Below are some examples of OFC projects that have been fully documented within this web site:
A. Letters: Around 1900 letters and cards were scanned and a subset retained in physical form.
B. Mementos: Around 1500 mementos were digitised, of which about 350 were retained in physical form. The work mementos were made into a 72 page book produced by the Snapfish service.
C. Books: Around 180 paperback and hardback books were digitised by cutting them from their spines and putting them through a scanner sheet feeder. The digitised books were transferred into an iPad where they were displayed in the Sidebooks app.
D. T-Shirts: Ten T-shirts with logos and pictures of relevance to the owner, were photographed in various settings. The photos were used to make a climate change collage. The logos and pictures were cut-out of the T-Shirts and assembled together in a frame.
E. Music: a complete collection of music and recorded conversation originating in various formats, was digitised and transferred to an iPhone. An Amazon Echo ‘Alexa’ product was installed and a subscription taken out to Amazon music. All the albums with their covers and contents, and an indication if they were available via Alexa, were printed out and hand-bound into a hardcopy book.
F. Photos: Over 18,000 family photos spanning 130 years were digitised, given meaningful file titles, and indexed. The hardcopy photos were placed into albums.
G. Posters: About 80 posters and paintings were photographed. Some of the posters were stored in the back of a large frame so that they could be displayed in rotation. The first display in the frame was a collage of journal covers with a surround made up of thumbnails of all the posters and paintings.
H. Household Files: Over 9,000 household documents, both hardcopy and in emails, were sorted and reorganised. Some paper items were digitised.
I. Loft contents: The contents of the loft were sorted and many items discarded. The remainder were photographed, allocated a unique number, and placed in a numbered position in the loft. All this information was recorded in a database, so that the contents of the loft could be viewed without actually going up there.
Each of the above projects is described in more detail below using the activities defined in the model in unit 4.2.
A. Letter Keeping
Define what & why: Entire collection of most letters received over a 50 year period. Saved for reference and sentimental reasons.
Plan: Sort in date order by sender. Scan and keep only a subset in physical form.
Sort & organise: 1900 letters and cards from 145 people were sorted over a 10 week period.
Digitise: All letters from a single person/couple were scanned together into a single PDF file – or into several PDFs if there were a lot. File titles of the following form were specified: date range, Name of sender, type of relationship or key information contained. This structure enables single letters to be filed as they arrive.
Store: An overall ‘People’ folder was created containing a single folder for each correspondent into which the individual files were placed. Physical letters that were retained were stored in display folders in alphabetical correspondent order, which were placed in a cupboard.
Use: The letters are accessed for reference and to refresh memories.
Exploit: A subset of the letters were downloaded to the Sidebooks iPad app via Dropbox, where they now reside in a Letters folder.
Maintain: The People folder is backed up to a cloud service, and also periodically backed up to an external hard disk. A Digital Preservation project will be undertaken on the collection in the future in order to produce a Digital Preservation Maintenance Plan.
B. Memento Management
Define what & why: Contents of 30+ folders in which sundry documents were placed and stored in boxes in the loft. Saved for reference and interest.
Plan: Discard uninteresting items. Log the rest in an index and digitise them. Keep the physical version of a subset of the items.
Sort & organise: Separated into two groups – work-related & pre-marriage mementos; and post-marriage mementos – then worked on each group in turn. Discarded unwanted items and put the remainder in date order. In the work-related & pre-marriage group, 734 items were sorted of which 300 were discarded. In the post-marriage group, 575 items remained after unwanted items were discarded.
Digitise: Two Indexes with the same structure were created in Excel spreadsheets – one for each group. An entry was created in one or other of the Indexes for each item in turn, after which it was either scanned to PDF, or, if it was too big for the scanner, photographed to JPG. The files were given titles containing the unique number allocated in the index followed by a short description then the date of publication of the item.
