n.an understanding of the history, conventions, and technology of still and moving images and the ability to analyze and interpret themSchwartz 1995, 55At the same time that the rigour of diplomatic criticism is undermined by the inherent ambiguity of the photograph, diplomatics is a useful conceptual tool by which archivists may come to achieve a greater degree of visual literacy, and by that I mean the ability to “read” the message of the photograph, to comprehend its evidential value, and understand it as an archival document. . . . By studying the photograph, not as a more or less accurate transcription of the material world, but in terms of its relationships with the persons concurring in its formation, diplomatic principles and concepts may help to break the presumed link between the photographic image and visual “truth” by revealing the photograph to be the mediated representation of reality; the product of a series of decisions; created by a will, for a purpose, to convey a message to an audience.Kaplan and Mifflin 1996, 107Visual literacy, an evolving concept best defined as the ability to understand and use images and to think and learn in terms of images, is an essential skill for archivists and researchers using visual materials.Kaplan and Mifflin 1996, 122With regard to visual materials, this understanding of the history of the media and their unique conventions is at the heart of the concept of visual literacy.O’Toole 1998, 283We hear increasingly of “visual literacy,” the ability to “read” pictorial images—still and moving photographs, for example—to answer the surprisingly difficult question of what they are “about.”Cook 2005b, 278Hugh repeatedly counselled a greater visual literacy for archivists to complement their traditional analytical expertise with textual documents.Ritzenthaler et al. 2006, 59Gaining a basic knowledge of visual literacy helps archivists work effectively with photographs, because it helps them assess and identify context, content, and methods of pictorial expression. Visual literacy involves analyzing photographs by taking into account the photographs’ provenance, the technology of photography, conventions of visual expression, and the viewpoints of both the photographer and the intended audience. Reviewing any textual information available with photographs (such as captions, logbooks, and folder or box labels) is also important for deciphering visual meanings.ACRL 2011Visual literacy is a set of abilities that enables an individual to effectively find, interpret, evaluate, use, and create images and visual media. Visual literacy skills equip a learner to understand and analyze the contextual, cultural, ethical, aesthetic, intellectual, and technical components involved in the production and use of visual materials. A visually literate individual is both a critical consumer of visual media and a competent contributor to a body of shared knowledge and culture.Bahde, Smedberg, and Taormina 2014, 3Expertly tailored to the Asssociation of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Visual Literacy Standards, it directly engages students with the skills necessary for interpretation and analysis of images.