Library of Congress Call Number Sort in PHP

I needed a function that will compare Library of Congress call numbers. I found a function in PERL to do this on Joshua McGee’s site, but I needed it in PHP and our call numbers use a space instead of a period for some of the separators, for example: HA 1107 K49 2003.

Here is the function in PHP:


//is call number $a larger than call number $b?
function locsort ($a,$b)
$pattern =’/^([A-Z]+)\s?(\d+(?:\.\d+)?)\s?([A-Z]*)(\d*)\.?([A-Z]*)(\d*)( (?:\d{4})?)?(.*)?/’;

$i = preg_match($pattern, $a, $regsA);
$j = preg_match($pattern, $b, $regsB);

if (($i==0)||($j==0)) {
return($a > $b);
else {
//if first part greater then return that
//if first part equal, check second part, return that
if ($regsA[1] != $regsB[1]){
return($regsA[1] > $regsB[1]);
else {
if ($regsA[2] != $regsB[2]){
return ($regsA[2] > $regsB[2]);
else {
if ($regsA[3] != $regsB[3]){
return ($regsA[3] > $regsB[3]);
if ($regsA[4] != $regsB[4]){
return ((“0.”.$regsA[4]) > (“0.”.$regsB[4]));
else {
if ($regsA[5] != $regsB[5]){
return ($regsA[5] > $regsB[5]);
else {
if ($regsA[6] != $regsB[6]){
return ($regsA[6] > $regsB[6]);
else {
if ($regsA[7] != $regsB[7]){
return ($regsA[7] > $regsB[7]);
else {
return ($regsA[8] > $regsB[8]);

[Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from Jan 17, 2012  ]

Resource Magazine and RETV

Resource Magazine is a quarterly magazine “dedicated to the sub-culture of the photo production industry”. It is distributed as a magazine in studios, photo labs, prop and rental house locations. The authors also maintain a blog.

RETV features video content from corresponding Resource Magazine articles, interviews with photographers, product demos, how-tos and documentaries. There are over a hundred videos available already, everything from a tutorial on how to create images of bubbles,interview with an advertising agency Indika.

[Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from Apr 23, 2012   ]

‘Opałka, One Life, One Oeuvre’ at the International Festival of Films on Art in Montreal

The 30th International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) is an opportunity for Montreal audiences to see some great documentary films. The film about the famous photographer/sculptor/architect Ai Weiwei (Without Fear or Favour) focuses on the story of his life, his difficulties with the Chinese authorities, and the 2010 exhibition consisting of 100 million hand-made porcelain sunflower seeds spread out on the floor of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in London. Since I am particularly interested in photography, it is unsurprising that I enjoyed the revealing look at the controversial pioneer of photography in The Weird World of Eadweard Muybridge. What did surprise me is the extent to which I found the film on Roman Opałka to be thought provoking.

More than half a dozen documentaries featured Opałka in the 1990s. This 2010 film by Andrzej Sapija, Opałka, jedno życie, jedno dzieło [Opałka, One Life, One Oeuvre], is the most recent documentary on Opałka, produced just one year before the artist’s death. Opałka has been using his skills in lithography and painting by manifesting the passing of time through counting up from 1 to infinity using a brush no.1 and white paint since 1965. His work is evidence of the extraordinary dedication to an idea that he had while waiting for someone in a cafe more than 45 years ago. At that time, he was already an accomplished lithographer, but since then, he has worked almost exclusively on the “Opałka 1965 1 – ∞” project. He calls the many paintings that he has produced as a part of this project ‘details’, each continues on from where the last one ended. The numbers painted on the canvas seem to fade since he uses a single brush dip into paint to complete each number; his first work was painted white on a black canvas, following some experimentation with red, he decided to go from dark grey to white, increasing the lightness of the grey background in each successive “Detail”. “Life as an hourglass, that was the idea”, says Opałka, “I was convinced that [art] history needs such an example”.

Sapija’s opening sequence stitches together beautiful cinematography that seems to echo Opałka’s aesthetic, falling raindrops and a figure walking along a path of rolling hills punctuated by rows of fence posts. Opałka began recording himself reciting the numbers in Polish as he paints them, and this forms the audio background to much of the film. Sapija’s film includes fascinating interviews with the artist who generously tells the story of his life, work and philosophy while the film also shows archival photographs of the people and places from his past.

Sapija’s film includes detailed scenes showing Opałka’s work and installation: the setup includes the painting, tape recorder and a camera used to take a self-portrait after every session.

“This program, the calculating or counting of steps”, says Opalka “is a visualization of time.” “When I paint I don’t think about numbers, as one doesn’t think about steps, I think about everything and nothing at the same time…it is only an area for the meeting of interesting questions, it is finding oneself in a state such that the questions arrive by themselves…I have the unique luxury or comfort of the situation such that I can ask myself questions so free as in no other profession or situation… I remember being often told that this is no longer painting, and I would respond, this is painting at last…it is meditation.” Towards the end of the film, Opałka speaks about his dedication to the idea and his existential doubts, “Why do we exist? Why something rather than nothing? Why I? What am I here for? In that,there is of course the drama of existence, there is almost rebellion[…]existence is a misunderstanding[…]can anyone answer me, what is life?”

Opałka died on August 6, 2011, a picture of the final number that he painted, 5607249, can be seen on his web site. Opałka’s works form a part of the permanent collection of many galleries, such as Centre Pompidou in Paris and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Galleries that represent him feature images of his works online: Galeria Boss in Lódz, Galerie Yvon Lambert in Paris, and Galleria Melesi in Lecco.

[Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from Mar 20, 2012 ]

Third International Conference on the Image in partnership with the Polish Mediations Biennale 3: The Unknown – Nieznane

14-16 September 2012
Higher School of the Humanities and Journalism, Poznan, Poland

SPECIAL THEME: ‘The Thread to the Unknown’
Is the Unknown a construct? Can we actually construct the Unknown, and if so how do we do it? This conference aims to explore the boundaries of language, culture, scientific research, artistic production and images in relation to the Unknown, in order to think about the limits of science and the future of human society. (Full conference Themes may be found at

The 2012 conference is presented in partnership with the Polish Mediations Biennale 3: The Unknown – Nieznane.

Call-for-Papers for proposal submission guidelines and descriptions of sessions – Presenters may also choose to submit written papers for publication in the fully refereed International Journal of the Image.

Full details of the conference, including an online proposal submission form, may be found on the conference website at 

[Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from Feb 22, 2012 ]

Critical Inquiry – Special Issue on Photography

The  Summer 2012 issue of Critical Inquiry is devoted to the philosophy of photography, in particular, questions of automatism and agency. The editors of the Special Issue on Photography, Diarmuid Costello and Margaret Iversen, point out that two key papers published in Critical Inquiry have had a particular impact on the debate in philosophy of photography: Roger Scruton’s argument that photography is not a representational art in “Photography and Representation” and Kendall Walton’s “Transparent Pictures.”

The Contributors to the issue include philosophers, photographers, and art historians: Carol Armstrong, Diarmuid Costello, Margaret Iversen, Robin Kelsey, Susan Laxton, Dominic McIver Lopes, Patrick Maynard, and Jeff Wall.

Unfortunately, the issue is not available open access.

[Edited from Photomedia Forum post by T.Neugebauer from Sep 27, 2012 ]