Use RCS Shoebox?

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This article is...
Summary.pngThis page is for Riverdale-specific information about the setup and use of Shoebox for archiving documents, images, and videos.
IntendedE.pngIntended for
Categories.pngCategorized under
RCS Software and Services
DIS.jpgMaintained by
Derek Smith
2021-2022.pngin need of review.

RCS Shoebox Overview

The Shoebox Archive allows members of the Riverdale Administration and selected others to archive materials. The aim of the Shoebox project is to digitize many of the images & documents currently in hard-copy format, apply comprehensive tagging metadata to them, and set up a workflow for continuing curation and ingestion of materials.

The end result will be a searchable database of media available to users inside and outside of the Riverdale community.

Offices Served

  • Communications
  • Institutional Advancement
  • Admission
  • Heads of Schools

Metadata Concerns

Before media can be imported, it is wise to establish a metadata standard by which items can be cataloged, or tagged. Next to the actual media importing, classification and tagging of all the media types RCS expects to import is crucial. A wide variety of metadata standards exist and can be consulted to create the scheme we need.

Proposed Metadata tags

There are several tags which are applicable for all media imports, regardless of type:

For audit purposes:

  • Date & Time stamp of media import
  • Personnel responsible for media import
  • Media type (document, image, video)

For cataloging and indexing purposes:

  • Year of media creation
  • Location (HIll, River, Off-campus)
  • Event (specific events such as Homecoming; Graduation; Assembly; Concert; Fundraising event, etc)

A Google Document with proposed Metadata tags, shared with appropriate members of the School Admin and Support team, is available at this link.


This tutorial introduces the relatively easy concepts behind metadata & keywords, media ingestion, tagging, resources, and collections.

Metadata is data that describes other data. Meta is a prefix that in most information technology usages means "an underlying definition or description."

Keywords comprise the set of metadata items defined for a resource.

Resources are the uploaded media files once they reside on the Shoebox server.

Media Ingestion is the process by which files such as photos, videos and other documents are loaded into the Shoebox server. During the ingestion process, keywords are attached to these files as they are uploaded onto the Shoebox server.

Collections are selected sets of uploaded resources.

Jumping In

Login to the Shoebox server.

For those who have Riverdale accounts, you should log in with Google.

For those without Riverdale accounts, you can log in manually at

If you have forgotten your username and/or password to Shoebox, please send an email to Derek Smith for assistance.

Below is a screenshot of the current RCS Archive homepage. (Note: the design of this page may change.)

Shoebox mainpage.png

Items on this page:

  • Simple search box
  • Themes and My Collections boxes
  • Help & advice box
  • Activity menu: Home | Themes | Recently added | Help & advice | Upload | Team Center
  • My Collections footer menu

Uploading a file

Perfecting the art of media ingestion does not take much time if the predefined keyword selections are comprehensive. With Shoebox, you can import: single files; the contents of entire cd and dvd discs at once; files in folders on internal, networked and external volumes; and files from other media such as flash drives and from the internet.

We're first going to upload a single file into Shoebox. On the My collections footer menu, click the blue double arrowhead selector to the right of the Current collection picker field and choose (Create new collection):


Enter a name & press return. That name will now become the default Current collection.

Next, click the Upload menu item on the Activity menu to get to the Upload resources page:

Shoebox Menu Bar.jpg

Upload resources page

The Upload resources page is the heart of the metadata indexing process for imported resources. At present, (3/24/15) the layout of the page and the available metadata item selections are incomplete. More metadata item selections will become available as we augment and refine our metadata item needs.

There are several forms of metadata item entry mechanisms:

  • Simple text - this is a single-line text field which creates a new metadata item
  • Radio buttons - choose one metadata item from a small selection of pre-defined metadata items
  • Checkboxes - choose one or several metadata items from a small selection of pre-defined metadata items
  • Pull down menu - choose one metadata item from a large selection of pre-defined metadata items
  • Selection trees - choose one or several pre-defined metadata items by hierarchy and subtree.

Radio buttons and checkboxes are used for a relatively small list of metadata items. They provide for the quick selection of important high-level metadata items.
Pulldown menus and Selection trees are more advanced metadata item selection mechanisms providing a larger number of metadata item options. Selection trees, in particular, provide a very powerful way to select multiple metadata item in a intuitive interface which combines the functionality of pull-down menus and checkboxes.

Before proceeding with importing a file, take a look at the available options on the Upload resources page:

Step 1: Specify default content for new resources

  • Resource type: At present, photos, documents, videos and audio files can be uploaded to Shoebox. The default should be Photo.
  • Copy the data below from resource with ID... we will ignore at present.

Resource metadata section:

At present (6/16/15) there are pull-down menus for Locations, Academics, BuildingsTree, Athletics, AthleticsTree, and DynamicKeywords.

NOTE: Most keyword selection mechanisms are complete with all suggested keywords in these examples.

Locations, Academics, and Athletics are conventional pull-down menus which select a single keyword from a list of like keywords, with the default being no keyword.

The tree selection example mechanisms (BuildingsTree & AthleticsTree) are very useful for selecting a variety of keywords from a hierarchical structure. Click on the Show/hide tree link and then click the small + signs to open up each campus:


This example is only two levels deep. We could decide to add each classroom number to every academic building, as well as named rooms & meeting spaces therein. Because the tree is also composed of checkboxes, multiple items can be selected. An example would be 'Hill / Mow, Hill / Vinik and Hill / Hackett:


DynamicKeywords allows you to select keywords from a pre-defined (invisible) set of keywords. The set of keywords in this example mechanism is the list found in the Radiobutton and Checkbox examples. Hitting the return key accepts the select keyword and prompts for another. The end result is the same as Checkbox, but with hidden keywords. This mechanism also allows for the creation of a freeform entry of a new keyword from the text typed into the field when a selected .

Next, the required field Title - The field title is displayed when viewing and editing resources after they have been imported. For single media resources this can be descriptive of the content. For bulk import, the title should contain some information about the physical source of the image and the time|date of import: ex: Homecoming 2007 CD 1of6 More discussion needs to be had concerning the labeling of existing hard media before data ingestion.