The Georgian Papers Programme: The digitisation process

Meet Adam. He is one of the imaging technicians on the Georgian Papers Programme. He is responsible for creating and managing all the digital images which are now online for the whole world to discover.

Peter Bogle

Adam has created more than 60,000 images of around 5,300 papers in the collection and that’s just the beginning.

“The most amazing thing about the Programme is that It’s a chance to see documents which are now in the public domain,” he enthused.

“Previously you couldn’t just pop in to see them. And the material will give a better insight into the personal aspect of the monarchy. They give a human rounded view to historical figures and big figures in history.”

So where do you begin such a mammoth task?

Adam starts by carefully placing the documents on the scanner. He doesn’t wear gloves because that poses an even greater risk of tearing the pages.

Once they are on the scanner a pressure sensor, or motorised book cradle, which will ensure there’s not too much weight on the documents and the spine of the volumes are supported. Then the document electronically scanned.

Georgian Papers Programme

The result is a digital image or a PDF document such as those you’ll see in the online collection.

He also manage the editing, post-production and directory - so that people can find what they are looking for.

They then go to a cateloguer for online data to be matched with an image.   

“My job is so varied,” Adam said.

“A volume might have 700 pages in there or it might be single pages. It also depends on the condition of the documents. I they are fragile, it might take longer.”

But for Adam it has provided an amazing opportunity in his career.

It’s been a chance to work with a unique collection and in a unique environment at the Round Tower.

There’s not many jobs where you work in a tower and it's a privilege to work with the material.

Adam said one of his favourite documents he found was an official document creating the title of the Duke of Edinburgh from 1726.

“It was a large document, I had to unscroll it carefully. I would say it was between A1 and A0 size,” he said.

“It's the history of it - the title still has resonance and is easily recognised today – this was the document which brought it to existence when King George I created it for Prince Frederik, George’s second son.”

And as for the remaining 300,000 documents which are yet to be scanned, Adam is hopeful that the success of these such programmes will ensure more and more history is preserved in this way.

“By creating digital copies the originals will be further preserved. The more these documents are accessed, the more desire there is to digitise further, which is wonderful.”

Round Tower