Landbeck, C. R. (2013) The Description and Indexing of Editorial Cartoons: An Exploratory Study

Abstract

While access to images in general has improved in the last 20 years, due to both advances in electronic storage and dissemination and to improvements in the intellectual provisions of them, access to editorial cartoons lags behind access to other types of images. While there have been piecemeal or ad hoc efforts to organize large cartoon collections, these efforts have been based on the wants and needs of the organizers, publishers, or collectors. The purpose of this research was to gather information about user's descriptions of editorial cartoons. Specifically, it gathered terms and phrases provided by users to describe a set of editorial cartoons, both in an image tagging environment and in a simulated query environment.
The population for this research was a blended sample; one population consisted of academics in fields that were assumed to have an interest in the research itself, and who were seen as likely to give a full, rich description of each image. The second population consisted of non-degree holding participants, against which the first results could be compared. The images used in this study were political cartoons from the five most recent Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonists. Content analysis of the cartoons' descriptions placed each description's components into one of Jorgensen's 12 Classes of image description, and the frequencies of each Class in this study were compared to similar studies.
The results of this research show that while editorial cartoons can be described using Jorgensen's 12 Classes, they are described in very different ways than are other images. It was found that the Class ABSTRACT CONCEPTS was far more dominant when describing and searching for editorial cartoons than was so for other types of images; the Class LITERAL OBJECT was dominated by the attribute Text in both scenarios; VIEWER REACTIONS play a far larger role for these images than for others; and four Classes that are at least somewhat useful in searching for other types of images were almost unused when searching for editorial cartoons. Demographic variables show major differences in behavior among those of different education levels in tagging, and among different political views and genders when querying. Confirmatory interviews with image professionals and editorial cartoonists showed that the results would be of some use when implemented in the field. The results of this research would help inform efforts to index any image where the meaning of it was more important than the image content, and may help to describe all types of non-textual records of history and commentary.

Citation Christopher R. Landbeck (2013). The Description and Indexing of Editorial Cartoons: An Exploratory Study (Doctoral Dissertation, Florida State University, Florida, USA). Thesis

BibTex entry for this thesis:

BibTex entry for this thesis:

@phdthesis{landbeck2013description,
address = {Florida, USA},
author = {Landbeck, Christopher R.},
pages = {1--332},
school = {Florida State University},
title = {{The Description and Indexing of Editorial Cartoons: An Exploratory Study}},
type = {Doctoral Dissertation},
year = {2013}
}

Table of contents

1 Introduction

1.4 Research Questions
  • How are editorial cartoons described in a tagging environment? And how do those tags fall into Jörgensen’s 12 Classes of image description?
  • How are editorial cartoons described in a simulated query environment? And how do those tags fall into Jörgensen’s 12 Classes of image description?
  • How do the tagging terms compare to the querying terms?
  • How might these findings affect the practices of both editorial cartoonists and image professionals?
1.7 Definition of Terms
  • Cartoon vs. comic
  • Editorial vs. political

2 Literature Review

2.1 Examination of the problem
  • Editorial cartoons: Indexing and Interpretation
  • Examples of cartoon collections
2.2 Conceptual Basis
  • Theory: Panofsky, iconography, and Shatford-Layne
  • Image indexing
2.3 Practical Applications
  • Metadata
  • Folksonomies
2.4 Not relevant at this time
  • Cataloging
  • Archiving
  • Information Retrieval
  • Content-based image retrieval
  • Word and Image Studies
  • Research simply about cartoons

3 Methodology

3.2 Research Questions
  • How are editorial cartoons described in a tagging environment, and how do the resulting tags map into Jörgensen’s 12 Classes?
  • How are editorial cartoons described in a simulated query environment, and how do query keywords and phrases fall into Jörgensen’s 12 Classes?
  • How do the tagging terms compare to the simulated query terms?
  • How might these findings affect the practices of both editorial cartoonists and image professionals?
3.3 Data collection
  • Population
  • Sampling
  • Description of data gathering environment
  • Subject activity
3.4 Data Analysis
  • Tagging Activity
  • Simulated query Activity
  • Tag-simulated query comparison
  • Interview analysis

4 Results

4.1 Tagging phase
  • Participants
  • Tagging results
  • Results – Tagging Phase
  • Summary of results: Tagging phase
4.2 Query phase
  • Participants
  • Query results
  • Results – Query Phase
  • Summary of results: Query phase
4.3 Comparison of results
  • Comparisons within this Research
  • Comparisons to the Literature
  • Post hoc observations
4.4 Interviews
  • Interviewees
  • Central interview questions

5 Discussion, Implications, & Conclusions

5.1 Discussion
  • Theory
  • Previous studies of cartoon interpretation
  • Similarities to Resources
  • Metadata
  • Folksonomies and collaborative technology
5.2 Implications
  • For society
  • For library and information studies
  • For editorial cartoons
5.3 Future Work
  • Corrections
  • Supplementary studies
  • Practical application
5.4 Conclusions
  • How do the tagging terms compare to the querying terms?
  • How are editorial cartoons described in a tagging environment and a simulated query environment?
  • How do those tags fall into Jorgensen’s 12 Classes of image description?
  • Demographic variables
  • Effects of findings on practice

Key ideas

Notes

Research Questions

1) How are editorial cartoons described in a tagging environment? And how do those tags fall into Jörgensen’s 12 Classes of image description?

2) How are editorial cartoons described in a simulated query environment? And how do those tags fall into Jörgensen’s 12 Classes of image description?

3) How do the tagging terms compare to the querying terms?

4) How might these findings affect the practices of both editorial cartoonists and image professionals?

Project Context

5) While access to images in general has improved in the last 20 years, due to both advances in electronic storage and dissemination and to improvements in the intellectual access to them, access to editorial cartoons lags behind access to other types of images. (p. 2)

6) While there have been piecemeal or ad hoc efforts to organize large cartoon collections, these efforts have been based on the wants and needs of the organizers, publishers, or collectors. We know little concerning the habits and expectations of users vis-à-vis editorial cartoons, and there has not been an organized, user-based approach to providing access to these kinds of images (p. 2)

7) Editorial cartoons are often cited in both academic and professional literature as excellent tools for the classroom when teaching history or social studies. (p. 4)

8) Very little has been written about indexing editorial cartoons. The bulk of the literature that deals with such images at all comes in two forms: the editorial cartoons surrounding a specific event and how the course of events may have been altered by the cartoons' publication, or those by a given author or artist and how that person altered public opinion to some degree with the publication of their works. In neither case is the issue of indexing, describing, or even of just organizing these images for the purposes of either preservation or historical research addressed, giving way to losing these images by simply forgetting them. (p. 8)

9) two main areas of cartoon indexing include: the ability (or lack thereof) of ordinary people to correctly interpret the intended meaning of an editorial cartoon, and the state of current cartoon collections and, in particular, how the items in those collections are described and accessed. Only when these two areas have been plumbed for relevant ideas and practices can potential solutions come to the fore. (p. 8)

Tables and figures

References

Keywords:

Doctor of Philosophy, Favorite, Jorgensen, Thesis

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