Digitising History

Have you ever worried that your old letters, certificates, photographs, maps and diaries are getting damaged whenever you handle them?  You want to share them with the family, give everyone the opportunity to connect with long-gone relatives, but you can see creases gradually turning into tears. And what about those framed photographs hanging on the walls?  They are fading in the light, changing gradually, getting irrevocably damaged.  The best way to keep all these treasures safe, is to make copies: this allows you to store the originals out of harm’s way, while the copies can be handled and displayed. With a digital copy you can even print off as many duplicates as you like, as often as you need them.

We have been copying our records in order to protect them for a long time, and I’m pleased to say that we’ve opened up our copying service to everyone, from individuals to heritage organisations: we can now digitise your history for you.

Digitising history image

Our experienced staff, using the same equipment they use for all the historic records we hold, are able to digitise:

  • diaries, journals and other bound volumes
  • letters, certificates and other documents
  • photographs
  • maps and plans
  • drawings, watercolours and prints

What are the advantages of trusting Derbyshire Record Office with your family’s history?

  • We have a state of the art digitisation system, including a book cradle for safely copying bound volumes.
  • Our staff are highly trained in handling delicate historic records.
  • Whilst in our care, you records will be kept safe in one of our secure archive stores.
  • We provide high quality images of at least 300 pixels per inch (ppi).
  • We give you the choice between TIFF files, which have a very high resolution but take up a lot of space and can be slow to open, or Jpegs, which have a smaller resolution, but take up a lot less space.
  • We put the images on a CD for you for free, or for a small charge on a USB stick

To ask for a quote, simply fill in a Digitising History quote request form on our website.

 

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Florence Nightingale letters now online

Derbyshire Record Office is among seven new contributors to the Florence Nightingale Digital Collaborative Database, a project run by the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University, Massachusetts.

We hold a small but very rich series of letters from Nightingale to a surgeon named Christopher Dunn, of Crich, on a wide variety of topics. The correspondence has been mentioned in past blog posts, and we are not averse to blowing the same trumpet now – especially as the new site lets you see the whole lot and even browse their contents by subject.  Just as an example: I have looked at these letters numerous times and never noticed that there are five references to a proposed coffee shop in Whatstandwell.  Here’s how to re-trace my steps, should you wish to dip your toe in the water:

  1. Go to www.bu.edu/florencenightingale
  2. Click “search the collaborative database”
  3. Under “choose a collection”, click Derbyshire Record Office.
  4. Click “search”. You don’t need to use a keyword first, although you can if you prefer of course
  5. Click “subjects”
  6. Click “Whatstandwell coffee house”
  7. Choose a letter. Read it!

CoffeeHouseEasy as that!

Today’s press release by the project organisers tells us there are currently 2,200 items on the database – this number continues to go up. Other contributors include the Wellcome Library and the Royal College of Nursing in the UK, and the Countway Center for the History of Medicine and the University of Illinois in the US.

New Digitisation Project – School Records

We are very pleased to be able to soon be having our school admission registers and log books digitised as part in a national project which will ultimately make the digital versions available via the Find My Past website.

D5545 3 1 p1

Cresswell Log Book, D5545/3/1

The project, organised by the Archives and Records Association on behalf of archive and record offices across the country, is specifically looking at school records from 1914 and earlier, and will continue over a ten-year period. We are quite fortunate that the school records here at Derbyshire will be amongst the first to be digitised. Continue reading