Store: Each group of memento files were stored in a separate single level folder. 133 work items and 220 post-marriage items were retained in physical form and stored in display folders which were placed in a cupboard.
Use: The mementos are accessed for reference and to enjoy with family and friends
Exploit: A 72 page, 8x11in, book was produced of various work mementos including offer letters, leaving cards, example payslips, major achievements, and retirement messages. The book was created in the Snapfish web site and printed and delivered by Snapfish in about a week at a cost of just under £40. A subset of all the mementos were downloaded to the Sidebooks iPad app via Dropbox, where they now reside in various folders.
Maintain: The memento folders are backed up to a cloud service, and also periodically backed up to an external hard disk. The work-related & pre-marriage memento collection was subjected to a Digital Preservation exercise in which some files were converted to PDF/A-1b format, and a Preservation Maintenance Plan was produced. A similar exercise will be performed on the post-marriage group in the future in order to produce a Digital Preservation Maintenance Plan.
C. Electronic Bookshelf
Define what & why: Personal collections of paperbacks, university books, and technical work-related books. Saved for reference and because they represent my professional position and capabilities.
Plan: Photograph the books on their shelves and produce posters from the photos. Scan the books. Attempt to find a system whereby you can select a book on the posters and have the text appear on screen.
Sort & organise: All books containing a contribution from the owner, and a few other special books, were separated out and retained in their physical form. Each of the three sets of books – paperbacks, university, technical work – were arranged in appropriate order on their shelves.
Digitise: Each set of books was photographed on their shelves. The books were then cut from their spines and scanned through the sheet feeder. The covers were scanned separately, and those too big for the scanner (including dust jackets) were photographed. The text and the jackets were brought together in a single PDF into which named bookmarks were placed at the start of every chapter. 111 paperbacks were dealt with over a 7 week period; and then, after having gained the experience with the paperbacks, the 75 hardbacks were dealt with over a 10 day period. All hardcopy pages were thrown away apart from the covers and the publisher pages which were retained to prove ownership in case copyright issues arise. No economically viable system was found to automate the link between selecting a book on a poster and opening the book on the laptop.
Store: The digital files were placed in one single level folder in the laptop. The physical dust jackets and publisher pages were stored in the loft in an old portable computer bag.
Use: The digital books are accessed for reference or to re-read.
Exploit: Four sizes of posters were printed using the Snapfish service from the photos of the books on shelves – 40x30cm (full size), 30x20cm, 18x12cm, and 15x10cm. These were placed on various walls in the study to see which size worked best. Eventually the second biggest size was selected and was placed in a frame and hung on the wall in front of the study desk. The third biggest size was placed on white paper and put underneath the plastic transparent desk mat on which my mouse and keyboard sit; and the smallest size was put into a 20x16in frame and given to my son and his wife for the library area in their new home. All the digitised books were also shipped to an iPad app called Sidebooks via Dropbox; and were stored there in one of three sections – Paperbacks, University Books, and Work Books.
Maintain: The Books folder is backed up to a cloud service, and also periodically backed up to an external hard disk. A Digital Preservation project will be undertaken on the collection in the future in order to produce a Digital Preservation Maintenance Plan.
D. T-Shirt Transmigration
Define what & why: Collection of 11 T-shirts with logos, pictures or words on them. Saved because they were reminders of past events, activities, organisations, or people.
Plan: Photograph the T-shirts in four ways – as images in their own right; as evidence that I was somewhere or was doing something; as reminders of the purpose they were created for; and as illustrations of the feelings I had for the purpose they were created for. Create a collage about climate change from the photos and the T-Shirts. Create a collage of the logos, pictures or words that have been cut out from the T-Shirts.
Sort & organise: No sorting was required – all 10 of the different T-Shirts were used and the one duplicate was discarded.
