Digitisation preserved essential documents of the past

Today we want to take a look at another example where digitisation preserved historical documents. Similar to analogue photos and films, older documents like newspapers and books will fade away over time. Therefore it is essential to transfer them to a digital medium to preserve them for the future.Digitisation preserved essential documents of the past

In this instance archives from a historic Welsh ironworks were digitised. Some people compare the importance of these archives to the Domesday Book and the Winston Churchill’s wartime papers. The archives were essential for the rapid development of Britain’s expansion throughout the industrial revolution. Thanks to funding it was now possible to save them from the ravages of time.

To be precise, the documents originated from the Neath Abbey Ironworks which were built in 1792. The archives held a huge collection of drawings and blueprints related to early steam machines and mine engines as well as locomotives.Digitisation preserved essential documents of the past Digitisation preserved essential documents of the pastA total of 16,600 British pounds were provided by the Welsh Government and the National Manuscripts Conservation trust (NMCT). This enabled the West Glamorgan Archive Service to start with the essential conservation of the manuscripts which includes their digitisation and the publication on the internet. Approximately 8,000 drawings could be saved to share this part of the history of Great Britain with future generations.

This is just one example of the importance of digitisation. To learn more about digitisation and to preserve your own family heirlooms including analogue photos, negatives and film, visit www.scancorner.co.uk.

Evolution Of Video

Introduction

In the last blog post we talked about the video formats which are nowadays commonly used. Today we want to provide you with information regarding the older generation of video formats, describe the history and point out problems of analogue video formats.

First Steps

The development of the first camera started in the late 1880’s. It was patented by the brothers Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas and Louis Jean who are considered to have produced the first moving picture in the history of human mankind. Besides the two brothers there were a couple of other individuals concerned with development of motion pictures. One of the most important one was Thomas Edison. He invented the Kinetoscope which allowed a single user to see a series of individual pictures in quick succession.

Evolution of video

Even though Edison’s endeavours lead to the first commercially successful film project: the Vitascope, which was in general a projector based device which allows a larger audience to watch a series of pictures, they could not keep up with the rapid developments of the Lumière brothers. They called their invention: Cinematograph. Their first demonstration to an audience can be seen here. It is important to mention that they used a 35mm celluloid film which was coated in an emulsion to prevent wear and tear. After experimenting, Hannibal Goodwin discovered the nitrocellulose film base which resembles the transparent film we know today. George Eastman made an additional effort to coat this film and made it ready to be mass produced.

Evolution of video

After a very competitive start, the development of photography continued with dramatic speed. Around 1912, the movie industry started to grow and one after another achieved their first commercial success by enabling a wide audience to watch moving pictures. Movie theatres became popular and the audience was starving for new and exciting video material.

A touch of colour

Even though the first coloured movie was made in 1908, the results were far away from perfect. It took a while, about 9 years to considerably improve the quality of the film. The process termed “Technicolor” was a technique which involved capturing the colours red, blue and green on three separate negatives. It was known to show movies with highly saturated colours which included for example the highly anticipated “Wizard of Oz.
Evolution of videoThe electrical era

This particular period in time is marked by the fact that it was now possible to add audio to a movie. This was made possible by the “sound-on-film” technology which was developed by Western Electric. Audio Signals were picked up by microphones and were transformed into a narrow band of light via photoelectric elements. A slim segment at the side of the film was used for the “soundtrack”.

Power to the People

Not only was video making a profitable business for companies it was also a convenient way for home enthusiasts to preserve their beloved moments for a very long time. Initially it was too cost intensive for a normal household to buy all the necessary equipment including the film. Therefore, in the early 1920s a new type of film was designed: the 16mm film. It was cheaper to produce and easier to transport which made it popular not only among hobby photographers but also for professional filmmakers.

During the Great depression the industry was forced to come up with a plan to reduce costs for users and producers of the film even more. Yet another format was introduced: the 8mm film. Basically, the 8mm film is smaller which enables it to record more frames per foot in exchange for less details in the recorded material. In addition, the 8mm was cheaper to produce and process than the 16mm, which opened the door for everyone who was passionate about making movies.

In 1965 another huge milestone in the film industry was reached: the development of the Super 8mm film. Conveniently, enough several companies released the Super 8 camera which motivated a new wave of amateur filmmakers to toy around with their new found Gadget.

