Connecting to Collections Care Online Community

Deteriorating Media (photo films and negatives)

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    • #133802
      Denise Hatcher

      I’m working at a small history museum and involved in a major digital preservation effort to save over 40,000 photo films and negatives of the city’s historic photos from cellulose acetate deterioration. Each film is individually wrapped in paper and I’m scanning in each image on a flatbed scanner and it’s very tedious. The endstate is to place the “hard copies” of the photos/negatives in cold storage to slow deterioration. The concern I have is in choosing the right Image Capture Devices. As of now, the museum has no budget or additional funds to purchase digital equipment. I’m considering drafting a grant proposal or fundraising effort (like “adopt-an-object”) to create funding for needed equipment that can capture images and transmit them faster and more efficient than the old scanner I’m using.
      I’m interested in activities necessary for long-term maintenance of digital information and their accessibility to our community. I’m focused on preserving captured images, their storage, and the process of digitizing media types like Photographs, Films and Maps. I don’t know a lot about the subject but I’ve began initial research from a source on the listserv (LYRASIS Digital Services, Bibliographic Center for Research (BCR). I know the cost for Digitization Projects is expensive and difficult to predict, however, (according to BCR) I’m learning that the capturing and conversion of data comprises one-third (1/3) the total cost of digitization– while cataloging, description and indexing comprise of two-thirds (2/3) of the total cost. There are other costs that I haven’t considered: housing of originals, producing derivative files, building an image database system and developing web interfaces.
      There seems to be great open-source software available for cataloging, managing and publishing collections (e.g. collective, but I need a recommendation from organizations already doing this type of work , without having to requisition a treatment proposal through a conservation center (e.g. Northeast Document Conservation Can anyone provide a suggestion?


    • #133823

      Dear Denise,

      Check in the Resources section of this website and in the archived webinars (there was a previous course on digital projects <>. You will find many resources about digital preservation and finding funding for supporting such a project.

      You are right such projects are tedious and it is really correct that one of the most time consuming parts of such projects is cataloging, description, and indexing of these collections. Access is an important part of preservation. I have found with very large collections like yours, it sometimes helps to begin with a part of the collection that might be the most used. Have you done a survey of what you have? Has the collection had any sort of indexing or cataloging? It is often important to be able to say these photographs are important because they contain images from these particular aspects of our town history – in other words, you need to define why these images are worthy of preservation.

      It is a bit late, but you might look at the NEH Preservation Assistance grants
      The deadline for this year is May 5th.

      Also, some states have grants (and sometimes training) for digital projects through their state historical records advisory board – it is worth checking to see if they might be of assistance <>.

      I hope that helps.

      C2C Care Online Coordinator

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