Digitise: Each T-Shirt was photographed in the four ways envisaged – as images just laying on the floor; with me wearing them indicating evidence of my involvement with them in some way; with various related artefacts on and around them to act as reminders of what was associated with the T-Shirts, and hung on a frame with a cardboard cutout head painted in a way that represents the feelings I have about whatever is represented by each T-Shirt. The individual logos, pictures or words were then cut out from the T-Shirts and photographed in their own right.
Store: All the T-Shirt pictures were stored in the T-Shirt Transmigration folder in the laptop. The physical logos, pictures or words cut out from the T-Shirts are stored as a collage in the large picture frame used for rotating pictures and posters (see Exploit)
Use: The collage of physical logos, pictures or words cut out from the T-Shirts is used to refresh memories of the event or person represented (see Exploit).
Exploit: The individual logos, pictures or words cut from the T-Shirts were assembled together in a large collage. The four sets of photos were used to construct a collage about climate change.
Maintain: The T-Shirt Transmigration folder is backed up to a cloud service, and also periodically backed up to an external hard disk. A Digital Preservation project will be undertaken on the collection in the future in order to produce a Digital Preservation Maintenance Plan.
E. Music Management
Define what & why: Entire collection of music, recorded conversations, and spoken word publications on tapes, LPs, 45s, CDs and MP3s. Saved for the pleasure of listening to or because they record a unique moment in time.
Plan: Digitise all items and obtain a digital cover for each album.
Sort & organise: The first tranche of work was undertaken in 2008. LPs that were not replaced with CDs were set aside for digitisation. All reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, 45s, and CDs in the study, were also assembled in separate groups. Some particular LPs, and all singles, were also selected from parents collection. The second tranche of work in which all the remaining household CDs were assembled and sorted into alphabetical artist order, was undertaken in 2017.
Digitise: In the first tranche of work, reel to reel tapes were digitised, for a fee, by an ex-BBC sound engineer who was a friend of a friend. LPs and 45s were digitised using a Numark TTUSB turntable and the Audacity software. Cassette tapes were digitised in the same way by playing them on an old ghetto blaster cassette player plugged into the Numark turntable. A single file was created for each track, amounting to about 4,500 files. Cover art for each album was either downloaded from the net, or acquired locally by photographing an existing cover or by creating a cover in Powerpoint. The second tranche of digitising about 80 CDs took place in 2017 using the Windows media player RIP feature. For each of these items the ‘Details’ tab of the file properties was ensured to be filled in correctly with Track Title, Artist Name, Supporting Artists, Album Name, Year, and Genre; and cover art was downloaded from the net or scanned from the CD covers.
Store: The track files for both tranches of work were stored in the My Music section of the Windows laptop in folders for each artist containing sub-folders for each album. There are about 135 artist folders, some 280 album folders, and approximately 5,600 tracks taking up about 22Gb. The physical tapes, LPs, Singles, and CDs are stored in the loft to prove ownership in case copyright issues arise.
Use: The music was played as required through the laptop and also through the house TV via a Wi-Fi connection.
Exploit: Much of the collection was originally stored in an Apple iPod and played on a shuffle basis. More recently it was stored on an iPhone and played as and when required. In 2017, the cover art for every album, together with the track listing underneath, was included in a word-processed document. The document also included albums we used to a have but haven’t any more; and also items picked out from listening to samples in Amazon of albums that appeared in a regular newspaper review. In the document, each album is colour coded to indicate whether it can be played from Amazon’s music library (to which we subscribe) via Amazon’s Echo (Alexa) product; or whether it has to be played through Alexa from the iPhone. The book was printed and hand bound as a hardcopy book; and a cover was created in Powerpoint and reproduced by printing on an extended length of wallpaper lining paper.
Maintain: The My Music folder is backed up to a cloud service, and also periodically backed up to an external hard disk. A Digital Preservation project will be undertaken on the collection in the future in order to produce a Digital Preservation Maintenance Plan.
