ASIS&T 2006 START Conference Manager    

Building Digital Archives of Photography in the Context of AIDS and HIV

Eun G. Park

ASIS&T Annual Meeting - 2006 (ASIS&T 2006)
Austin, Texas, November 3-9, 2006


Problem Statement In the study of HIV and AIDS awareness programs, the significance of visual arts-based approaches has been highlighted to engaging young people in becoming protagonists in addressing the issues and to deepening the understanding of the contribution to obtaining an ‘insider view’ of the issues (Mitchell and Smith, 2003). As a result, the challenge is to find approaches to working with the ever expanding collections of photographs in ways that go beyond the techniques that people have used commonly by reading or viewing approach (Mitchell and Larkin, 2004) of working with individual photos or in the specific communities. The challenge is: what approaches are most useful in working with large and evolving collections of photographs? Adoption of digital technology in the social sciences has been recently raised, such as digital anthropology or visual sociology, particularly in the area of digitization and highlights the contribution of using digitization and technology in the uses of social issues (Murdock & Pink, 2005; Van House, 2005)

Digitization is a kind of data archiving in the social sciences. Digitization is the process by which analogue content is put into a binary code to be readable by a computer (Hughes, 2004). In this study, digitization means that each photo item within the various sets of data is scanned into surrogate images in digital formats. Digital images are then catalogued with a full description. To organize proliferating digital materials effectively, metadata standards have been created. Currently many metadata standards have been introduced for learning objects and used for testing their effectiveness. Several metadata standards are intended to facilitate the interchange of data records describing educational resources generally and to discover these resources across boundaries on the web. While technology development is fast advanced among designers of digital technology applications and systems which undergo rapid growth and transformation, the adoption and implementation of current technology is far behind among users and social scientists.

To address this situation, this research is designed to develop, test out, and implement a digitization protocol for building digital archives of photos in the social context, in particular in the area of HIV and AIDS.

Objectives of the study are: 1) To develop, test out, and implement a pilot protocol for digitization of photos in a specific content-based context to mine the photo data most effectively; 2) to build a digital archives for health/education research working with visual resources, particularly in the area of HIV and AIDS; and 3) To explore the most effective ways of managing photo data sets that draw on a specific content.

Design and Methodology The content of the photos comes from the various collections of photo-voice data that have been already collected over several thousands photos for the last several years by the HIV and AIDS awareness project (that are currently made up of researchers in McGill University, University of Toronto, Concordia University, and University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa). Among the entire photo collections, 500 sample photos will be selected from different kinds of photo groups containing each distinctive feature such as figure (e.g. girls, boys, family, father, mother, etc.), color (e.g. black, colored), size (e.g. small, regular, oversize), location (e.g. rural, urban), geography (e.g. Canada, South Africa), age, gender to include even distribution of photos.

Practical Implementation and Impact to the Field The findings from this research will advance knowledge in the area of digital technology in relation to public health and social change through the study and development of a protocol for developing a digital archives working with large collections of visual data in relation to HIV and AIDS. The findings of this study will contribute to understanding the role of digitization for improving pedagogical purposes, in particular, HIV and AIDS awareness programs to youth and will be useful in anticipating social adoption of current technology by examining the variety of youth’s motives or activities for digital photos and anticipating future uses of technology for further development.

START Conference Manager (V2.52.6)