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Dr Anna Bülow, Head of Preservation 1 October 2011, Celebrating the Census Preparing the 1911 census for digitisation.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr Anna Bülow, Head of Preservation 1 October 2011, Celebrating the Census Preparing the 1911 census for digitisation."— Presentation transcript:


2 Dr Anna Bülow, Head of Preservation 1 October 2011, Celebrating the Census Preparing the 1911 census for digitisation

3 1911 Census (RG 14) Census of England and Wales of 2 April 1911 34,998 volumes Arranged according to geographical district Approximately 8 million schedules 530 x 315 mm (bigger than A3) Written on both sides – official address on one side, details of people at that address on the other side Enumerator’s Summary Books (RG 78) (2,015 pieces) 3

4 Single supplier contract  consortium possible, but 1 lead supplier 2 contracts  1 supplier to scan, 1 supplier for online development and maintenance Total in-house development  TNA to develop and manage all contracts for scanning, online service and support Service management contract  TNA to let contract for development and management Background: how to go about scanning the 1911 census? 4

5 Contracting a supplier OJEU notice (Official Journal of the European Community) Tender throughout Europe Conditions of performance (amongst others)  scanning must cause absolute minimum of damage  records must be kept safe and secure at all times Competitive dialogue Contract awarded to ScotlandOnline, later BrightSolid  scanning subcontracted  transcription subcontracted 5

6 Condition - appearance Extremely consistent Standard volume: o 4 holes along the edge of the spine o schedules held in place through 2 long green tags, with 2 bows on top o soft linen spine o hard cover o belt riveted to cover 6

7 Condition - damage 1911 census was accessioned in 1966 Closed volumes were stored off-site Not boxed Water damage and subsequent mould growth Unclear when damage occurred Damage had to be dealt with to o ensure optimal image quality o minimise risk during handling o prevent health & safety risks 7

8 Surveying 4 staff surveyed between 19-23 July 2004 Statistical sample: confidence level of 95% 403 volumes (every 87 th volume) Focus on ease of scanning, image quality, and Health & Safety (mould) 8

9 9 3) Considerable delay from edge irregularities (Y=frilled edges, folded corners, pages stuck together) 2) Slight delay from edge irregularities (slight=uneven edges, turned corners) 5) Considerable delay due to severe page folds/tears (Y) 4) Slight delay from loose pages (loose, slight) 1) Body perfect (Y) Table 2 Total of 34,998 volumes 34,998 PHYSICAL DAMAGE 12345 No mould detected - No health hazard BIOLOGICAL DAMAGE A 1,2142,08511,37852117,282 3.47%5.96%32.51%1.49%49.38% 6, 7) Some/Considerable mould - Stains, health hazard & weakened paper B - C 0 87696 1,214 0.25%1.99%3.47% 8) Extensive mould outbreak - Major health hazard & physical weakening of paper D 000 521 1.49% Damage distributed throughout the entire series Typical damage: tears, folds, curled edges 7% mould damage < 2% severe damage (521 volumes) 2 volumes missing Survey results

10 Labels Original labels falling off the spines Re-label all 34,998 volumes Identify badly damaged volumes for preparation through Collection Care 10

11 Damage – folds Corners Across the schedules Obscure information To be dealt with by scanning team 11

12 Damage – minor tears Usually along the outer edges Where tears were smaller than 5 cm, scanning team would deal with them 12

13 Damage – major tears Minimise risk of schedules ripping apart during scanning Where schedules were in more than one piece, carried out through Collection Care Where schedule was still together, it was put in polyester envelopes by scanning operator 13

14 Damage – crumpled edges Sleeved by scanning team unless heavily damaged 14

15 Damage – mould Presents health risks Trained scanning team to recognise and report Always cleaned through Collection Care within fume cabinet 15

16 Damage – stuck pages Due to previous water damage In a few cases whole volumes stuck together No option of not separating schedules Most time consuming work in terms of preparation 16

17 Damage – ‘castor oil goo’ 2 volumes with black ‘goo’ All pages stuck together Pages separated and sleeved Sleeves remained after scanning 17

18 Other issues – metal fastenings Metal fastenings getting rusty Difficult to remove as corroded metal would break Taken out in order to separate sheets 18

19 Other issues – inserts Some loose inserts within volumes Some fastened inserts: adhered, pinned, tagged,… Different size from schedules Ensure correct association and sequence 19

