An item’s subject says what the item is about. For example, a book is a type of item in a library, but its subject might be history, biography, or art. In the Archive, the subject of an item of type Image might be People, Places, or Structures. Thus, an item’s type is a broad classification which is narrowed by its subject.

Subject Hierarchy

The list above names the primary subjects, but there are many more specific subjects. A primary subject like Structures is a broad classification, but there are many “flavors” of structures such as Bridges, Commercial, and Dwellings. Some of these can be further classified. For instance, Commercial can be broken down by Lodging and Restaurant, and Lodging can be further classified as Hotel or Inn.

In the Archive, the subject hierarchy is specified using commas. Here are some examples:

  • Structures, Commercial, Restaurant
  • Structures, Commercial, Lodging, Inn
  • Structures, Commercial,Wharf, Steamboat

Quick Picks

Good to Know

  • An item can have more than one subject. For example, the subjects of a photograph of a woman standing in front of a hotel would be People and Hotel (where Hotel is specified as “Structures, Commercial, Lodging, Hotel”).
  • People is the only subject that does not have a sub-hierarchy.

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