Rules for Formulating Titles for Photographs by S. M. Prokudin-Gorsky

These rules establish a uniform order for the formulation of titles of images in the database of the “Legacy of S. M. Prokudin-Gorsky” International Research Project. They also provide for more precise definition of titles, and for construction of new titles for photographs as they are identified.


  • In formulating the photographer’s identifications in the albums of contact prints, in the “Title of the photograph” section of the database, all abbreviations (except commonly-accepted ones) are eliminated, but the original form is retained in the section “Identification in the control album.” In such cases, both sections contain the identification in modern Russian orthography.
  • The location of the shot indicated by the photographer, either under the image itself or at the top of the album page, is part of his title and is included in the basic image title without square brackets. However, only information below individual prints is included in the basic title in the section “Identification in the control album,” since the location indicated at the top of the album page sometimes may not be applicable to all the shots on that page.
  • If the photographer’s original title for an image is found, the “Title of the photograph” section contains the title in single quotation marks: ‘Putivl’. In such cases, the source of the photographer’s original title should be given.
  • If a particular image does not have a title provided by the photographer, or if his identification is completely erroneous, then participants in the “Legacy of S. M. Prokudin-Gorsky” project may provide titles.
  • In cases of significant inaccuracies in the photographer’s titles, or when they are not sufficiently informative, the photographer’s title may be supplemented or corrected by participants of the project. In extraordinary cases, an erroneous title may be given in its entirety in a new version.
  • In supplementing and/or correcting the photographer’s titles, one should be guided by the principle of minimal intrusion. If the inaccuracy is of a minor nature, it is preferable to limit notes about the photo. In all cases, one should aim to the greatest extent to preserve the correct parts of the photographer’s identifications, and in cases where a new form is provided, to consider and preserve the general meaning and idea of the photographer’s title.
  • In dealing with what is not an obvious error, a clarification in square brackets should be placed not with the inaccurate element, but after it. For example, Entrance to the mosque [mausoleum] of Gur-Emir.
  • Titles of photos provided by participants in the project, as well as additions to the photographer’s original titles, should be put in square brackets. More complicated details about additions or corrections to the photographer’s titles should be included in the notes.
  • In exceptional circumstances one may provide for a given photograph two equally correct titles assigned by the photographer. These should be separated one from the other by a slash (/). In the notes it is essential to provide the sources for both titles.
  • In all cases of finding one of the photographer’s correct, or more accurate, titles, its use is more preferable to a constructed title, even if the photographer’s title requires corrections and/or additions.
  • When project participants formulate titles for images, these titles in laconic form should reflect (designate) the object and its location (or direction). When dealing with a little-known small settlement, one should indicate the nearest well-known point. For example, “The Village of Daba near Borzhom.” The name of the province (region, district) is not given. The name of the uezd (county) can be provided if necessary to pintpoint the location (e.g., for differentiating several towns with the same name). For lesser-known foreign settlements, one may include in the title an indication of the country. For lesser-known settlements, the type of settlement should be included (city; village; hamlet). For foreign settlements, the type may be provided if known.
  • In formulating titles, one ought to be guided by the realities of the era the photograph was taken, regarding the names of places, administrative units, and the status and setting of the objects photographed. New titles are provided in the form of notes.
  • If foreign names of lesser-known settlements are encountered in formulating titles, it is advisable to include in brackets their orthography in the original language, or in transcription in Latin letters.