British photographic history

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Information request: digitisation of 19th century photographs on paper

I am looking for information about the best way to digitize 19th century photographs on paper. The Neue Pinakothek in Munich (Germany) has recently acquired a large collection of photographs from the nineteenth century. Processes range from early caloytpes (1840s) to Albumen prints and silver gelatine. At the moment tentative plans are being made to start a digitisation project.

I am looking for information on the conservational requirements regarding light and heat that should be met.  These will of course differ depending on the process and year of origin. Is it better to photograph the images or to scan them? We would like to meet the highest standards in this project, but are lacking the necessary information. Does anyone work in the field and can give advise or point out literature regarding the task?

Any information will be greatly appreciated

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Comment by Caroline Fuchs on May 18, 2015 at 9:57

Thank you, Michael! These are very helpful!

Comment by Michael Pritchard on May 12, 2015 at 18:00

These may be helpful: 

FADGI Guidelines: Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Cultural Heritage Materials

The other guides are located here:

Comment by Caroline Fuchs on May 5, 2015 at 9:11

Dear Derek,

thank you very much for your help! I will definitely ask the forum you suggest!

Comment by Armando Ribeiro on May 4, 2015 at 16:21

Hi Caroline,

I have done extensive work with several collections holding different kinds of prints and negatives.

If you want to get in touch this are my contacts: e. m. +44.7960356627 I will be more then happy to assist with any doubts you might have.

Kind regards,


Comment by Derek Trillo MA PhD FRPS on May 4, 2015 at 11:46

I suggest asking the forum at AHFAP this is the organisation for digitisation specialists in UK and Ireland. Although I am a member (I could scan and/or photograph the items), this query is probably better answered by another member: one who can advise on the heat and light aspects of conservation you ask about. The question of whether to photograph or scan depends on their size (small are better scanned) and their physical shape, i.e. curved or cracked works need photographing not scanning as scanning would be (physically) too risky. I hope that this helps.

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