Digitisation Services
Getting Started

If you are looking for a standout digitisation supplier then look no further. Let’s get started.

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Getting Started with TownsWeb Archiving

Welcome to TownsWeb Archiving, the home of digitisation. We have extensive experience working with a wide range of archive holders and their incredible collections to safeguard material and prime content for online accessibility. Our suite of digitisation services, breadth of knowledge, and commitment to supporting the sector through grants, tools, training and resources sets us apart. Here you will find everything you need to know about each of the important steps that make up the digitisation workflow to include capturing your data and publishing your collection online.


We’re here to help!

Speak with our consultants about your digitisation goals and your plans for access.

Book a meeting

Materials in store

Our storage space and environment is suitable for accommodating all material types and their specific requirements.


Get in touch

Speak with our consultants about your digitisation goals and your plans for access.

Book a meeting

1. The feasibility survey

This survey should be carried out internally to establish exactly what your archive consists of. This will help you to identify the true condition and diversity of your material, as well as how extensive your collection is. It will also help you to ascertain whether you can afford to digitise all of it in one go or whether, more realistically, you will need to complete your project in stages.

We can talk to you about:

  • The feasibility/affordability of your project
  • Opportunities for consultation and project scoping
  • Budgets, goals and funding opportunities
  • The possibility of digitising in phases
  • How we can help you to achieve your long term vision

2. Collection scheduled

Once you have established exactly what is going to be digitised, we can start making arrangements for the movement of your material. You can deliver the items yourself, arrange for an external courier, or take advantage of our collection and delivery service. Talk to us about your specific wishes and requirements.

We can talk to you about:

  • What’s included in your project costs
  • Our insurance and security provisions
  • The fragile handling and loading processes we adopt
  • How your items will be returned in their original order
  • Our guarantee that items will be returned undamaged

3. Materials in store

We will store your items in a specially prepared space which will be conditioned to adequately suit the entirety of your collection and type of your material. Care and attention will also be paid to how your items are placed and organised.

We can talk to you about:

  • Visiting the premises to observe our studios and store
  • Our fire safety and insurance measures
  • Security, such as alarms, external windows and lockable doors
  • Minimising light damage
  • Off-floor storage and climate control

4. Materials survey

Once your material arrives at our studios we carry out a ‘materials survey’ as standard. This helps to identify any issues or discrepancies between what has been received and what was originally quoted, so that they can be dealt with more quickly and efficiently. Discovering problems later down the line could slow the project down and potentially increase costs. Therefore, it’s prudent for everyone’s sake that this additional survey be carried out. The very start of a project is the best time for any deadlines or processes to be recalculated, should circumstances demand it, rather than after work has got underway.

We can talk to you about:

  • How ‘outliers’ are used to identify potential issues or time-sinks
  • How pages are counted – smaller versus larger collections
  • The process for making comparisons against the original quote
  • How fold-outs, staples, fragility of material and additional work is recorded
  • How changes and developments are communicated
  • The assessment of the equipment required

5. Project administration

Before digitisation has even begun, it is important to have administration processes in place that will help to drive the project, and the communication around it, in the right direction. Successful digitisation is heavily reliant upon logistics, so you will want to feel confident about how we can manage this.

We can talk to you about:

  • Example outputs and feedback
  • How our technician’s ‘issue’ log is kept and updated
  • How regular communication is managed
  • Look-up services for records that need to be regularly searched
  • The assignment of a project manager/single point of contact

6. Digitisation

Appointing a specialist digitisation provider, like TownsWeb Archiving, means you can take a step back, leaving you the space to focus on your other roles and responsibilities. With over a decade of experience working with every type of archive material and condition, you can be safe in the knowledge that your material is being well looked after.

We can talk to you about:

  • Your long term goals and how we can help you to meet them
  • Our specific methodology for capturing your items
  • Output resolution and file formats
  • Cropping and colour correction that will best suit your needs
  • Any additional services we offer that might be of interest
  • Our safe handling procedures and archive standards
  • The quality assurance measures we have in place
  • Making contact with other organisations to share experiences

7. Data capture

As important as the capturing of your images is the capturing of the information contained within them. This might be scrawled names and dates on photographs, annotations on journals, or the entire text within an essay or a register. This data is what makes your collections searchable and there are a number of ways to collect and store it for the benefit of accessibility.

We can talk to you about:

  • Our four main data capture techniques
  • What data capture service would best suit your needs
  • How your data can be used to drive searches
  • Live examples of how data is being used by other organisations

8. Media dispatched

Your data is the first step towards migration, online publishing, and better access and management, as well as supporting any promotional activities you hope to carry out. Consequently, we strive to get you access to your digital collection as soon as possible, and without delay.

We can talk to you about:

  • The need to conduct an additional QA process internally
  • Availability and terms of use for our back-up cloud service
  • How many copies of the data you will be provided with
  • Best practice tips for storing your data

9. Return scheduled

With your material now digitised, the next step to organise is the safe return of your physical archive. You can either arrange personal collection, appoint a courier to collect, or take advantage of our delivery service for peace of mind.

We can talk to you about:

  • The best time for the return of your material
  • Our guarantee that your material will be returned in exactly the same condition
  • The specific organisation of your material
  • Any assistance required with transporting back to the store

10. Promoting your project

The completion of your digitisation project is an epic milestone and a great reason to celebrate. We can help you to reach out to members of the community and other organisations to share your digital recreations. We can also advise you on methods for digital storytelling and outreach to better engage audiences in your digitisation journey, as well as advice on how to use tools to measure your success.

We can talk to you about:

  • The promotion of your project through our own media channels
  • Collaborative pieces we could work on together
  • Outreach strategies
  • Marketing and SEO
  • Online access (either through PastView or another platform)

Recent customer stories

Société Jersiaise’s digital collections are now online

The Société Jersiaise publishes their archive online with PastView. Read on and watch the short documentary to discover their stunning collections for yourself.

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University of Salford: Transforming Digital Access

After digitising three diverse collections for the University of Salford – Alexandra Mitchell tells us about their exciting plans for an accessible future!

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The National Holocaust Centre and Museum – Stories of Survival

As the saying goes ‘preparation is key’ and this is never truer than when undertaking heritage digitisation projects.

Continue Reading

11. Publishing

Choose one of three no-nonsense ways to publish and manage your digitised and born-digital collections, objects and spaces.

Ready to get started?

We hope our Getting Started guide has made the digitisation process a lot clearer. Why not book a discovery call today and begin your digitisation journey.

Book your discovery call