An electronic file has the potential to open access to a collection with a speed, flexibility and connectivity that microfilm cannot. Through the internet and other networks, information and resources from libraries, museums and archives can now be shared beyond the physical boundaries of the collections. The direction of government and the interest of our colleagues is towards IT and away from analogue preservation, and projects with an IT element attract better funding.
Digitising Original Material
To complement our microfilming service, we now offer our customers a high quality facility that can scan large numbers of images to any file size and format.
Our purpose-built digitisation suite is based around Mamiya 645 APD medium format cameras with a high quality P30 & P45+ megapixel digital scanning backs, which allows us to capture material in file sizes in excess 90Mb along with Capture One Pro software. Equipped with a pneumatically controlled book cradle, the camera is a versatile and sensitive machine ideal for filming fragile documents including:
The expertise we have in working with fragile and valuable materials for microfilming is transferable to the digitisation process. In common with best practise, we will always scan in RAW format in the first instance to create the best quality image from which we will process to the highest resolution appropriate to the material . From that master image, resolution or size can be compressed to create surrogates suited the desired end-usage.
Images can be supplied in a number of formats, the most common of which are:
Tagged-Image File Format (TIFF) - standard format used to exchange files between applications and computer platforms, and for print purposes. TIFF files support LZW compression.
Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) - format commonly used to display photographs and images over the WWW and other online services.
We welcome any enquiries, comments or suggestions that you may have about potential projects. These projects could be in our premises or on yours using our portable lighting system.
While the digital file is a brilliant access medium, its long-term lifespan remains an issue of debate. Microfilming and then scanning the film addresses both the preservation and access issues.
Scanning from film is a cheaper and less technical approach then scanning directly from the original. However, as microfilm is usually available in black and white, scanned film will not have the colour and tonal range of the original material. For this reason, this approach is particularly suitable for material such as newspapers, record books and other text-based materials where there may also be a preservation angle to consider.
To enhance our microfilm/microfiche/aperture card digitisation capablities we invested in a SunRise 2500 microfilm scanner which is now producing very high quality images from either microfilm created by UK Archiving or from any external source.