Images in Heritage and Culture – London 2008 -


Images in Heritage and Culture – London 2008

Tuesday November 11th, 2008 by Richard Bamford

At this years ‘Images in Heritage & Culture’ event we were joined by about 40 or so customers at The Imperial War Museum in London, for a one day seminar on the use and application of digital asset management (DAM) systems.

The Imperial War Museum was an excellent venue for the seminar not only because they also are a customer but because of the amazing content they have there with both an extensive image and sound library.

This year’s guest speakers were Colin White, Head of Photography from The National Gallery in London, Dave Kilbey from TASI and finally Keith Bloor, Museum Manager from Stoke-on-Trent Museums.

Today the majority of cultural organizations possess masses of content. These files can exist in different file types and on different volumes and network shares. The content itself can be as part of an already established photographic image collection (managed with folders and sub folders) or as random files scattered in different locations.

Content also exists in analogue collections of pre-digital content in the form of a legacy slide collections (35mm film, 5” x 4” negatives, transparencies, glass slides, prints and drawings Etc.) These are typically items that need to be digitized ‘on demand’ or at some future point where the metadata (the information relating to the content) is stored in some other database, text record or on ‘Rolodex’ system. One often un-noticed feature to Portfolio is that it’s able to create digital placeholders for analogue files that have yet to be scanned. In this way it’s possible to import information, keywords, descriptions Etc for items that aren’t yet digital. The beauty then is that digital and non-digital files can be found in the same search and so digitization projects can benefit from proper direction.

With all of this content the value of it and the associated metadata may not be fully realized or appreciated. Sometimes the metadata about the files themselves can be hugely important. Here at Extensis we’ve worked with heritage and cultural organizations who had very low resolution digital files that didn’t have much value but the associated metadata was irreplaceable.

Both Keith Bloor and Colin White went on to describe their own organizations transition from analogue to digital and shared a few tips and tricks with those in the audience. Both the The Potteries Museum and The National Gallery have been digital for a number of years and so the speaker’s presentations were of huge interest and value, not only to those people attending from organizations just starting off in their digitization projects, but also for those customers who had been digital for a similar length of time. The point here is that whilst no too organizations typically share identical workflows or same set of reference. There often remains sufficient similarities of workflow process (best practice) that can be shared.

Next year we’ll be holding the event in Cambridge, UK. For those interested in attending not only this event but others too you can find the events listed at