The digitisation of historical documents enables us to widen access and preserve them for many years to come.
How are the documents digitised?
Firstly, they are prepared for scanning by removing fasteners such as paperclips and staples to ensure a smooth scanning process. The type of scanner used varies depending on the document. For the bound newspapers and periodicals, an overhead scanner is used as it enables high quality scans and is perfect for fragile documents due to them being exposed to less light and heat.
The newspapers and periodicals that are unbound or single pages are fed into document scanners equipped with ultra-sonic, double feed detection, automated colour detection and image processing applications.
Some of these primary resources were originally stored on microfilm and digitised using microfilm scanners.
Are there any challenges when digitising documents like these?
Because of the historical importance of the newspapers, we didn’t just want to scan them and provide them digitally, we wanted to capture their essence and help people really feel what it would have been like to read the original.
The fragile nature of some of the newspapers had to be taken into consideration and our supplier, Pearl Scan, was able to use the most suitable equipment and adopt the relevant process to help preserve these rare documents.
We also faced a challenge when creating the metadata which enables the titles to be searchable online. We hadn’t anticipated the resource required to transliterate metadata into English to widen accessibility when searching. We had assumed this would be an automated process but the transliteration had to be done manually resulting in many hours working on the content of these documents.