Home > BROWSING AND SEARCHING THIS SITE (First Draft)

BROWSING AND SEARCHING THIS SITE (First Draft)

by William Cox

Introduction

Some users of the GKS Digital Archive will only be interested in browsing this site -- skipping among items that catch their interest.  Others will wish to do more complex searches of the archive, looking for specific items that fit into various categories such as date, location, subject material, and/or photographer. This page describes the best ways to browse and search our online resources.  

Browsing the Digital Archive

Those interested only in browsing the archive will benefit from understanding three terms:

An Item: this is generally an individual resource stored in the archive and may be a photograph, a map, or a print document.  Typically, each item receives its own page in this archive.  Occasionally, an item page will contain multiple images but all these images will pertain to the same resource (for example, an item page may contain images of the front and back of a photo if the back shows a useful inscription). 

A Collection: this indicates the source of a resource.  A collection is generally tied to a story about how items came to be in the GKS digital archive.  For example, the Norman Hall post card collection is a set of more than 600 images assembled by the person after whom the collection is named and contributed to the GKS by the Reverend Marjorie Hall Davis.  Each item in the GKS archive is associated with only one collection.  In rare instances, the digital archive may contain more than one print of the same image and these two prints may be associated with different collections.  (For example, the same postcard may have been contributed to the GKS in separate collections.) 

An exhibit: this is a group of items (resources) that have been organized by topic.  An item may appear in multiple exhibits.  For example, a photo of the First Congregational Church from a notional "XYZ Collection" might appear in an exhibit on Guilford’s churches and it may also appear in an exhibit on buildings surrounding the Guilford Green.   

Searching the Digital Archive

Understanding the Dublin Core

To facilitate searches of this site, we use the "Dublin Core" approach to organizing the information related to the various items in the GKS archive (the information that describes photos and documents is generally known as "metadata").  Simply put, the Dublin Core is a set of "baskets" (or categories) in which specific types of metadata are collected. Placing metadata into narrowly defined baskets allows users to undertake focused searches on specific types of information.

To see the importance of this, consider how one might try to find all the photos in the archive that were produced in 1865.  If we did not use the Dublin Core categories, and if all information about archive items were included in a single catch-all basket, a search of "1865" might yield photos of 1865 Durham Road, a photo of a home that was built in 1865, a photo of a headstone of someone who died in 1865, and a photo with a GKS Archive ID number of 1865.  

In contrast, the Dublin Core provides a specific basket in which we keep only the dates on which photographes were taken. When people search for "1865" in the date "field" (basket or category) the only search results with which they will be presented will relate to the date a photo was captured (or, if the associated item is a map or a publication, the date the documant was produced).     

Most users are likely to find the following Dublin Core fields (or baskets) to be of the greatest interest:

Date (the date an image was captured or the date a document was produced)
Subject (the individuals shown in an image)
Coverage (the types of things or people represented in the photo, taken from a list of "key words" and phrases)
Spatial Coverage (the geographical location of an image)
Creator (this is generally a photographer or an author)  

To get the most out of searching these fields, one needs to know a little about how information is organized in each.  In the next section, we describe how we organized these metadata. Farther down this page, we describe how to do an "advanced search" (generally, an "exact phrase" search) using the search capabilities of this site.  

Understanding the "Fields" of the Dublin Core

Date

For still images, the date indicates when the image was captured. For maps and other published items, date indicates when the resource was produced.  Using the advanced search feature discussed below, exact phrase searches can be undertaken in the "date" field using the following format:

YYYY-MM-DD

For example, to find all photos taken in the 1930s one would search for "193". To find photos taken in February, 1934, one would search on "1934-02".

Subject

This field indicates the names of the people represented in the photo.  To facilitate searching, names are entered in the form

Last_Name, First_Name Middle_Name (Maiden_Name)

For example, two possible ways to do an exact phrase search for Althea Collins would be "Collins, Althea R" or "Collins, A".  One could also search on her maiden name, Rossiter.

Spatial Coverage (Location)

There are several ways of categorizing an item's location within Guilford, and none of them are ideal. Some items are associated with an exact street address and, when these are available, we have included them.  In many cases, however, we can only assign approximate locations, such as neighborhoods, districts, or sub-divisions.  

Making these sorts of approximations presents challenges.  The town has many neighborhoods and areas that are only loosely defined.  For example, who can say where the boundaries of "Podunk Woods" lie? An ideal categorization of location would provide categories that are (1) exhaustive -- every place in Guilford would fall into a category, (2) unique -- every item in the archive would be associated with only one category, (3) intuitive -- it would be simple to know in which category an item belongs, and (4) granular -- each location category would be relatively small.   

