British photographic history

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Blog: Digitising the Collection: From Cellar to Hard Drive

Starting a digitisation project completely from scratch has its challenges but it also has a great number of advantages, not least being given the opportunity to thoroughly understand the reasons for digitising the collection and being able to research and think through the workflow and methodology in advance to make sure that we get it right first time.  So often, digitisation is undertaken piecemeal and without a clear plan, and what results is a collection of disparate images of varying quality which need to be revisited over time.

The challenges of the project, namely a limited budget, tight time frame (two years of initial funding), reliance on a volunteer workforce and need to use pre-existing kit could have proved difficult but in fact, as we worked through our approach to this project, these limitations have actually helped to clearly inform decisions about what we can and cannot manage and how we should approach the material, and in their way have largely simplified the process.

You can read the rest of the blog here 

Our latest blog, by The Past on Glass Project Officer Abby Matthews

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Comment by Kath Shawcross on May 25, 2015 at 17:22

Thanks Giles - I'll pass your comments on to Abby Matthews our Project Officer and author of the blog. We were actually relieved to discover that there was no one answer or correct way to do the scanning as both of us had spent a lot of time corresponding with others and reading articles. In this project an overriding issue is the budget which will be the case for many. cheers, Kath

Comment by Giles Hudson on May 16, 2015 at 16:42
Interesting blog - I agree with most things you say. However, good luck with removing Newton's rings post scan! (it's impossible in my experience ...)

The big question with glass negatives I think is what contrast range and gamma to use. Is there any objective way of determining this? Should the same be used for all negatives, or matched to the range of contrast in individual plates? Scanning negatives is very subjective - reversed scans often do not bear any relationship to photographic prints from those negatives.

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