The author considers the basic building blocks of diplomatics as they might pertain to a more nuanced analysis of visual images. She argues that diplomatics offers archivists an orientation by which to consider the photographic process through its refined notions of what constitutes authority, authenticity, purpose, and extrinsic and intrinsic elements. By creating and applying a typology for institutionally based photographic media according to these notions, archivists could better appraise, preserve, and represent these images.

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