In order to address physical storage capacity issues and as a step towards making the hard-copy content of the Historic Environment Record (HER) available on-line - supplementing the digital data that are already available - Bedford Borough Council commissioned the scanning of the paper files, photos and plans that comprise a substantial proportion of the HER.
The project included the scanning of approximately 90 archive storage boxes containing paper HER Monument records and oblique aerial photographs, 9 archive storage boxes containing c400 Event reports in the process of being added into the HER, c1,000 plans of A3 size and upwards, Conservation Area files, Parish Survey files, c1,600 Historic Buildings and Buildings at Risk photographs and c7,500 slide photographs. In all some 13,000 images were scanned. Historic vertical aerial photographs from the 1940’s through to 1996 were also scanned and geo-referenced in order to enable viewing within GIS software.
All scans were of archival quality, documents were scanned as PDF/As using OCR, so as to make them searchable.
The scanned images and documents were linked to HBSMR records using our LibraryLink package. Links were created at the database level by exeGesIS, thereby avoiding a very drawn out manual process. This approach was made possible by adherance to a strict file/folder naming convention on the part of the scanning contractor. It has enabled available documents and images associated with a particular record to be displayed on screen at the touch of a button.
Further information from Crispin Flower.