F. Organising Family Photos
Define what & why: Four entire collections of photos, slides, cine film and video have been dealt with using the same approach: husband’s pre-marriage photos; wife’s pre-marriage photos; couple’s post-marriage photos; and husband’s parent’s photos. Saved for reference and sentiment, and to pass on down the family.
Plan: Create a single digital index for all the photos, including new additions. Deal with the collections in the following order: husband’s pre-marriage; couple’s post-marriage; wife’s pre-marriage; and husband’s parents. Digitise all photos and store all physical photos in physical albums.
Sort & organise: Sorting was undertaken at the following times: husband’s pre-marriage material started in 1978 and was completed in approximately 1994; couple’s post-marriage material started in about 1995 and was completed around 2011; wife’s pre-marriage material was undertaken in 2011; and husband’s parents material started in 2012 and was completed in 2016 (some audio recordings were also made of the mother talking about the photos in the course of them being sorted). Physical photos for each collection were sorted into sets (ie. photographed on a single roll of film) and the sets were sorted by date.
Digitise: A digital Index of the sets of photos (not each photo within a set) was created in Microsoft Excel. Each set was allocated a unique number in the Index and this number was used to generate a unique number for each digital photo. For example, in the set numbered 1347 containing 20 photos, the first photo was numbered 1347-01, the second 1347-02, the third 1347-03, and the twentieth 1347-20. Audio recordings of the mother talking about some of the photos were made using the ClearRecord Lite app on the iPhone. Physical photos and slides were initially scanned to TIFF using an HP 5690 scanner using HP scanning software but this was found to produce file sizes which were too large. They were subsequently scanned to JPG at 600dpi. The scanner was replaced by a Canon DR-2020U during the period when the husband’s parents material was being scanned. Cine film and VHF-Video was first converted to DVDs using a specialist service; and then converted to MP4 using Windows MovieMaker and DVDVideosoft’s Freestudio software. Each file produced from all these digitisation processes was given a title in the following format: Unique Number – description of content – earliest date of photos in the set.
Store: All still photos are stored in the My Pictures folder within a folder for the relevant set, on the Windows laptop (there are currently about 18,000 still images in the collection taking up about 50Gb). All moving image files are stored directly in the My Videos folder on the Windows laptop (there are currently about 90 moving picture files taking up about 13Gb). All physical photos are stored in 2 slot 6×4 slip-in albums (larger photos are made to fit in the albums by slitting the top of the bottom slip-in slot). A slip-in tab provides the file title for both photos on each page. All negatives, duplicate physical photos, and original slides, cine films and VHF videos, are stored in a case in the loft.
Use: Physical albums are used to look up particular people, events or places. The Windows search facility is used to search the digital file titles when looking for particular photos or types of photos.
Exploit: Two photos have been printed out as canvas prints for the walls in one of the bedrooms. Two others have been printed out as posters and placed in frames in the conservatory. All images in the My Pictures folder are displayed on a revolving basis on the laptop desktop via the Windows Slideshow Desktop Gadget.
Maintain: The My Pictures and the My Videos folders are backed up to a cloud service, and also periodically backed up to an external hard disk. A copy is also held on the other laptop in the house. The photos collection was subjected to a Digital Preservation exercise in which some files were converted to PDF/A-1b format, and a Preservation Maintenance Plan was produced.
G. Poster Management
Define what & why: All the posters, paintings and drawings in the house, some of them stored away and others on the walls. Saved because they are good to look at, or for sentimental reasons.
Plan: Digitise them all by photographing them. Include the digital files in the photos index. Create a revolving display of the posters in a large frame.
Sort & organise: About 80 items were assembled in the course of the sorting exercise.
Digitise: Each item was photographed over a two week period, included in the Photos Index, and given the standard photos file title: Unique Number – Description of Content – Earliest Date.
Store: The digital files were stored with the photo collection in the My Pictures folder. Some of the larger physical posters were stored at the back of the picture frame that was purchased to facilitate a revolving display of posters. The remaining physical items were either hanging on the walls, or stored in the loft.
