Looking Ahead – Our 2024 Project Preview

A photograph of a highly decorative manuscript with art of flowers, insects, and birds
Esther Inglis Manuscript – Photo by Anna Pike, Project Curator

I began working with the Cultural Heritage Digitisation Services team last November, as a Digitisation Operator. Before joining the team, I was digitising plant specimens in the Herbarium of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. I am also a photographer, with my work most recently appearing in the Accidentally Wes Anderson exhibition which opened in London December 2023.  

2024 is shaping up to be an exciting year, with several projects in the works. Some of these have been in the planning stages for a long time, and we really couldn’t be more eager to finally get started. With that in mind, we thought it might be fun to provide a ‘movie trailer’ of sorts, with a short preview of each project we plan to tackle in 2024: 

The top section of the front page of an issue of the newspaper "the witness", yellowed with age, the title is centre top and the rest of the image is filled with articles in very small writing.

Our plans to digitise The Witness newspapers were initially delayed due to unforeseeable circumstances, however, we are delighted to say that the volumes are now prepped and ready for delivery to Autodocs. Additionally, our new Goobi workflow which links to the Alma catalogue record is ready to go! You can read more about the project here: https://libraryblogs.is.ed.ac.uk/diu/2022/12/14/digital-witness/  

We will shortly have completed all 294 of Sir Charles Lyell’s notebooks, but this doesn’t mean the project is complete – the team are already starting on the wealth of his correspondence material, containing letters from the illustrious and learned such as Darwin, John Murray & Alfred Russel Wallace. We even hope to use some of his geology specimens to trial our 3D workflow which is currently being developed and will use the new Rigster Arago automated Photogrammetry rig located in our very own MakerSpace!  (https://www.ucreatestudio.is.ed.ac.uk/).  

Also coming our way very soon are the Lothian Health Service Archive AIDS Memorial Quilts – 10 large format, photographically complex textiles. You can find out more about these wonderful items here! 

Finally, The University of Edinburgh Library is lucky enough to hold some manuscripts of Esther Inglis and several of them are to be delivered to the CHDS team for digitisation in the coming weeks. As they are small and fragile, these items will require our team’s specialist skills and equipment. 

 And this is just for the beginning of the year — many more exciting things in the pipeline! 

It’s been a privilege to join such a passionate, experienced group of professionals, and with a project lineup like this, it’s hard not to feel excited about my work each day! I look forward to reporting back with our progress, interesting information and images, as well as any fun discoveries I make over the course of the year. 

Marian Conlan, Digitisation Operator  

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