Digital Collections

Preserving Local History Update (October 4, 2013)

The last three weeks have been exciting and enlightening for our team.  We’ve started the process of photographing some of CPUMC’s documents.  A big part of the process is setting up the tripod and camera that we’re using and making sure that it’s square so that it will be easier to crop and manipulate later. We have chosen several items to be photographed based on the requests of the staff at CPUMC and based on our own interests/curiosities, and they have proven to be perfect for our tests.  There are a variety of documents and photographs, and even some of the church’s building plans.  All of these items have to be treated with great care and need to be squared in the camera so that cropping them will be easier to do later on.  We have a chart on which Stephen is recording how long it takes us to record each item, the type of camera we’re using, and notes on what we’re liking about our process or what might make the process more efficient.  One of the bigger challenges that we are facing is with the larger items.  As you can see in the pictures here, the architectural elevations are oversize, and instead of laying them on the table, as we do with our small materials, we have devised a system for hanging the large items on a bulletin board and taking the pictures that way.  It was rough at first, but we finally have it figured out.

The reason that we’re so careful to record everything is that eventually we are going to create a best practices manual for groups that choose to participate in the project, which will give them advice and instructions on how to best preserve and record things of value.  The idea is to make the process as simple and inexpensive as possible for these groups, which is part of why we are testing several different models of cameras.  Right now we’re working with the small Sony camera, which has been great – there is a grid and an excellent auto-focus feature on this camera.  Later we’ll be testing other types, including an iPhone camera and a professional model.  All of this is in an effort to preserve their materials, and to hopefully create an easy way for groups to preserve as much as possible in order to make the materials accessible to everyone that the groups choose to share it with.
 This is promising to be an exciting project – keep watching for more details!

-Rachel Sanders-

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