Use: The digital versions are not accessed on a regular basis, but will be available should it ever be necessary to make an insurance claim. The pictures that are hung on the walls are viewed and enjoyed on a daily basis The physical folders that are stored in the back of the picture frame may be displayed from time to time as the posters are rotated through the frame.
Exploit: The Windows Screen Background facility and the Windows Screensaver facility have both been set up to revolve through all these digital items, so one or other of these pictures is usually viewed by the laptop user each day. The purchase of a frame to enable posters to be revolved through it, prompted the creation of a collage of covers from the ACM Interactions magazine (addressing Human-Computer Interaction topics) which had long been intended. The collage was the first occupant of the frame. Thumbnails of all the photos of the posters, paintings and drawings were printed out and used as a surround to this collage.
Maintain: The My Pictures folder is backed up to a cloud service, and also periodically backed up to an external hard disk. A copy is also held on the other laptop in the house. The photos collection was subjected to a Digital Preservation exercise in which some files were converted to PDF/A-1b format, and a Preservation Maintenance Plan was produced.
H. Household File Management
Define what & why: All items to do with running the household, including both physical and digital items. Saved to enable the efficient operation of the household.
Plan: Go through all the items, digitising and discarding as necessary.
Sort & organise: 9,800 documents residing in 113 files in 15 separate locations (71% were in email folders) were sorted over a 6 week period. 1980 documents were discarded (some of these will have been discarded after digitising them.
Digitise: Most documents were scanned to PDF and given file titles in the format: Date – Substantive Information. Other documents such as instruction manuals and recipes were not digitised.
Store: Household digital files are stored in various folders on the laptop. Most of the physical files are stored in a chest. Others physical items are stored in the kitchen, study and shed.
Use: Accessed in the course of conducting household business.
Exploit: No exploitation as yet.
Maintain: The household folders are backed up to a cloud service, and also periodically backed up to an external hard disk. A Digital Preservation project will be undertaken on the collection in the future in order to produce a Digital Preservation Maintenance Plan.
I. Loft Management
Define what & why: All the contents of the loft. Saved for a variety of reasons including possible future use and sentiment.
Plan: Obtain an RFID system and place an RFID tag on each item. Create a database of all the items in the loft and synchronise it with the RFID system.
Sort & organise: The loft was first sorted in 2004 during which many items were discarded and about 250 items were retained. About a further 90 items were added over the following 11 years. Several more items were discarded in the move to a new house in 2015. In 2016, a new loft system was initiated with about 95 items. In the Specification document for both the old system and the new system, Containers and Loft Positions were also defined and given unique numbers.
Digitise: In 2004, no RFID system that was cheap enough could be found, so a filemaker database was set up to allocate a unique number to each item and to record a photo and a description of each item. Changes and additions to the contents of the loft were managed in this database. In 2016, when a loft system was being established in a new house, the UGrokIT system was found to be almost, but not quite cheap enough. However, the UgrokIT iPhone app was free, so it was adopted to replace the Filemaker database in lieu of the UGrokIT RFID reader coming down in price.
Store: All items, containers, and positions are now documented in the UgrokIT database along with their photograph (taken on the iPhone from within the UGrokIT app). The physical items, containers, and positions all reside in the loft.
Use: The loft database is referred to when a) trying to find out what is in the loft; b) when trying to find if a particular item is in the loft; and c) when trying to add, change or remove an item to/from the loft. The loft itself is accessed when wanting to access an item in the loft or when placing new items in the loft.
Exploit: In the original loft system in the previous house, the database entries, including photos and descriptions, for all items were printed out, 8 to a page, and assembled in a display booklet for the family to use.
Maintain: A copy of the UGrokIT database is maintained in the UGrokIT cloud. The iPhone version of the database is backed up periodically in iTunes. A Digital Preservation project will be undertaken on the collection in the future in order to produce a Digital Preservation Maintenance Plan.