Announcing cornishmemory.com – a new resource for Cornwall’s audio-visual heritage

cornishmemory.com logoSince November 2014 some of my time has been spent working with Azook CIC,  a “not-for-profit social enterprise dedicated to growing cultural confidence amongst Cornish communities by connecting people with their cultural heritage”. Initially working on the MemoryFish project looking at fishing heritage in Cornwall, I began to help them rebuild cornishmemory.com so that it would have capacity to display tens of thousands of historic photos, films and audio recordings from around Cornwall. Many of these items have been digitised from private and pubic collections with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of Azook’s Re:collect project.

The new version of cornishmemory.com is built using an open source platform called Omeka, which is designed for “scholars, museums, libraries, archives, and enthusiasts”.  I customised it for their needs and populated it with over 31,000 items, assisted by many open source tools along the way, such as LibreOffice and OpenRefine.

There are lots of improvements and additional functionality planned for 2016 (Creative Commons licensing, metadata enhancement, temporal searching, Google site search, more content, etc).

Visit cornishmemory.com if you are interested in any aspect of the the history of Cornwall.

Digitisation Studio

I’ve always enjoyed digitising things – 3D scanning, 2D scanning, extracting scratchy audio from 1/4″ reel-to-reel tape, resurrecting a Betamax machine to transfer long-forgotten clips into modern archivable digital formals, turned oral history recordings on cassette into mp3, you name it. I have scanned and catalogued more photos than I can count.

Finally, I now have the space for my own digitisation studio, which I have begun to construct. It currently consists of a sturdy copy stand with LED lighting, Canon DSLR, Epson scanner, and a decent TEAC cassette deck. There is a trusty Mac sitting at the centre of it for control, capture and editing, as well as a Soundcraft mixing desk for audio input. Coming soon is a turntable (with 78rpm stylus) and an ex-studio VHS machine. On the wish list is a Betamax player.

The copy stand, as well as useful for capturing larger and more fragile items, also allows for me to have a Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) rig set up for the surface capture of small artefacts. My recent FTTP (direct fibre-optic) internet connection allows for fast transfer of very large digital files quickly.

More details soon on my full capabilities.