This account was written for the MidAtlantic News Research Conference on July 18-19, 1997.
Day in the Life of a Photo Archive Administrator at the News & Record by Jim Thompson Come into work a little early today, because I seam to get so much more done when there are people here. It's about 11:00 a.m. and as usual there is a stack of photos on my disk that need filling. The photos are from the day before and most are what I like to call throw away art. such as editorials. We keep everything for a year just in case in a file cabinet though. I separate what is returnable to a particular department, what is throw away and what is ours that must be returned to the files. When I started here three years ago the stacks of pictures were much bigger. Electronic photo technology is really coming along. Hard to believe we will see the day when prints are a thing of the past. Once I have picked through those pictures, I set them aside to be filled later. I just like to get them organized so I can move onto the electronic images. I turn to my Mac and first look on our server that we use to store live photos for publication. At the end of the night, the copy desk dumps the photos used from the day before into a folder slugged library saves and then I must go through and see what has come over. Even though I subscribe to the paper and read it in the morning before work, I also must look through the paper carefully at work to see what photos were used that day that I want to archive. I try and match up what is there with what I want to save. Many times we have more photos in library saves than we can actually afford to save. (Meaning our photo archiving system can not handle every photo we run in the paper, it can't even come close.) By this time it's about 12:30 and I am about ready to begin most of the archiving. Since getting to the paper till now, I have also had to fill requests of various people needing photos. Because our digital photo archives are rigged and not like the AP Preserver or something fancy, we have to manually get photos for people at the library terminal off optical disks. This means being interrupted several times during the day to pull photos for someone. (Hopefully with the new photo archiving system we are looking into getting, a lot of this time will no longer be spent. Hopefully things will be a lot different with a new system.) By 1:00 p.m., I also take over the duties of answering the phone from outside/inside customers. I am available to take calls at anytime during the day, but I don't start actually answering the calls till 1 p.m. We only have two staff members who answer calls - Gail, from 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and myself, from 1 p.m.-8 p.m. It works out pretty well, but this is another type of interruption that I must deal with. From this time till about 4:30 p.m. I am trying to archive all the electronic photos, answer customer questions on the phone and assist reporters' and editors' needs as they arise. Gail leaves at 3:00 p.m., so then I also take over the research responsibility and must do any type of research as that comes up. At 4:30 p.m., it's off to the budget meeting. I attend the afternoon meeting to determine what photo needs may be requested and also add my thought and input to the next days paper. After that it's off to go pull photographs that are requested. From about 5-7 p.m. things get pretty quiet, which is a great opportunity to get caught up on photo archiving. I also have a chance to search the leaf desk for photos that I may want to include in the archives and also pull together advanced photos for the life department so than can have an idea what is out there in the way of art. I will save these photos on a disk for temporary storage and then give them proofs to let them know where they are stored at. (Another thing that would change if we had a newer photo archive.) By this time it is now 7:15 and I am ready to get out of here. Things are quiet and I have a Greensboro Jaycee meeting to attended after work. It never stops in the Day in the Life of me!!
A Day in the Life
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Last Updated: 09/16/02
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