Posted by: annmucc | January 22, 2009

Rehousing – Part 1: Preparation

A rehousing project is under way right now.

No No! Not me! My research collection is undergoing one 😉

So far, the photographs I have been collecting I catalogued on a spreadsheet, gave each a number, and placed in envelopes, brown-paper bags and whatnot in numerical order according to the reference number I gave them. Well, that system is fine if you have only a small number of samples, but when you get over 500 like I havenow (thanks guys!), you then require a way of easily retrieving the sample you need, without having to flick through a whole bunch of others. Also, as much as possible, I should not touch the photographs, especially once the experimental part is under way, and to also have somewhere to write information about what has been done, ideally somewhere attached to the photo, so you don’t have to stay comparing two different places, but not on the photograph, so as not to interfere with it too much (well, and also, have you ever tried to write on the back of a photograph with a pencil, especially the newer ones? I guess not 🙂 – and pens are not ideal due to the inks). 

The solution used? As I did last year with the paper samples I was using for my undergraduate dissertation, the choice fell on using envelopes, and placing one photograph per envelope. Before I did that however I needed to photograph all the photos so as to have a low-resolution image in my spreadsheet just in case I need to refer to it or whatever  (rather than just the description I was writing before, which can be quite vague at times).

Right now I don’t have a camera here, cos when I went to Malta in December I decided to leave it there as its batteries had stopped functioning properly (hopefully my sister and mother have figured it out, and will get it with them when they come in around 2 weeks time…WOOHOO!). Luckily, my supervisor lent me his, so Tuesday and today I spent most of the days photographing my photos (this should have gone in to yesterday’s post, about Tuesday’s photographing…I guess you know about it now :D).

After I had taken photographs of ever photograph, and downloaded the images onto my computer and renaming each image with the relevant reference number, I then could start the rehousing. So off I went to the stationery to buy the envelopes…I had asked around for suggestions for a cheap stationery, and everyone directed me to the same one, so off I went. I look around, and finally decide on the envelopes I wanted…600 of one size (I have nearly 550 photos right now, and I know my sister and mum should be bringing me some more when they come, so thought it would make sense to buy a bit more than exact numbers), and 50 of a slightly larger size, since I have some which would not fit into the smaller ones (but why should I then buy 600 of the larger ones?)…another thing…20% discount if you buy 5 packets…hmm…I worked it out…it would be cheaper to buy 4 packets of 100 and 1 packet of 200, rather than all of 200 (which are cheaper), cos then considering the 20% discount (for the 200 envelope pkts I would have only needed 3), it would work out cheaper. So off I went to the counter with all of these envelope packets. While I am at the counter, the man also seemed quite nice, so I decided to try my luck and asked…’So do I get the student discount as well?” (which is 10%). He looked at me, smiled in a ‘poor student way, I will save her some money here’, and asked me: ‘Do you have a student ID?’ ‘Sure’ I said, showed it to him, and I got the student 10% discount :D. It still came to a whopping £21.46 or so, but anyways. This was one of the first times I wasn’t embarassed asking for a discount, and I am so proud of myself :P.

Back in the office. First thing I had to do was the number the 550 or so envelopes with the reference numbers I had (AF1-AF547, cos I have 547 photographs right now in my collection). This, of course, is a long and boring job, so I decided to post a new nick on Facebook saying: “Ann has just spent £21.xx on envelopes!’ This elicited some response from my lovely sympathetic friends ;). Notably of all? My supervisor commented on my nick, with a smiley, telling me to keep the invoice as the envelopes are a research expense…WOOHOOO! and phew…my financial controller will be happy 😀



  1. If you want better pictures of the backs of photos you could also use a real scanner.

  2. @ Michael: LOL – yeah – maybe that would have been a better idea, and maybe scanning the photographs would have been a beter idea as well. But there isn’t a handy scanner, so maybe that was the reason – boqq! or my non-functioning brain

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