalog as patterns to create new headings, but only after doing a keyword search to make certain there are no entries with variations on wording in the catalog.


You have a postcard that is labeled as the Joe Smith Guest Ranch in Carson City. There is no heading for this used in the online catalog, so you may create, based on the Pyramid Lake Guest Ranch entry listed above:

  • Joe Smith Guest Ranch (Carson City, Nev.)
Location Use controlled vocabulary already loaded for this fieldt o record the geographic locations (if known) for the photograph, such as:

 Reno (Nev.); Washoe County; Nevada

Format all coverage citations as above, including "City[space](St.abbrev);[space]County;[space]State".

Collection Enter the collection name of the Special Collections' named photograph collection, as appropriate.

Example:  Camp Chonokis Collection

Leave field blank if the item did not come from an established archival collection.


Original Publisher Enter the original publisher and publisher's location, if known.

Example:  Nevada Photo Service

Electronic Publisher Use: Special Collections Department, University of Nevada, Reno Library
Electronic Publication Date Date when image was digitized. Enter dates in the form "MM-DD-YYYY". At a minimum, the year is required.


Ordering and Permissions Information For SP photos, use: Not to be reproduced without permission. For permissions information, please see http://knowledgecenter.unr.edu/materials/specoll/photos.aspx#order
To obtain copies of images, please use the shopping cart function (see "add to shopping cart" link on menu bar, above).

For NHS photos, use: Not to be reproduced without permission. To purchase copies of images and/or obtain information, please contact the Nevada Historical Society at 775-688-1190
Date Digital Date image was either scanned or item was loaded. Enter dates in the form "MM-DD-YYYY". At a minimum, the year is required.
Related item(s) Enter the related item, as appropriate. This will most likely be a link to the finding aid for the collection from which a photograph came.

Example:  Camp Chonokis manuscript collection 90-86 (see: http://knowledgecenter.unr.edu/specoll/mss/90-86.html)

If there is a collection specified in the "Collection" field, use the name and number of the archival collection with a link to the collection's finding aid.

If there is no finding aid available, check the online catalog for a record; if there is a catalog record for the collection, use a link to the catalog record. (Do not put in a link to the catalog record if there is a finding aid available.)


[suppressed from display]
Enter the donor, as appropriate:

Example:  James R. Herz

[suppressed from display]
Use: "image/tiff" for tiff images.
Digitization Specifications This field documents technical information on how the digital resource was created.

For scanned images: include such information as scanner model, scan resolution, compression schemes, size/format of master file, for example:

These images exist as archived TIFF images and one or more JPEG versions for general use. They were scanned at 400 dpi, 24-bit from the original.

File Name Use: Filename (from "Identifier" field) + file format suffix
  • P1989-55-2747.tif
Contributor Person(s) who contributed significantly to the creation of the image. Usually a translator, or someone who colorized a photograph.  Or the surveyor of a map. In most cases, we will leave this field blank.
Resource Type Use: "Image"
Source The original source where something was published, such as the chapter of a book, or a newspaper article. In most cases, we will leave this field blank.
[suppressed from display]
Use: eng
Contributing Institution Use: "University of Nevada, Reno"
Audience [Not currently used.]
Transcription [Usually not used for photos.]