Newspaper keen to digitally archive all old photos

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A vast archive of newspaper photos could be archived in digital form soon.

A newspaper is hoping that it will be able to build up a digital reference library consisting of thousands of photographs by attracting funding from the National Lottery.

Wolverhampton’s Express & Star is currently storing more than 750,000 images that date back as far as the 1880s in a library, but it is concerned about the deterioration of some of them and the fact that they would be lost forever should an incident such as a fire or flood occur.

Some of the pictures are of local events such as carnival parades and people working, while others are of more far-reaching occurrences such as soldiers going off to fight in both world wars.

However, they will all be of interest to social historians and the newspaper wants to apply for Heritage Lottery Fund money that would allow them all to be scanned, converted into a digital format and preserved with their captions intact.

Wolverhampton University and Wolverhampton Museums and Archives are supporting the project, which would mean people all over the world would be able to view the Express & Star’s pictures for free.

"The Express & Star’s bid for money to preserve its photo archive is a major step towards ensuring this priceless collection is available for future generations," said editorial executive at Midland News Association Tom Graham.

It is not the only time in recent weeks that document scanning solutions have hit the headlines. It was recently revealed that the charity Barnardo’s is planning to create digital copies of the 500,000 images of the children that it has helped, some of which date back to the originals that Dr Thomas Bardardo took when he first came to London and decided to help poverty-stricken children.

This will eliminate the problem of having to store scores of boxes, as well as the possibility of them being ruined.

You can turn almost any document into digital form for future posterity – if you have anything you’re keen to archive, just give Dajon Data Management a call for a bespoke solution.

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