SLIS Students Design Photograph Database for the BFC/A

Four students from the School of Library and Information Science recently created a database currently in use at the BFC/A.  Dr Ying Ding’s class, Database Design, was chartered with teaching students how to use various database models, understand database theory, and finally, to create their own.  Stacey Doyle, Asik Pradhan, Rebecca Reed, and Jane Shin built a database for us to be able to search and access our database collection easier.  From their project description:

The [Black Film Center/Archive] seek a database that allows them to successfully search and cross-reference their photograph collection…The database will not only support the instructional and research needs of the patrons, but it will also encourage personal interests in the history, meaning, and aesthetics of black film via the photograph collection.  The purpose of the database is to create something that will streamline the clients’ photograph acquisition and retrieval process and make it easier for [the BFC/A] to cross reference.

The photograph database in now online and searchable (the photos themselves are not online for copyright reasons, but can be viewed/scanned/copied at the BFC/A).

“Before, we just had a big list and it was only categorized by the title of the photo, which could be many things,” said Stacey Doyle, who worked on the project and now works at the BFC/A.  “Say you were looking for photos of Denzel Washington – the photos titled ‘Denzel Washington’ would likely be promotional headshots.  A photo of him on set might be titled ‘Glory,’ and it would be tougher to know.  So with this, you get a better sense of what we have.”

The collaboration between the BFC/A and the School of Library and Information Sciences is representative of the larger effort of the BFC/A to be a place of learning for a wide section of interests at Indiana University, and to collaborate on various projects with students and groups on campus.


Promotional photos from Baadasssss (2003) with Melvin & Mario Van Peebles. Photos by Michael O'Connor. Copyright 2003 Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Promotional photo of Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis (undated) from the photograph database.

About BFC/A

The Black Film Center/Archive at Indiana University was established in 1981 as the first archival repository dedicated to collecting, preserving, and making available historically and culturally significant films by and about black people. The BFC/A's primary objectives are to promote scholarship on black film and to serve as an open resource for scholars, researchers, students, and the general public; to encourage creative film activity by independent black filmmakers; and to undertake and support research on the history, impact, theory, and aesthetics of black film traditions. View all posts by BFC/A

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