Digitisation - Glass Plate Negative Scanning
Transport for London
The Sandhurst Collection
Scottish Canals
Rambert Archives
University of the Arts London
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Glass Plate Negatives

TownsWeb Archiving’s glass plate negative scanning service uses expert digitisation technicians with a wealth of experience in scanning glass plate negatives and lantern slides.

Digitisation protects your glass plate negatives and lantern slides from loss or damage and makes them quickly accessible. Often it is the case that holders of glass plate negatives are unsure of exactly what is held within their collection because of the nature of this particular format. Digitisation is a clear way of identifying the extent and content of these collections.

We are able to convert most items, regardless of deterioration, peeling emulsion, cracks and scratches, and can create output formats in TIFF and JPEG (JPEG2000), or any other industry-standard image format you may require.

Calculate the cost of your glass plate negative scanning project

Visit our digitisation studio – See how our Glass Plate Negative Scanning service works


Hear what our clients have to say about our digitisation services

Digitisation Frequently Asked Questions

We digitise (or “scan”) glass plates by using specialist advanced equipment to capture extremely high resolution images.

During the image capture process, we can also organise the digital image files by incorporating metadata into the filenames; such as the date they were taken or what equipment was used to capture them.

Digitising glass plate collections can ensure that unique and valuable content is preserved in digital form, in case the worst should happen and the originals become damaged or destroyed. This high resolution digital back up can then be used to reprint the images if necessary.

Once you have a digital library of glass plate images we can help you index, transcribe and add appropriate metadata. We can help you maintain your image collection by importing the files and metadata into our PastView content management system (or into your own existing system).

If you are interested in displaying your images online for the public to view then we can build complete archive websites (or web pages that sit within your existing website) that allow fast advanced searching and incorporate payment gateways so that the public can find and then pay for physical prints or digital copies of your images. Find out more about our Software and Website Design services.

We can also provide improved access to your collections and increase the speed of finding images, by enabling searching. Attaching metadata to the digitised images allows for quick keyword searching through the digitised collections.

As specialists in digitising fragile archive collections, our scanning staff are fully trained in professional handling procedures for working with delicate books and employ a gentle, “white gloves” approach at all times, to ensure no harm comes to the materials.

We are happy to remove your glass plates from card sleeves/envelopes during the digitisation process, carefully replacing them in the packaging when the scanning has been completed.

We utilise unique, specialist flatbed scanners, which place the absolute minimum of pressure on the glass plates and mitigate any chance of damaging the precious original materials during the digitisation process. We can scan any size negative in a variety of DPI and output types.

Our How to Digitise Glass Plate Negatives guide is a helpful resource to find out more about this process.

We appreciate that your photo collections are very valuable and so you may not want them to be moved from your premises. For this reason we offer an on-site digitisation service and are happy to travel to your premises with our staff and equipment to scan your photographs.

However, if you are comfortable allowing your collection to be transported to our digitisation studios for scanning, we are also happy to collect and return from your premises, using our own specially trained staff and GPS tracked vehicles. Find out more about our on-site & off-site scanning service.

We are able to scan glass plates to produce the digital format most appropriate to fulfil the aims of your digitisation project, including TIFF, JPEG, JPEG2000, PNG, and Adobe PDF formats.

As standard we recommend digitising glass plate negatives to uncompressed RGB TIFF files at a minimum resolution of 600dpi and 16-bit pixel depth when creating master files. However, we are more than happy to accommodate any specific requirements you may have, such as differing resolutions or file formats.

We will also, as standard, convert the negative images to positives and perform contrast adjustments in order to ensure that you receive the clearest possible digital images.

Calculate the cost of digitising your film collections

Simply input your specifications into the FREE digitisation quote calculator below, to get an estimate of how much your project might cost. The prices quoted are indicative for your material quantity and type but are subject to any additional costs such as file naming, folder naming and any post-processing requirements you may have.

If you don’t see your specific material listed it might be that your content is more suited to an informal chat.

Film Digitisation Quote Calculator

Important Note: We charge a standard £500 project set-up and management fee in addition to the cost of digitisation.

Capture the data within your Glass Plate Negatives

Digitisation places your glass plate negatives in the perfect format to capture the valuable data contained within them, offering great potential for system integration and online access and discovery.

Capture the data within your collection with handwritten transcription, identifying any handwritten or cursive script within images and converting this to searchable and machine readable textual metadata through a process of scanning. Using bespoke transcription validation software we can guarantee highly accurate results, carrying out any preprocessing measures required and outputting to any format.

Learn more about Handwritten Transcription

Publish your Glass Plate Negatives online

PastView is the perfect platform for publishing your glass plate negatives online, offering great potential for access and discovery. Manage and publish your collection with:


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