Home entertainment war

After the rise of movie theatres it was about time that people could enjoy recorded entertainment at home. Companies realised that as well and around 1976 the so called “Home entertainment war” began. The two biggest players in this confrontation were Sony and JVC. Both competitors developed similar tapes with minor differences in terms of visual appearances. It can be seen that the Betamax (Sony) tape was smaller and neater in comparison to the VHS (JVC) which was bulkier. However, this was also the downfall of the Sony and the reason why JVC conquered the market in quick succession. Due to the decision of Sony to produce a smaller tape, it could hold significantly less film. To put it simple: The VHS tape could record up to two hours which is twice the length of a normal Betamax. Even though Sony tried to improve their original tape to keep up with JVC, the VHS tape was always one step ahead, which ultimately led to Sony’s decision to abandon their endeavours in this market segment.

Evolution of video

A new start

In 1984 the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) developed the first digital video. In addition they released the first widely accepted video codec to compress and decompress video material four years later: the H.261. This herald a new era: the Digital Age. Every video format we know today under abbreviations like MP4 or AVCHD is based on the invention of the ITU. Moreover, this advancement in the video industry made all the other analogue formats obsolete. From now on it was possible to store a large amount of data on handy mediums like a CD. Furthermore, unlike video tapes the content was protected from the symptoms of ageing, which brings us to the next point: the flaws of analogue video formats.   

The dying light

Even though the VHS tape brought us a lot of joy it is bound to the natural order. After approximately 10 years the video will start to stutter, flicker and the original sound vanishes and will be replaced by a static noise. Based on the storage conditions of the tape, this process can be accelerated drastically. The reason this happens is the fact that every time the video is played it gets hot and will be damaged by a bit due to the heat. Therefore it is essential to keep the memories alive by digitisation which will allow the user to watch their originals in full glory without any compromises. If you need further information or assistance about digitisation please click here.

We hope this information is useful to you and that the tour through the history of video makes you realise how far we have come in terms of convenience and technology. Stay tuned for our next blog post which will get into more detail about some of the older formats.

ScanCorner: Digitise analogue video and photo formats

Analogue photo formats do not last forever. UV radiation, humidity and mold can damage valuable personal treasures like a photo. In order to protect such memories against long-term natural decay, it is important to restore and digitalise those analogue old formats. ScanCorner helps you with preserving all of life’s special moments in digital form. We digitise negatives, slides, old photographs, VHS tapes and Super 8 mm films. We serve Switzerland, United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Australia and India.

Place an order online

It all starts with the customer placing an order online giving the order details and shipping address. Once the order is placed online, a confirmation email is generated which has to be printed out and sent along with the order to us. Once we receive it, we weigh the order and make the estimate of the order size.  And don’t forget to quote your voucher code to receive your special discount.

Manual Scanning and Restoration

Our professionals clean and scan all the images manually on high-end scanners. They check for scratches and colour correction, edit and enhance them by special procedure, providing you with the best quality. The video digitisation involves optimization of image and sound quality, brightness and colour correction and digital noise reduction.

Personalised online gallery and DVD

After the restoration process, a link to your personal online gallery is sent to you, with low resolution photos of the processed negatives, slides and photo prints, for you to review.  For videos, a short 3 minute preview is uploaded to the online gallery, again with link being sent to you. If there are any concerns with the quality of the digitisation, please let us know and ScanCorner implements the correction requests.  You are then provided with your personalised DVD along with all the originals which are shipped back to you. This personalised DVD is easy to preserve, access and share.

Finally a download link to the digitised photo or video formats is available on request.

Google holds the largest collection of the digitised letters from the wartime

Google opened the largest Russian online archive of letters of more than 800 letters (1941 – 1945) from the war years, “Live memory”. The project was developed by agency Friends Moscow for Google Russia dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the great Patriotic war. There are videos where some of the letters received were read out by theatre and movie actors, musicians, athletes, TV presenters and politicians.

Google holds the largest collection of the digitized letters from the wartimeWillem Rabe created a typographic illustration made up of characters from around 800 letters serves as the interface to the online archive. As visitors will read letters, words will form an image of a soldier who has returned home from the front, reunited with his son.

“Turning what had been static typeface illustrations into a fully immersive interactive experience was an exciting challenge to me as it required both artistic and technical expertise to yield the results we were aiming for. After receiving the photographic data, I started to work on adjusting the contrast of the photograph, then creating an intricate line drawing featuring every contour, crease, strand of hair and fold within the image,” explains Willem.

Google holds the largest collection of the digitized letters from the wartime“The process took a hefty hundred hours and involved a lot of manual labour as every letter of every term had to be sized, spaced and in some instances rotated to get the most even overall appearance.

“After completing the process and following a strict protocol all the outlines were converted into a machine readable format and fed into the content management system that powers the interactive archive. This allowed us to later assign terms to letters that would match contextually.”

