Research in image retrieval attracts researchers and practitioners from a variety of fields, and one major research challenge is meeting the needs of the end users of those images (Jorgensen, 2003). Jorgensen (2003) also suggests that various image collections are needed for system evaluation and that to “ensure both reliability and validity of testing results, the content should be grounded in the reality of the image community who make heavy use of digital images in their jobs, as well as providing suitable testing material for a variety of techniques” (p. 267). Historical photographs are on Jorgensen's list for desirable testbeds. Pictures of the Year International (POYi) describes itself as
“the oldest and one of the most prestigious photojournalism programs in the world. The mission of POYi is to empower the world's best documentary photography to provide a visual portrayal of society and foster an understanding of the issues facing our civilization. POYi presents public exhibitions, promotes professional development, and cultivates its vast 38,000-image archive of historic photographs. These programs have enormous potential to engage and educate citizens about their world and the role of a free press in a democratic society. Since 1944, POYi has set the gold standard for documentary photography. Now in its 66th year, POYi continues to reflect the news events, social issues, and cultural influences of our world by recognizing excellence in photojournalism” (http://archive.poyi.org/about/).
A prototype of the POYi image collection called the POYi Archive has been developed using the Omeka.org content management system. The collection contains over 38,000 photographs and offers end users the ability to search the photographic collection. The original and main Pictures of the Year website (http://www.poyi.org/) was created as a static web site using a proprietary web development environment. The original website still exists and the new prototype was created using open source solutions and launched on a subdomain. Visitors of the main website were encouraged to browse the website's various collections by Year of Award. There were little or no search capabilities present in this initial incarnation and only the last several years were available online. The new version, which operates side-by-side with the existing source, was built as a prototype for further development. The first set of features were based on a database-driven design, which supports both searching and browsing the collections and the photographs. Based on the indexing of metadata established by the Photojournalism faculty and staff at Missouri, the designers sought to provide a more dynamic approach to locating relevant content within and across the various collections. See Figure 1 for a complete list of metadata elements. Figure 2 depicts the Basic and Advanced Search interface which supports interactive end user searching by Specific fields, by Collection, by Type and by metadata tag. Dropdowns are included for ease of selection within those categories. Figure 3 depicts a typical search result which includes some of the fielded information, including Publisher, Creator, Relation, Spatial Coverage, Rights and Source. Additional fields can be displayed by scrolling down the selected results page. Figure 4 depicts the metadata description of a specific image item.
This current project focuses on how well the metadata used within this new implementation meets the needs of the target audience. The results are expected to enhance the quality of the metadata elements, system functions, and POYi's outreach program. The browsable and searchable POYi Archive is available on the open Web at http://archive.poyi.org/.
The investigators address several key issues recommended by the Library of Congress's Future of Bibliographic Control report (2008). These issues include: testing the use of metadata elements for news photos on the Web; collaborating with end-users on organizing and accessing news photos; and collecting evidence to support system enhancement of the POYi testbed. The research questions of the projects are:
- 1Do end users search or browse to find images?
- 2What are the most frequently used/least used metadata elements searched by users?
- 3What are the common characteristics of search terms selected for use by end users?
This poster reports preliminary results of users' use of search functions provided by the POYI website and their image queries.