The making of a digital archive, by a non-archivist


In the process of making David Wurfel digital archive decisions also had to be made regarding metadata. The information that accompanies the digital objects in an archive is not merely descriptive of the content, but it is interpretative since our own understandings and experiences inform the way we read and categorize the materials with which we work. 

My experience with metadata was facilitated by the organization David Wurfel had of his collection. Most of the photographic slides I decided to digitize had titles and specification of dates and places. Since my interest throughout the construction of Wurfel digital archive has been to reflect his experience engaging with Southeast Asian peoples and processes as best as possible I decided to reproduce for metadata the system he adopted to classify his collection. 

Among other things, metadata involved the creation of thematic and geographical tags. My decision in this regard was to use broad and general keywords for topics (as shown in the word cloud) and include spatial scales that go from the local level to the continental one. 


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