Because no single approach to locating items meets all these criteria, we use multiple sets of categories to assigning location. The most historical is taken from an 1868 map of Guilford available at

https://gks.omeka.net/items/show/18

This divides all of Guilford into 16 districts (these originally indicated the areas served by the 16 schoolhouses in town). Using the advanced search feature, "exact phrase" searches can be undertaken in the "spatial coverage" field using the following terms:

Bluff District
Centre District (note spelling)
Clapboard Hill District
Moose Hill District 
Mulberry Point
North District 
North East District of the Village Center
North West District of the Village Center (shaded green on the 1868 map, but not explicitly labelled)
Norton Town
Nut Plains North District
Nut Plains South District
Sachems Head District
South District 
South East District of the Village Center
South West District of the Village Center
West Side District  

For example, if one wished to find a photo taken at the south end of Lake Quonnipaug, one would do an exact phrase search in the "spatial coverage" field for "Centre District". 

While there are several advantages to using these historical districts to categorize location, it can sometimes be difficult to determine whether a particular item is located in one distict or an adjacent district (often, the district boundaries do not align with landmarks that are easy to recognize today).

For this reason, we also use a second approach to categorizing location based on well-known roads in Guilford. Using the advanced search feature, key word searches can be undertaken in the "spatial coverage" field using the following terms:

Area_1 - North of Rt 80, West of Rt 77,
Area_2 - North of Rt 80, East of Rt 77
Area_3 - Between Rt 80 and Rt 1, West of Rt 77
Area_4 - Between Rt 80 and Rt 1, East of Rt 77
Area_5 - Between Rt 1 and Rt 146, West of River Street
Area_6 - Between Rt 1 and Rt 146, East of River Street
Area_7 - South of Rt 146 (or south of that portion of Rt 1 which is east of the intersection with Rt 146)

For example, to find items located south of Rt 146, one would search for "Area_7"  

Still other geographical distinctions can be made and users can search on the following exact phrases:

"Town Center Local Historic District"
"Whitfield Street local Historic District"  
"Guilford Historic Town Centre as listed on the National Register of Historic Places"

See http://guilfordpreservation.org/WordPress/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/gpa_historicheritage.pdf

The "Guilford Historic Town Centre" is defined as follows:  

"The exact boundaries of the Guilford Historic District are as follows: From the intersection of the W. River with the exit ramps of 1-95t the boundary runs east along the highway right of way line crossing North, Church and State Streets to a point on the highway right of way line 200 feet east of State Street; then generally southerly from that point to the rear property line of the second property to the south, then continues southerly along the rear property lines behind the properties fronting on the east side of State Street to the rear property line of the properties fronting on Market Place, thence easterly along the rear property lines of the properties fronting on Market Place, Union Street, and Boston Street to East Creek, thence along the West bank of East Creek to the north bank of a nameless stream immediately south of Alderbook Cemetary to the rear property line of a property fronting on the south side of Boston Street, thence Southwesterly along the rear property lines of the properties fronting on the south side of Boston Street to lovers lane. Thence along the center lines of lovers lane, Stone House Lane and Sawpit Road to the west bank of East Creek, thence southerly along the west bank of East Creek to L.I. Sound, westerly along the shore of L.I. Sound to the E. bank of West River and then northerly along the E. bank of West River to the point of starting. The area included within the boundaries of the Guilford Historic Town Center amounts to approximately 1752 acres."

-- From the nomination of the "Guilford Historic Town Centre" for the National Register of Historic Places, July 6, 1976

Another historical location is the "Borough of Guilford" and one can do an exact phrase search on this expression.

An image of the "Borough" is included in the "City Atlas of the State of Connecticut," compiled from government surveys, county records and personal investigations. D.H. Hurd & Co., Boston. 1893. Copyright 1893, by D.H. Hurd & Co., Boston.  See https://gks.omeka.net/items/show/6  

Finally, one should never forget Faulkner's Island (note spelling)

Creator

Several photographers have contributed substantial numbers of images to the archive 

Photographer's Name (Code)
Bryan, Harriet Hunt (HHB)
Coan, Joseph F. (JFC)
Chapman, Richard S. (RSC)
Colter, Earl (EC)
Davis, Elliot E. (EED)
Davis, Henry S. (HSD)
Dudley, Edmund F. (EFD)
Dudley, Shelton W. (SWD)
Dudley, William A. (WAD)
Goodwin,_____ (Go)
Goodwin, Warren F. (WFG)
Hubbard, Charles D. (CDH)
Hubbard, Leonard D. (LDH)
Miscellaneous (Misc)
Peck, William E. (WEP)
Photo-Copy films (PC)
Potter, Clarence C. (CCP)
Potter, Ernest H. (EHP)
Putney, Clarence (CP)
Rowland, Fredrick (FR)
"Early  Green" photographer -- person unknown (Green) 

Coverage

The coverage field describes the things and people represented in an image, using a list of pre-defined "key words" and phrases developed by the site administrators.  This list includes the following:

Aerial views
Barns
Boats and ships
Bridges
Canneries
Cars, trucks, & other motorized road vehicles
Cemeteries
Chruches
Children
Civil War soldiers
Fire Department
Guilford Fair
Families
Famous residents and visitors
Farm animals
Horses
Landmarks
Landscapes
Littorals
Machinery
Monuments
Portraits
Railroad
Schools
Shops
Sleighes
The Green
Winter
Women

A full list of these key words is available at this site:

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX