“100 years of history in 15,000 photos”
That’s the tagline chosen for the Merton Memories digital archiving project that we have recently completed in partnership with Merton Library & Heritage Service, and it perfectly sums up both the scale and importance of the project.
Below you can watch an interview with the project’s leader, Heritage and Local Studies Manager Sarah Gould, who discusses Merton Memories and how TownsWeb Archiving helped digitise a century of Mertons local history and make it available online…
More about the Merton Memories project…
The Merton Memories project aimed to make Mertons 15,000 strong heritage photograph collection accessible to, and searchable by, the public online. The project involved TownsWeb:
- digitising over 10,000 photos – dating from he Victorian era to the present
- providing digitisation training for six volunteers to scan a further 5000 photos
- importing the digital archive into our PastView collections management system
- designing and building a digital archive website to allow searching and viewing of the collections
- providing PastView system training for over twenty volunteers
PastView – unlocking Mertons digital archive
Our PastView digital archive management software is the power behind the Merton Memories website and enables advanced searching through the digital photo archive.
After TownsWeb production staff digitised and indexed the photograph collections, our developers imported the digital images, together with the images scanned by Merton volunteers, into Mertons PastView installation.
The images were initially organised in the original collections and sub-collections of their physical counterparts, with Merton staff able to re-arrange the digital collections using the PastView interface and add additional metadata to organise the archive for display online.
The PastView system and Merton Memories website search facility allow advanced keyword searching against any metadata fields in the archive (such as image title, image description, collection title), in addition to offering broad search options for browsing images by year/period, geographical area, the image’s original format, and more.
Generating revenue from the photo archive
Merton Library Service is also able to take orders for high resolution photographic prints of images from the digital archive, via the Merton Memories website. Revenues generated from these print orders are then passed on to Merton Libraries and Heritage Service (MLHS) and other stakeholders (such as the owners of the collections).
As part of an agreement with MLHS, TownsWeb Archiving produces the photographic prints and fulfils the orders, resulting in no extra hassle for Library or Heritage staff.
Upon launching the archive website, MLHS were also able to offer a 50% off promotion on photographic prints to encourage initial sales, and have further promotions planned for the future.
An ongoing story…
Since going live on 22nd March, the Merton Memories digital archive website has received a huge number of visitors looking to find out more about Mertons heritage. What’s more, volunteers are currently still digitising additional image content and adding it to the digital archive, as well as adding extra metadata to flesh out the existing collections further.