The Jefferson Lab Preservica website offers easier internal access to the lab’s curated photos, videos and archival documents
While a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes you need the words to help make sense of the picture. That’s the impetus behind an ongoing project to open up the lab’s image, video and archive collections for easier access by the Jefferson Lab community.
The lab’s long-time photo archive was established as a shared drive in 2002. It grew organically as a handful of lab employees gathered photos needed for newsletter articles, internal memos, presentations and event highlights. Now, the archive consists of hundreds of nested folders with thousands of photos organized primarily by subject, location and date. A smaller video archive is also housed on the shared drive.
The lab’s Communications Office and the Computer Sciences and Technology Division’s Information Resources staff members teamed up during the pandemic on a project to deliver a more easily accessible and searchable photo archive for use by members of the lab community.
“Our current system of photo archiving is not very intuitive, resulting in time lost and frustration for lab members who are trying to find images to use in presentations and reports,” said Lauren Hansen, Jefferson Lab’s chief communications officer. “We partnered with the CST Division to help provide the lab community with a more useful tool that would allow them to easily access the lab’s vast photo archive, as well as some important historical videos."
The team settled on Preservica, a popular application used by libraries and archivists worldwide to preserve information digitally.
“I used Preservica at San Jose State University when I was working on my master's degree. I found it to be fairly easy to use, and I really liked the end-user experience,” said Kim Edwards, Jefferson Lab’s scientific and technical information manager. “Preservica encourages its user community to help develop new and better features we actually want to see, not just piece together things the company thinks we want to see.”
Once the selection was made, the small team trained on the software and began the long and arduous process of transferring thousands of files into the new system in January 2021. The team members were later joined by volunteers from Facilities Management & Logistics and Engineering, who began helping the team to add identifying information to the images to make them easier to find via the search function. This information includes identification of individual items and people, photo location, project name and event information.
“In science, we focus on the papers to publish and the talks to present about results in scientific experiments. In archives, it's just as important to remember the journey and acknowledge the people and events that bring us to those important scientific outcomes, for without them, we would not be where we are today.” Edwards said.
While many assets have been loaded into the system, the painstaking process of applying information to each individual asset continues.
“We’re continuing to add search terms to the many photos and videos in the system,” said Hansen. “In the meantime, we’re excited to make these assets available for use by our Jefferson Lab colleagues.”
Members of the Jefferson Lab community may access the Jefferson Lab Preservica Archives website here. Upon login with your username and password via the familiar JLab Web Single Sign-On screen, you will have access to thousands of curated assets, with more assets and information being added each week. The files may be navigated by folder or by search.
New assets are continually being added to the lab’s existing shared drive and the Preservica site. Identifying information is added to new assets as they are uploaded, so that these files are searchable going forward.
In addition to photos and videos, the lab’s Information Resources group also collects materials relevant to the lab’s mission and history for preservation in its physical and digital historical archives. If you have materials that you feel meet this description, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We welcome materials that are relevant, interesting or unique to include in the archives. We scan materials which may be useful to the online community, but other materials are cataloged and maintained in the analog archives space,” said Edwards.
Additionally, if you need to arrange for photos of upcoming events, lab milestones or projects, you may request support by emailing email@example.com.
Contact: Kandice Carter, Jefferson Lab Communications Office, firstname.lastname@example.org