You can view the videos here: http://pisma.may9.ru/#/archive/video

Website: http://pisma.may9.ru/#/

Memories last for a lifetime?

On our website and on our flyers we claim that we save your memories for a lifetime. We recommend and advice you to digitise your old slides or photos to save them before they get stained and your memories get lost forever. Some of you take the chance of our offer to get them scanned to DVD and save them forever.

Onseveral trade fairs you ask us many times the same question, not only there but our customer support gets many queries with the same topic, too: What is the durability of the provided DVDs and how reliable are these DVD as storage for my memories?

Unfortunately we can’t provide you with an exact and guaranteed answer about that topic with that blog post. We have to rely and trust the details of the producer, too. Some of them claim a life span of almost 100 years for their DVD’s, others – independent researches – mention a lifespan between five to ten years. We think that a life span of 10 years is more realistic, though every one of us has many music CD’s in the shelves which are older than 10 years.

The next question of you might be, if it is sufficient to renew the own DVDs which contain the valuable memories after a specific period?

We recommend you to save your memories from the beginning on a different device, either on a cloud or on your PC to avoid any reading errors or other troubles with your DVD. Nowadays there are many cheap external hard discs available which are useful to save your important data. In addition we recommend you to renew your DVD every two years to have another copy of your important files.

If you are done with these steps to save your valuable data, you can enjoy your images or movies on your PC or tablet and you don’t have to worry about losing your memories for a lifetime.

If you need any further assistance about the right storage device or if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our customer support.

About ScanCorner

ScanCorner offers one of the best value digitisation services in UK. Every memory is handled by professionals who scan and restore them to bring out the best quality. We also create a personalised online gallery with the digitised images which you can share with your friends and family.

 

Digital Images of the history of Wales are now available on Wikipedia

A group of Elizabethan Ladies
A group of Elizabethan Ladies

The National Library of Wales is working closely with Wikimedia UK (WMUK) on this project and has uploaded over 4000 images of the history of Wales. These thousands of images of the medieval history of Wales are now available on Wikipedia as well as on the website of National Library of Wales.

Wikimedia UK is a charity to support volunteers in the United Kingdom who work on projects of Wikimedia such as Wikipedia.

History of the Kings - Morgan and Cunedda
History of the Kings – Morgan and Cunedda

Jasons Evans, the Wikipedian in Residence at the National Library of Wales, explains “One of the Library’s key goals over the next few years is to provide ‘Knowledge for All’. We want to make our collections available freely and widely, and sharing material with sites such as Flickr and Wikicommons gives us an opportunity to reach a far wider audience than we could ever hope to reach via our own website alone.”

The images are those from the 15th and 14th century which illustrates and explains the then life of the great kings and also the Welsh manuscripts.

Jason adds, “Everything we release to Wikipedia is also released on an open license ‘Public Domain’ so these images can be reused by anyone for free. This encourages the development of educational and documentary resources. Already images from these manuscripts have generated staggering viewing stats.”

To view the images of the medieval manuscripts, click here.

Creative reuse of your old slides

Are you planning to digitise your old slides? Are you going to dispose your slides afterwards or do you want to keep them? If you don’t want to dispose them, do you put them on your attic again? Have you heard about “Upcycling”?

Upcycling means that trash or actually useless materials are going to be converted into new products, that is to say you revalue the material.

In 1994 the idea of Upcycling was mentioned the first time but it became more and more popular in the last two or three years. Famous examples are messenger bags or pockets made out of recycled truck canvas or frisbees made out of recycled PET-bottles. In addition more and more big companies produce their products from recycled materials.

The employees of ScanCorner digitise hundreds of slides every day. During that process we are asking ourselves what you are going to do afterwards with them. In this blog post we would like to present you one idea on what you can do with your slides afterwards.

On Pinterest or on the following page you will find examples on how to convert your old slides into an old lamp or a curtain.

slides
© Ann-Sophie

What do you need for this? Patience, instant adhesive, modelling material, a candle/ light bulb and your old slides.

We think that upcycling is another possibility to unveil your old memories in a different way than digitization. Everyone is looking at these small images when they are illuminated. With your construction style, you decide the durability of your lamp. The lamp on the mentioned website will be something for the damp and dark months in autumn or winter but you can make your memories last a lifetime too.

Please put the modelling material in a circle on your window-still and stick the first slides into it. Glue the slides with an instant adhesive or glue together. The next steps are a little trickier because you have to fix the following slides above the existing slides. You repeat this steps until you reach the expected height.

