Preserving and Digitizing Photograph Collections

Photographs are an amazing way of recalling past events, experiences and relationships. The moments captured on them can evoke high levels of interest and provide users with an intense and personal connection with the past.

For the National Archives of Fiji, ensuring Fijians have ready access to their photographic heritage is a core responsibility. A timely visit by Executive Director of Island Culture Archives Support (ICAS) Brandon Oswald allowed Archives staff an opportunity to learn more about preserving and digitizing historical photograph collections.

Mr Oswald took officers through the basic processes of photograph appraisals, identifying causes of deterioration, basic photo preservation and recovery processes in cases of disasters and the digitization of photographs.

“The principal values of photographs tend to be information that goes well beyond the purposes for which they were originally taken. But not all photographs are worth keeping.”

“A photograph is particularly valuable if it contains information not available in other formats”

He added that in assessing the informational value of photographs there are number of factors which needed to be addressed such as subject, age, uniqueness and quality.

Mr Oswald highlighted that the preservation of original photographs, safe and easy access to collections and outreach and fundraising possibilities were some of the benefits of digitization.

Archivist Esther Fesaitu of the Digital Continuity Unit said that training was a timely one as they were in the process of reviewing their digitisation processes.

“After the training, I am now able to identify areas that we needed to work on as a unit. It also made me realise that the unit was more than just digitizing and preserving photographs. I also have a clearer understanding of the policies needed for the unit.

Mr Oswald will be in the country till this Friday.

 Mr Oswald stressing on the importance of storing photographs in the right acid free envelopes             Archives staff during the training

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National Archives of Fiji
25 Carnovan Street
Box 2125
Government Buildings
Tel: 3304144
Fax: 3307006