Notes: Missing Information: Photographs and Captions

Notes: Missing Information: Photographs and Captions

The purpose of data curation is to increase the effective access of information that is often omitted. One very basic example is that of photographs. Consider a routine political memoir with a section of photographs: It is very common for there to be photographs of people with the memoirist even though those people do not appear in the index to the book, or the book itself. Not only are these connections often interesting, they are suggest further directions for research.

Even the standard bibliographic practice of noting, for example, “Includes portrait of X.” is unknown to search engines. (Of course, we include such notes and more).

A photograph might be the equivalent of a thousands words, but usually it is summarized in less than 20 words, and the summary is often very poor. One problem is that a news story and a photograph are matched up after the story is written and sometimes photographs are misrepresented. Often the photograph is more interesting that the article it accompanies, as in the example below.

In 2016-2017, the years of the presidential election in the United States and the first tumultuous year thereafter, there were tens of thousands of news articles on political protests. The photographs often showed the signs and posters of the demonstrators that stated the identity of the group that had produced the sign. The accompanying news articles almost never mention the names of these groups, even if it is no harder to find that by looking at the photograph illustrating the story, and so a record of the political activities of groups organizing protests usually cannot be found in searches of such articles, because the information is missing.

In every instance, labeling elements of photographs, and then dscriptoring them, makes them searchable. We look at and summarize photographs and prevent that information from going missing.


[Sample Record]

Title: “Law Enforcement: FBI Director Candidate List Faces Attack; President Risks Battle Over Appointment As Political Choices Draw Rancour”, in Financial Times, May 10, 2017.

Abstract: Pres. Trump may make an unprecedented political appointee head of the FBI. Earnest Babcock, a former deputy assistant director of the FBI states that any appointee should have a police or intelligence background and be as apolitical as every FBI chief has been. Democrats claim that the firing of FBI director James Comey was intended to sabotage the investigation of links between the Trump campaign and Russia. Already Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Angus King have stated they would oppose a political appointment, and John McCain and Susan Collins are expected to joint then in opposition.

It is believed that Trump will select the new head of the FBI from among three Republican politicians: Sen. John Cornyn; Rep. Trey Gowdy, who led the investigation into the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi; and former Rep. Mike Rogers, a retired FBI agent who headed the House Intelligence Committee. Rogers has been endorsed by an association representing 13000 retired FBI agents.

Caption: Protesters demonstrate over the firing of FBI director Jamese Comey. [a banner reads “Firing of James Comey… […] Towards Fascism; a pile of printed signs in the foreground read “NO! Drive out the Trump/Pence Regime.”. The protesters are Maoists.] [TXT]

Author: Lynch, David J.
Geographic: Libya, Russia, USA
Subject: 2015-2016 Election Cycle, Dissidents, Maoism, Police Agencies, Police Intelligence, Presidential Campaigns

Corporate: Refuse Fascism, RCP, Revolutionary Communist Party, FBI, House Intelligence Committee, Democratic Party

Named Person: Babcock, Earnest [USA]; Comey, James [USA]; Trump, Donald [USA]; Cornyn, John [USA]; Gowdy, Trey [USA]; Rogers, Mike [USA]; Graham, Lindsey [USA]; McCain, John [USA]; Collins, Susan [USA]; King, Angus [USA]

Place of Publication: UK
Document Type: Newspaper
ISSN: 0925-9460
Record Type: Newspaper
Language: English