Enjoy your upcycled lamp – your ScanCorner-Team

Historical aerial photos of Minneapolis made available online

University of Minnesota Libraries, City of Minneapolis and the Minnesota Historical Society worked together and completed digitisation of more than 4,500 historical aerial photos of Minneapolis, dating back to 1938.

These scanned photos of the Minneapolis were added to the already existing online collection of the Minnesota Historical Aerial Photographs, of more than 121,000 aerial photographs from around the state dating back to 1923. The original photographs will be preserved by the Libraries and the digital images are freely available for viewing by the public.  Students and history enthusiasts can use these photos as part of their research project to make a study on how the area back in 1938 changed over time.

Ryan Mattke, head of the John R. Borchert Library  said “I think that this project is a great collaboration among the City of Minneapolis, the Minnesota Historical Society, and the University of Minnesota to make sure that these historical resources are not only preserved and archived but also available to the public for use by anybody.”

“Because of our partnership with the Borchert Map Library, we’ve been successful at providing digital images online to give immediate benefits to the community, while ensuring proper long-term care of the original artifacts,” said City Clerk Casey Carl, city of Minneapolis. “This project was a true win-win partnership for the city and the community.”

You can view the aerial photographs here: https://www.lib.umn.edu/apps/mhapo/index.html#mpls

550,000 newsreel clips added to the YouTube by the Associated Press

The Associated Press and the British Movietone teamed up to upload more than 100 years of newsreel footage dating from 1895 to present with the world which will serve as a source of education for historians and documentary filmmakers.

The largest upload to YouTube of historical news content of more than 1 million minutes of 550,000 digitised footage includes footage of the major historical events like the earthquake in San Francisco in 1906, Pearl Harbor bombing in 1941, Nelson Mandela’s release, and an amateur video of one of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers on 9/11, celebrity footage, fashion and lifestyle through the ages, sports and entertainment, Science and technology and other historical milestones. All this content will be continually refreshed by AP.

“The AP archive footage, combined with the British Movietone collection, creates an incredible visual journey of the people and events that have shaped our history,” said Alwyn Lindsey, AP’s director of international archive. “At AP we are always astonished at the sheer breadth of footage that we have access to, and the upload to YouTube means that, for the first time, the public can enjoy some of the oldest and most remarkable moments in history.”

Stephen Nuttall, the director of YouTube in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, comments: “Making this content available on YouTube is a wonderful initiative from AP and British Movietone that will breathe new life into their footage and no doubt delight our global community – from students researching history projects to curious culture-vultures and the billions in between. It’s an historical treasure trove that will give YouTube users around the world a moving window into the past and I can’t wait to explore it.”

The content dating from 1895 to 1986 is available on two YouTube channels: AP Archive and British Movietone

16mm film of Amelia Earhart donated to Purdue’s Library

16mm film of Amelia Earhart
16mm film of Amelia Earhart

The 16mm film donated to Purdue University Libraries’ Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center features Amelia Earhart and her Lockheed Electra plane as they were being photographed by Earhart’s official photographer, Albert Bresnik.  The footage thought to have been taken by Albert’s brother, John Bresnik, captured Earhart speaking and posing at the Union Air Terminal in Burbank, California (today known as the Bob Hope Airport).

Douglas Westfall donated the film to Purdue who is the owner and publisher at The Paragon Agency, which released a book “Amelia Earhart’s Last Photo Shoot”, by Nicole Swinford.

Edward Elliott, the then president of Purdue, recruited Amelia Earhart as a career counsellor and advisor to the Department of Aeronautics. Lockheed Electra that became known as Earhart’s flying laboratory was purchased for $80,000 from the fund for Aeronautical Research in April 1936. Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan vanished on July 2, 1937, over the Pacific Ocean during their around-the-world flight.

Amelia Earhart, Fred Noonan (AP Photo, File)
Amelia Earhart, Fred Noonan (AP Photo, File)

Tracy Grimm, the Barron Hilton archivist for Flight and Space Exploration in Purdue’s Archives and Special Collections explained that during Earhart’s time, aviators were considered heroes because, due to the dangers of aviation, they were risking their lives.

“Defying gender roles, Amelia Earhart built an unorthodox career in a man’s world, earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, was a compelling force for women’s rights and consistently made the Most Admired and Best Dressed women lists, a complex combination that allowed her to have a real and lasting impact,” wrote Cochrane in the Huffington Post piece.

More info: http://collections.lib.purdue.edu/flight-and-space/

Amelia Earhart waves from the Electra (AP Photo, file)
Amelia Earhart waves from the Electra (AP Photo, file)