20 Other issues – institutional booklets Bound like schedules Booklets meant that sheets became double the size Spines were cut 20

21 Other issues – belts Belts had sharp buckles Complete removal considered Schedules were not retagged and bound Held together by cotton tapes 21

22 Other issues – binding 2 options: o re-tag and bind o cotton tapes and box Horizontal storage after digitisation 22

23 Dealing with damage – pilot studies 2 pilot studies First study involved 7 volumes resulting in inconclusive figures Second pilot study o involved 3 conservators o for 20 weeks o from November 2005 Just over 200 volumes were prepared during that time resulting in satisfactory figures on o total time estimates o cost estimates o space requirements 23

24 Dealing with damage Focus on o cost o speed o image quality 24 SupplierConservatorTo be confirmed 1. Folds  2. Tears  3. Crumpled, curled  4. Damaged covers  5. Pages stuck  6. Mould  7. Metal fastenings  8. Small inserts  9. Belts  10. Booklets 

25 Image quality Balance between: image quality / speed of capture / speed of downloading 24 bit colour uncompressed TIFF, 300 dpi 25

26 Scanning equipment 26 AGFA S655 with modifications to accommodate historic documents  semi-automated sheet feed  straight path rather than drum  tray at back of scanner to collect scanned schedules

27 Space requirement 27 Six times as much space as the size of the document to accommodate  document: un-scanned material, scanned material, box  equipment: computer, scanner

28 Scanning operation 28 Within one of the Kew repositories o secure o fast in terms of production o easy to monitor Some shelving was removed to accommodate the operation Space adjusted to accommodate IT requirements (sockets, cables, etc.)

29 Scanning operation 29 Scanning was sub-contracted to third party 5 scanning stations for schedules 1 scanning station for book covers Space for pre-preparation Space for post-preparation Scanning took place 12 hours a day (Monday – Friday) 2 shifts

30 Scanning order 30 How long does it take to prepare? How is the damage distributed? Most damaged volumes took between 1 and 4 hours, averaging at around 2 hours per volume

31 Scanning order 31 Scanning as stored o starts with London, Surrey, Kent,… o London was the most badly damaged Scanning according to population size o starts with Lancashire, London, Yorkshire,… o best for phased release Scanning according to ease o starts with Nottinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire,… o maximise available preparation time Final decision o scan in order Registration County Frequency of Condition (F)FF*S Condition Score (S)2345691030 London 1104610 1702915609 Surrey3 55 7 1952606118 Kent 8 21092 Sussex 7 310118 Hampshire 2 1 2574 Berkshire 1 2364 Middlesex 1 1516454 Hertfordshire 8 1 2938908 Buckinghamshire 1 47481414 Oxfordshire 17 510 Northamptonshire 2 2468 Huntingdonshire 00 Bedfordshire 1 14 Cambridgeshire 3 318 Essex 4 1115346 Suffolk 00 Norfolk 00 Wiltshire 00 Dorsetshire 00 Devonshire 1 2364

32 Scanning speed 32 Target rate of 40,000 images per day ca. 1,000 images an hour per scanner Scanners allowed for scanning both recto and verso simultaneously Book covers were scanned separately

33 Working with scanning company 33 Census was scanned through Advanced Data Services (ADS) Working together before scanning to agree on o TNA security requirements (closed documents) o scanning equipment o lay-out of work space o workflow o scanning speed o preparation of volumes before and o after scanning Working together during scanning o document handling training o flagging up of problem documents

34 Timeline 34 July 2004survey of 1911 census November 2005preparation for scanning started June 2007preparation for scanning finished (20 months) July 2007scanning started April 2009scanning finished (22 months) 13 January 2009online service launched with majority of English counties March – April 2009further English counties added June 2009Welsh counties added 18 June 2009launch complete 3 January 2012full, un-redacted release

35 Final statistics 35 Total number of volumes prepared2,136 (6.1%) of which1,108 had damage codes Total number of pages cleaned, separated, flattened, repaired53,128 Total number of schedules sleeved14,282 Time taken for preparation20 months of which5 months for pilot Time spent on preparation through Collection Care255 days Time spent on preparation through agency staff231 days Total number of images18 million Total number of people involved> 350 of which280 transcribed the census

36 Acknowledgements 36 …too many individuals to list, but in particular our commercial partners: BrightSolid ( Advanced Data Services ( Data Capture (

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