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Memento : Issue 16
14 memento january 2001 We are currently looking at new ways of sharing our collection of treasures with all Australians, wherever they are. Over the last 12 months we've been trialling different ways of digitising records in our collection. We're especially keen to find ways to make our collection more widely accessible via the Internet. To decide which digitisation methods work best for our collection, we selected a range of records and formats for our trial. These included items listed in fact sheets and guides, World War I dossiers, correspondence files created by various Commonwealth agencies, and Papua and New Guinea registers dating from the late 19th century. The methods we used for digitising these records were flatbed and overhead scanning, and conversion from microfilm to a digital form. As a result of our trials, we've decided to use a digital camera to capture records. The records will be saved as low resolution digital images that are legible on screen. This will meet the needs of most of our researchers and enable us to digitise a large number of images quickly. Attached to the digitised records will be metadata about the item from our online database, RecordSearch, as well as metadata which is automatically produced through the capture process. From January researchers can see a selection of digital records in RecordSearch and can either download a digital copy or order a photocopy. Karan Oberoi (right) demonstrates overhead scanning to visiting Pacific archivists. One of our images on PictureAustralia, showing the closing of the arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, 1932. finger NAA: A6180, 29/8/80/21 And this is just the beginning. In the future we hope that access to the nation's historical records will be no further away than people's homes, offices or local libraries, no matter where they live or work. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then PictureAustralia must be worth zillions. PictureAustralia is a website that offers a single point of access to some of Australia's largest pictorial collections, including that of the National Archives. The site, which is hosted by the National Library, also contains images from the Australian War Memorial, University of Queensland Library, National Library, and the State Libraries of New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria. PictureAustralia was launched in September last year and has been heavily used since then. In its first month, and probably boosted by the Olympics, almost 100,000 visitors Photos at your