Developing Your Digital Skills: Digitisation Webinar Series

The Community Archives and Heritage Group Scotland Network and Scottish Council on Archives created the Developing Your Digital Skills: Digitisation webinar series. This webinar was a result of the coronavirus pandemic and peoples wish to continue developing their digital skills regarding their community archive. The topics that we explored in the webinar series were the result of a survey conducted with our audience.

The series began with an Introduction to Digitisation. This was then followed each week with a webinar dedicated to practical advice on how to digitise diverse types of archival material, such as; documents and photographs, sound and moving image and 3D objects. We also considered GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and data protection, cataloguing your digital files, and the long-term care of your digital files.

The free webinars ran every Thursday lunchtime from the 29th April 2021 and these 40-minute sessions offered practical advice to anyone working or volunteering in community archives and heritage groups. Each week the webinar began with a presentation from an archivist or expert speaker, followed by a Q&A session.

These webinars aimed to equip attendees with the knowledge and skills to:

  • Digitise their archive collections.
  • Increase visibility of their digital collections.
  • Strategically promote their digital collections and optimise their collection for discovery via Google and other search tools.
  • Increase their engagement with their local community and beyond.

Session One: Introduction to Digitisation

29th April 2021

Presenter: Sean Rippington – Digital Archivist and Copyright Manager at University of St Andrews

Digitisation can be extremely useful for building up an image bank, which can then be used for a variety of purposes such as; exhibitions, websites, social media or posters. Digitisation can be used to increase access, which can be especially useful if you are establishing a community website. It is important to think about the copyright and data protection before you begin with digitisation.

Session Two: Digitisation of Documents and Photographs

6th May 2021

Presenter: Paula Larkin – Project Archivist at Govanhill Baths and Spirit of Revolt – Archives of Dissent.

This presentation will focus on the digitisation of document and photographic collections. In this case, digitisation involves copying a physical item, converting it to a digital image and saving the image as a digital file. The image can then be stored and used to create further copies for different purposes, including public access. Learn about equipment and top tips for capturing the best image of your object.

Session Three: Digitisation of Sound & Film Collections

13th May 2021

Presenter: Maya Darrell Hewins – PhD candidate with the University of the Highlands and Islands based on Shetland.

This presentation covers the digitisation of sound and moving images, oral histories, music, and films. The nature of audio-visual archives makes them prone to physical decay, format obsolescence, or both, at some point. Learn about the best practice and highest standards of transfer, what equipment is needed and the importance of documentation.

Session Four: An introduction to 3D Digitisation.

20th May 2021

Presenter:  Frederick Alexander – Digital Archivist on the Historic Environment of Scotland’s Rock Art Project.

This presentation will introduce using 3D modelling to digitise your collections. New technologies allow us to digitise and view our collections in exciting and different ways. This presentation will focus on 3D photogrammetry, what it is, and how it can be applied to your collections. The technology can be applied to any 3D object, such as, books, trophies, ceramics etc., often found in community archive heritage collections. Frederick will demonstrate how 3D modelling has been used during Scotland’s Rock Art Project, the first major research project focusing on prehistoric rock art in Scotland.

Session Five: Cataloguing a Digital Collection.

27th May 2021

Presenting: Ruth Brown – Project Manager at The Chapter House Museum Trust & Dunkeld Community Archive.

Why is it important to catalogue our digitised files and what are the benefits of having your collections online? Find out how to catalogue your digitised collections and make them visible online. Digital images can be made available for use by researchers and to engage new audiences from further afield. Sharing images on the internet means that they can be accessed from anywhere in the world, which increases awareness of your collections. You can put images on your own website, attach them to emails, post them to social media accounts or print them in your magazine or newsletter. Capturing the right descriptive data from a digitised document makes finding relevant content much easier and helps maximise research efficiency.

Session Six: Digital Engagement and Outreach

3rd June 2021

Presenter: Lorna Steele – Community Engagement Officer, Highland Archive Service, High Life Highland.

In response to national Covid lockdown in March 2020, the Highland Archive Service decided to promote their collections to a global audience through a series of weekly films delivered by Community Engagement Officer, Lorna Steele, under the banner ‘Learn with Lorna’. Initially aimed at home schooling, the focus soon widened to include an audience diverse in age and location. To date there are 57 films which have been viewed over 160,000 times. For this talk Lorna will look at aspects of digital engagement which can be adapted for use by community archives.

Session Seven: Digital Engagement with Oral History

10th June 2021

Presenter: Jaime Valentine, founder of OurStory Scotland and current chair, Dom Miller-Graham.

Digital Outreach and Engagement with Oral History Collections – Capture Your Story. A presentation by the founder and Director of OurStory Scotland , Jaime Valentine . OurStory Scotland is a successful community history and oral history project founded in 2002 to record the histories of Scotland’s LGBT communities.This presentation will cover recording, collecting, and sharing peoples’ stories. Sharing your story fosters a community conversation and helps our histories to be as inclusive as possible.

Session Eight: Digital Sustainability of Digitised Archives

17th June 2021

Presenter: Sean Rippington Digital Archivist and Copyright Manager, University of St Andrews. Preserving your digital archive – learn how to store and back up digital files. Once you have scanned or taken the photograph of your object, transferred it to your computer, given it a catalogue number and made a note of the digital files in your catalogue, it’s essential to learn how to store and backup your digital files.