Creating a web-based digital photographic archive: one hospital library’s experience


  • Caroline Marshall MLS, AHIP, Library, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
  • Janet Hobbs MLS, MBA, Library, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA



Digital Archive, Digital History, Digital Project, Hospital Library, Omeka, Images


Background: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is a nonprofit community hospital based in Los Angeles. Its history spans over 100 years, and its growth and development from the merging of 2 Jewish hospitals, Mount Sinai and Cedars of Lebanon, is also part of the history of Los Angeles. The medical library collects and maintains the hospital’s photographic archive, to which retiring physicians, nurses, and an active Community Relations Department have donated photographs over the years. The collection was growing rapidly, it was impossible to display all the materials, and much of the collection was inaccessible to patrons.

Case Presentation: The authors decided to make the photographic collection more accessible to medical staff and researchers by purchasing a web-based digital archival package, Omeka. We decided what material should be digitized by analyzing archival reference requests and considering the institution’s plan to create a Timeline Wall documenting and celebrating the history of Cedars-Sinai.

Conclusion: Within 8 months, we digitized and indexed over 500 photographs. The digital archive now allows patrons and researchers to access the history of the hospital and enables the library to process archival references more efficiently.






Case Report