The Historians’ Digital Archive

At the January 27th Historians’ meeting a new digital archive will be made available and a demonstration will be given on how to use it. This will be accessible from a password protected computer kept within the Archive room.

The main function of this archive is twofold:

Firstly to make available in digital format all of the documents and photographs that have been collected from various other archives, such as the Lichfield Record Office, Stafford Record Office, Keele University Library, Senate House London Library and Barbados Museum and internet downloads that were used in the research for the more recent publications: ‘The Lane Inheritance – Kings Bromley and Barbados’, ‘The Scandalous Divorce of John  Newton’, ‘A Portrait of Ernald Lane, and ‘Agnes the Little Queen of Kings Bromley’, as well as for the exhibitions – ‘Kings Bromley during WW1’ and ‘The Evacuees in WW2’.

Secondly to make available the over 3000 negatives and slides that have been recently scanned and stored digitally.

The digital archive currently occupies 58Gbytes of storage and contains 17,182 files in 845 folders. There are 1,182 documents held as read-only pdf files, the rest are images.

The secondary function of the archive is to provide a means in which all of the documents and images currently stored in the paper archive can be accessed in digital form in a logical ‘Explorer’ file structure. The process of creating this is well under way. Clearly, documents within the paper archive will normally only be ‘digitised’ in the sense of photographed or scanned; we do not have the technology to transcribe documents.

The top level folder is \Historians’ Archive\ which contains 17 sub folders.

If a researcher wishes to find out all we know about Cecil Lane, for instance, she would work down through the folders: \Lane Family\Lanes of Kings Bromley\Third Generation of Lanes of KB\Cecil Lane. Within this folder she will find 103 files relating to Cecil Lane. If a researcher wishes to find all of the images of the Alrewas Road currently scanned in for instance she would work down through the folders: \K.B.Village Street by Street\ Alrewas Road. Within this folder she will find 265 images. If a researcher wishes to access information on, and images of, the church then within the folder \All Saints Church\ she will find 1,129 files. Alternatively the search facility can be used.

Over time all of the documents and photographs and maps held in the paper file will be scanned or photographed and copies will be held in the digital archive. The opposite is not true. The task of making paper copies of all the digital files is too immense and expensive. However, exceptions can be made, for instance the ‘Lane Pedigree’, photographed at Moseley Old Hall, is being made into a book - just because it is beautiful.

The Archive computer will not be internet connected. Since copies of files may be made onto a USB stick, the Historians at the January meeting need to determine a policy on copying.  All of our publications are currently held in the archive as pdfs, and we currently charge for the paper versions.

Two backup copies of the digital archive (which will also contain .doc or .docx versions of the .pdfs where they exist) will be kept offsite.

Allan Howard