PhotoLit - data bank on photographic literature

Search the PhotoLit - data bank on photographic literature

You can easily search for an author/photographer or title: Simply type the name and/or surname (separeted by spaces) into the "Book Search" field (above) and press enter or click the arrow (e.g. "William Eggleston" or "Richards Eugene").

Search tips: Do not use words with less than three letters. Use only the main parts of a phrase, avoid typing 'and' or other common words. The search will be conducted in author, in title and in keywords fields.

38000 entries in the database.
Last update: June 2011

The basic entries for PhotLit have been made in FileMaker (presently we work with version 7.0). PhotoLit in FileMaker consists of several "layouts". Listed here are the fields for the English language layout of FileMaker (“English Data Entry” in field “layout”. FileMaker offers different layouts, and there is one in German also). If you work with the CD version you are of course free to develop a layout which fits your own needs.

AUTHOR: Author or editor as far as mentioned on the book’s title page. It is what is printed on the title page what counts, not what can be read on wrappers or dust jacket. If an author or editor is not mentioned on the title page, but her/his name is known from an other entry in the publication, his/her name will be set in [brackets]. Not more then three authors are mentioned in this field. If there are more nothing will appear here but all names will be entered in the field “keywords”.

TITLE: Whatever is written on the title page. If the dustjacket carries a different title you can add this in [brackets]. In case of a periodical article or a single contribution of an antholgy use the title of the essay followed by “In: (source)”. For most languages (but not German) small letters are to be used for title accession except for names which are to be written in intial capitals.

ORGANIZATION: Will mostly list if this is an exhibition catalog (“Ausstellungskatalog”), sales catalog of a firm (“Verkaufskatalog; [e.g.:] Leitz”), followed by firm’s name, or auction catalog (“Auktionskatalog; [e.g.:], London, Sotheby’s”), or which firm or institution has been involved in the production of this publication (e.g.: “Royal Photographic Society (RPS)). See some examples by finding the word “Ausstellungskatalog”, or “Auktionskatalog” in this field. Dating is always DD.MM.YYYY; a “from – to” for exhibition listings would be written e.g. “DD.MM.-DD.MM.YYYY”. This rule has not yet been followed in all PhotoLit entries.

SERIES: Serial or periodical’s name, incl. vol. and issue number. If there is known seral editor, her/his name is also listed. The name(s) has/have to be transferred to the “keywords” field also.

PLACE: Location where publication was published. If unknown write “s. l.” (for “sine loco”). The latinization reflects the desire to keep the data set as internationally comprehensible as possible.
If there are joint publishers separate both localities by “/[space]”; e.g. “München, Paris, London/ New York” for a joint publication by Schirmer/Mosel and MoMA.

PUBLISHER: Name. If there are several, e.g.: Schirmer/Mosel/ The Museum of Modern Art”.

YEAR: Date of publication; when in doubt choose the latest date mentioned in the book. If unknown enter “s. a.” (= “sine annum”). Eventually add an estimate, e.g.: “s. a. [ca. 1951]”.

COLLECTION: This field shows where a copy of the publication can be found. As PhotoLit has been started from a private initiative so far mostly monograms of private owners have been used in this field. Sometimes this is followed by a short signature to locate a specific book in this specific library. Owners monogrammatic abbreviations (in capitals) are sparated from each other by “;”.
If the location of a publication is unknown, use “NN” (= "nomen non cognitum"). Also use “NN” when entering single contributions to an anthology, or a periodical, or books you know from bibliographies only, or from reviews etc. Only a main entry should show an owner’s monogram. If you list single contributions of an anthology, the collection field will always be "NN" - with some exceptions, e.g. there is a special print run ("Sonderdruck"), or a personal file where you may have put some xerocopies.

KEYWORDS: This is the most problematic field as there is, to the best of my knowledge, no usuable systematization of photographic literature in practice. There is also a language barrier as most keywords have not yet been anglisized. If you wish to search this field you may be better off to use some word (or a combination of words) in German, e.g.:

19th century = 19. Jahrh.
20th century = 20. Jahrh.
21st century = 21. Jahrh.
(all entries should mention a period. A search works resonably well if combined with a geographical – or other – term; see below)
aereal photography = Luftbildphotographie
animal photography, dogs, cats, birds (…) = Tierphotographie, Hunde, Katzen, Vögel (...)
anthology = Anthologie
art = Kunst
art history = Kunstgeschichte
art reproduction = Kunstreproduktion
anthropology = Anthropologie
archeology = Archäologie
calotype = Kalotypie
camera (name) = Kamera (Name)
city views, “veduti” = Stadtansichten
collection (followed by collection’s name) = Sammlung
copyright = Urheberrecht
cultural history = Kulturgeschichte
daguerreotype = Daguerreotypie
ethnology = Ethnologie
experimental photography = Experimentelle Photographie
fashion photography = Modephotographie
history = Geschichte (general), Zeitgeschichte (a period), Kulturgeschichte (cultural history)
history of Photography = Photographiegeschichte
instructions, “how to” = Anleitungen
landscape photography = Landschaftsphotographie
monograph = Monographie
nature photography = Naturphotographie
nudes = Akt und Erotik
photojournalism = Photojournalismus
photo technique = Phototechnik
photographic history = Photographiegeschichte
photography = Photographie
pictorialism = Piktorialismus, Kunstphotographie
portrait photography = Portraitphotographie
reproduction = Reproduktion
reproduction technique = Reproduktionstechnik
social history = Sozialgeschichte
stereo photography = Stereophotographie
still life = Stillleben
studio photography = Studiophotographie
surrealism = Surrealismus
theory and criticism = Theorie und Kritik
travel photography = Reisephotographie

Geographical names are currently generalized, e.g. entries like “Italia, Italy, Italien” and “Greece, Griechenland” already exist. The safest bet, however, to find something is still the German word.

