DHC volunteers examine slides using light-boxes.

September 4, 2014, by aeysari

A day trip to the University’s Manuscripts and Special Collections dept by DHC alumnus Sam Rigby.

DHC volunteers examine slides using light-boxes.

DHC volunteers examine slides using light-boxes.

One of the projects that DHC volunteers worked on in 2013-14 was the digitisation of sections of the extensive slide collection which is housed within the space. DHC hopes to one day have a database of selected images from the collection, which could range from classical sculpture to twentieth century architecture, and would be available for any member of the University to access and browse. However, with thousands of slides to digitise and copyright issues to consider this is proving to be no mean feat. And so, earlier this year, four intrepid volunteers jumped the hopper-bus to King’s Meadow Campus in order to consult the experts over at the Manuscripts and Special Collections Department.

Upon our arrival we were met by Mark Bentley, Digitisation Technical Officer, who took us on a tour of the set-up at King’s Meadow. This took in the Special Collection store: a former television recording studio which now holds hundreds of thousands of items, from paintings to pamphlets, under controlled light and temperature conditions in order to best preserve them. Our curiosity satisfied, we then got to see some of the equipment that is used to digitise the University’s own collection of rare books and manuscripts. While the equipment there was clearly specialist and had various add-ons for different kinds of documents, it was heartening to see that the core components were a copy stand and camera not dissimilar to Annie– our very own back at the DHC!

One of the programs used by the Manuscripts and Special Collection Department, Extensis Portfolio, is what we are using to create our slide database. We rounded off our visit by receiving some handy software tips from Mark. One of the issues we had been facing was how to construct a coherent database from such a diverse collection of images, but being shown some of the more advanced features of Portfolio has certainly given us some food for thought about how to tackle our problem!

If you are an Arts student here at Nottingham and think you might like to volunteer in DHC or get involved in this or any other digitisation project ran by the centre, please come and visit us in the Humanities building or email digitalhumanities@nottingham.ac.uk

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