Our archive digitisation service offers professional scanning, image processing and indexing of historical, rare, precious and fragile material for organisations as well as private individuals.
We can digitise your archives from a range of formats including;
- Fragile Books and Documents
- Books (Bound, Hardback/Paperback)
- Minute Books
- Large Format Maps
- Glass Plate Negatives
- Burial & Cremation Registers
- 35mm Slides
We handle the digitisation of cultural heritage collections held by public and private archives, cemeteries, libraries and museums throughout the UK and Europe. Our array of specialist scanning equipment and tailored made image processing software allow us to deliver high resolution digital copies of all archives.
Whether you have a one of small project, from one book or manuscript, to scan or whether your scanning project is spanning across decades of archives. Our scanning bureau has the flexibility and scalability to meet the required demand.
Fragile items are treated with utmost care by our professional and experienced scanning staff. Our scanning facility is tailor-made to meet the requirements of our clients so it caters for security, safety and confidentiality. Our aim has always been to provide a digitisation service that delivers outstanding image capture quality, together with absolute care for the special collections that we are entrusted with. And we have achieved this over the course of several hundred projects with some of the most culturally significant heritage collections in the UK and Internationally.
What can be scanned?
We can scan paper items from postage stamp size up to A0+: such as photographs, maps, books, manuscripts, publications, magazines and newspapers. We are also able to digitise film based media in the form of 35mm rolls, slides, negatives, positives and strips, and microfiche; as well as scanning collodion wet and gelatine dry glass plate negatives.
The key benefits of scanning archives
One of the biggest challenges archivists face is the need to balance the preservation of their materials and protecting them from environment and handling day-to-day harm, with the need to provide easy access to the information that they contain. Digitisation of old, fragile, and precious collections offers two main benefits; p
Firstly, digital images preserve their contents in a digital form so that, should the original item ever be lost or destroyed in accident, the valuable information it contained is not lost. Digitisation also contributes to the preservation of the item by allowing its information to be accessed without physically handling it and extending the items life-cycle by reducing wear on the precious original.
- Improved Access
Secondly, digitising archive materials can greatly improve access, as in digital form they can be made readily available via disk or internet. This can completely remove the need to handle archives that often come in large and heavy volumes, or sift through index cards to retrieve a particular record or image.
Digital images can be accessed much faster than physical ones. Indexing or cataloging data about an image in digital collections makes them easily searchable by allowing them to be searched using keywords or via indexes in an instant.
Our Scanning Equipment
Our scanning bureau uses low stress, flatbed digitising equipment specially designed to fully support and place absolute minimum pressure on the materials being digitised. In addition to sympathetic cradles, the scanners utilise optimised LED lighting, which produces far less heat and infrared energy than traditional incandescent light sources. This mitigates the risk of heat damaging the precious materials being digitised.
Our scanning equipment also features industry leading document capture devices capable of digitising images to a very high resolution, resulting in high quality master digital archives.
Experienced and Passionate Scanning Staff
Our digitisation team are highly trained in the safe handling of fragile and precious archival items, and frequently digitise materials. A gentle "special gloves" approach is employed to ensure materials are treated with the utmost care.
Output formats and resolution
As we understand through our experience, no two archive digitisation projects are the same, so with this in mind we tailor the resolution and file formats of the digital outputs we produce to meet the goals of each project we undertake.
- Firstly we digitise to RAW format and are able to capture in full colour, greyscale or bi-tonal.
- From this original captured image we are then able to produce outputs in Adobe PDF file formats , TIFF, JPEG, PNG, BMP and either uncompressed or with compression applied.
At your site or at our bureau
We digitise most of our clients' collections at our digitisation studio in our central Manchester scanning facility, using secure GPS-tracked vehicles and staff to collect the materials from the clients premises across the UK. However, we understand that some collections are simply too precious and can not be removed from your site for scanning. For this reason we also offer an onsite scanning service where our scanning team will setup our scanning equipment and digitise your materials on location.