Usually the first part of key word entering, like listed above, ends with the period the publication covers, e.g. both “19. Jahrh. – 20. Jahrh.” as e.g. in a general photo history handbook. This should be followed by the contributor(s) to the publication not yet mentioned in the AUTHOR field, e.g. the names of authors in an anthology. This has not always been done so far as it is time consuming indeed to produce these lenghty lists, e.g. the contributors to an annual. But as this goes far beyond normal library cataloging procedures PhotoLit can be of great help here. If you have a name connected with photography and nothing comes up in the AUTHOR field, try the KEYWORDS field. Many entries could be defined by more keywords than so far existent. If an entry could be better defined it will end with the abrreviation “uv” (“unvollständig”) which means “incomplete”.

An example of a possible search: Enter “Reisephotographie Italien 19. Jahrh.” and the result would be quite a number of entries showing publications on 19th century Italian travel photography. Add a name like “Sommer, Giorgio”, and the list resulting will get a bit shorter.
There are now three separate comments fields:

COMMENTS GENERAL A note is added on the languages present in the book if there are others than can be deducted from the title entry. Abbreviations have been used like “engl.”, “fr.” (for French), “dt.” (for Deutsch/German), “russ.” (for Russian), “span.” (for Spanish), “it.” (for Italian), “gr.” (for Greek) etc. There are also notes on different editions of a publication in this field. Sometimes a few sentences of comment on the book’s contents, references to certain book reviews etc. are given here – in short: the “public” information towards a book. Sometimes a PhotoLit entry is incomplete due to some (or a lot) of information lacking so far. In this case the last entry in this field will be e.g. “Nur Kurztitelaufnahme 09.2003” – meaning a short title accession in need of additional information (like a missing ISBN number etc.). Receiving more info on such an entry would be appreciated. The same is true, of course, for any mistakes you may find in any field.

COMMENTS COMMERCIAL (This field is not available in the net version). This field starts with the official sales prize of the book. If antiquarian book dealer prices, or auction results are known they have been added here. This might help to evaluate one’s own holdings, but the prizes listed here are by far not exhaustive, and should be judged with great care.

COMMENTS PRIVATE (This field is not available in the net version). This contains “private” information about the personal copy’s state: “dust jacket torn”, “signed [by …] and dedicated to […] copy” etc.

DATE. (This field is not available in the net version). Whenever a new entry is being made, or an old one in being added to or improved, update this field. This is being done in the DD.MM.YY mode, e.g. 29.02.2004.

MARK. (This field is not available in the net version). After a search resulting in many hits, or if you wish to export a personal bibliography, set your personal marker for the titles you are interested in – e.g. “XXX” – in this field; when having done so search in this field for your “XXX”. Attention: there might be some older marks in this field which someone might have forgotten to erase.

BINDING: Use “cb.” for clothbound (and it should be a fabric, for imitation fabric use “hc.”), “hc.” for hardcover, “sb.” for softbound if flexible, or “pb.” for paperback if the cover is flimsy. You may also mention if the book comes “in dust jacket”

SIZE: Sizes are usually given in centimeters, height by width. This is preferred compared to some older entries which show sizes as “8°” (octav, up to 20cm height), “4°” (quarto, up to 30cm height), “gr.4°” (large quarto, up to 35cm height), or “2°” (foilio, above 35cm height).

REFERENCE: If the book has been mentioned in an existing bibliography (like Boni, Heidtmann, Roosens & Salu, or Gernsheim’s “Incunabula”, Parr & Badger etc.) it should be listed here. But this field is not yet very well filled right now.

Hints for new entries:

Whenever you wish to enter a title, check first if the publication is existent already in PhotoLit. Search in two fields at least. Think that “Adams, Ansel” is not necessarily the author to be found in the AUTHOR field – a book on Adam’s photographs might very well have an editor who will show up instead in the AUTHOR field, and Ansel’s name might have to be banned to the field TITLE. Do not look for a common word like “Photo”, “photography”, “Photographie” of “Fotografie” but define better.

An example: You whish to check the entries for a classic, e.g. Albert Renger-Patzsch: Die Welt ist schön. Search in field “author” for “Renger”, and in field “title” for “Welt sch” (skipping the umlaut which is not available on some keyboards), and at least two entries should come up. Always look how many hits a search resulted in. If there are some hits one of those might fit the book you want to access. In this case just give the entry a check and add your personal abbreviation into the COLLECTION field. If your publication is a different edition, however, the fastest way is to copy the old entry and carefully delete and renew the appropriate fields with your new entry information.

All users are called upon to help complete PhotoLit – send infos on old and new titles to hcagoe@yahho.de. Best way is to copy your entries on a CD. Only through such cooperation PhotoLit can grow to dimensions which a single private enterprise cannot reach.
In the future it would be nice to have an icon of the book’s title included in PhotoLit’s listings, or, as FileMaker is a relationable data bank, to have some pages from a book shown in a separate file (this is, of course, difficult with copyrighted material). Or a separate but linked and still to be established data bank named PhotoBio could give biographical information, one named PhotoLex explaining other photographic specifica.

Copyright 2004 by
Dr. Hans Christian Adam
Am Feuerschanzengraben 14
D-37083 Göttingen
hcagoe-remove this text-@yahoo.de