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What Makes A Good Tag?

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Have you ever thought about what makes a good tag? Since adding tags enhances the National Archives Catalog search capabilities, we find that the best tags are the ones that add new information to a record that isn’t already available. If you can find the word in the record’s title or scope and content note, add it as a tag - but don’t stop there! You can further improve access to that record if you identify an object, person or action in a record that is not already in the description.

Photographs and Graphic Materials

In order to tag these records, take a good look at the image. What do you see? What’s happening in the image? Is there an overarching theme or feeling? Do you see any people? What kinds of people? What are they doing? What objects do you see?

Let’s take a look at a photograph that can be enhanced with descriptive tags. In this first example,the title of this photograph is long and detailed:  Adults Looking Over Bargain Merchandise Placed in the Street on the Sidewalks by Merchants in New Ulm, Minnesota, during their Annual Street Crazy Days Sale, the Town is a County Seat Trading Center of 13,000 in a Farming Area of South Central Minnesota, It was Founded in 1854 by a German Immigrant Land Company that encouraged its Kinsmen to Emigrate from Europe, the bulk of the Business District is on Minnesota Street which has been Revitalized with Community Effort, 7/1974

 

ADULTS LOOKING OVER BARGAIN MERCHANDISE PLACED IN THE STREET ON THE SIDEWALKS BY MERCHANTS IN NEW ULM, MINNESOTA

What tags can be found in the title or scope and content note?

  • Adults
  • Merchandise
  • Street
  • New Ulm
  • Minnesota
  • German
  • Immigrant
  • Business district
  • Sidewalk

What tags would enhance this description even more?

  • Shoppers
  • Shirts
  • Awning
  • Glasses
  • Bowtie

 

In this next example, the title of this photograph is: Deck of Gun Boat, probably "Mendota"  

Deck of Gun Boat, probably "Mendota"

 

What tags can be found in the title or scope and content note?

  • Deck
  • Gun Boat
  • Boat  
  • Mendota  

What tags would enhance this description even more?

  • Crew
  • Cannon
  • Sailor
  • Ropes

 

Now let’s look at a poster with the title,  "Remember Your First Thrill of American Liberty. Your Duty- Buy United States Government Bonds. 2nd Liberty Loan of 1917."  

Remember Your First Thrill of American Liberty

What tags can be found in the title or scope and content note?

  • American
  • Liberty
  • Bonds
  • Loan
  • United States Government

 

What tags would enhance this description even more?

  • Statue of Liberty
  • Immigrants
  • Ship
  • Children
  • Boat
  • World War I

 

Textual Records

Textual records aren’t as straightforward as photographs and posters.  What is most helpful is tagging the names of key people in the record, those who are not listed in the title or scope and content note.  You can also add subjects, locations, and anything else you can identify.

Let’s look at this two page letter titled, Letter to President Lyndon B. Johnson from Jackie Robinson   

Letter from President Lyndon B. Johnson from Jackie Robinson

Letter from President Lyndon B. Johnson from Jackie Robinson

 

What tags can be found in the title or scope and content note?

  • Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Jackie Robinson
  • Letter

What tags would enhance this description even more?

  • Civil Rights
  • Vietnam War
  • Baseball player
  • Herbert Humphrey
  • African Americans
  • Riots
  • Tennessee
  • Cleveland
  • Ohio

 

 


Where should you add these tags?

Letter to President Lyndon B. Johnson from Jackie Robinson

Tags can be added to the field on the left of the description.  

Letter to President Lyndon B. Johnson from Jackie Robinson

Or if you’d like a tag to identify something on a particular page, click View/Add Contributions and add the tag below the correct page.

          

 

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