Specialist digitisation

The process

Our team are highly trained in imaging rare and fragile material in our digitisation studio, which is located on-site here at Kew. We specialise in capturing high volumes of digital images, and can digitise a wide range of materials including large-scale documents, such as maps.

We output images in a variety of formats, and onto many types of media to suit individual requirements. At each stage in the image capture process we provide stringent quality assurance, checking that images meet the required standards.

We digitise the following formats:

  • bound volumes
  • manuscripts
  • rolls and parchments
  • newspapers
  • maps, plans and technical drawings
  • photographs
  • blueprints
  • oversized material (A0+)
  • negatives and glass plates
  • transparencies

Safe handling and storage

We understand that fragile and precious records require a high level of care and it is important that they are returned to you in the same condition. We use specialist book rests, cradles and weights to prevent damage to original items. All records are stored and copied in a secure environment by experienced operators, using digitisation equipment approved by our conservators, to minimise the risk of document damage.

Quality assurance

Quality assurance is a crucial stage in the digitisation process. It enables us to deliver projects with the confidence that images have been precisely captured, thoroughly checked, and are the best possible surrogate of the original material. Following imaging, our dedicated team of quality assurance technicians perform 100% checks against the original material. Following digitisation, images are checked for:

  • legibility
  • material completion
  • file size
  • image position
  • numbering
  • folder structure
  • naming
  • metadata accuracy
  • missing or duplicate images

Additional services

We also offer archive cataloguing and metadata preparation. Metadata can range from basic information, such as the date of digitisation and image number to complex embedded content. The ability to translate data and information from a digital document into searchable text transforms the onward use of the record.

We work with a network of trusted partners to offer manual transcription, optical character recognition (OCR) and various redaction services, as appropriate.