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Presentation on theme: " In 1993 Simon Fowler defined income generation by archives as ‘those activities organised by archival staff with the aim of raising."— Presentation transcript:

1 In 1993 Simon Fowler defined income generation by archives as ‘those activities organised by archival staff with the aim of raising revenue for the benefit of the record office.’[1] In the 1990s archive services’ income generation activities included sales of historical publications; paid research service and reprographics. While these traditional income streams are still valuable today, the internet has permitted archive services to create new methods of raising income. For example Westminster City Archives have partnered with the genealogical website Find My Past[2] to allow online customers to search and download, for a fee, entries from their parish registers. In common with other local authority archive services Bexley has for a long time operated a publications programme; research service, and a paid events programme. In the last three years Bexley has reinvested income generated from these activities on a series of mass digitisation projects of the, postcard, prints and glass plate negatives collections. Co-creating the website with Max has enabled us to develop a site that helps meet two of the Service’s strategic aims; to provide greater access to the collections and to contribute towards raising income for the archive service. Compared with in-house photographic print sales for the same period (November 2012 to January 2013) sales through has shown an increase of additional income by over 30%. Increasing Access Conclusions A Case Study - Increasing Access and Income Simon McKeon Bexley Local Studies & Archive Centre References provides the Archive Service with an alternative access point that better suits users who are unfamiliar with traditional online archive catalogues, which can be difficult to navigate, especially when searching for digital content. In common with image library websites the Bexley site uses a photo gallery style to display the images and a ‘shopping cart’ to purchase the selected images. For the first time we are able to offer worldwide 24/7 remote purchase of images from the collections. Whilst most visitors to the site are from the UK, people from all the world’s continents have visited it, most notably from the USA, Canada and Australia. [1] Simon Fowler, ‘The root of all evil: income generation by the PRO and local authority archive services,’ Journal of the Society of Archivists, (1993): 14.2, 141-154 [2] [accessed 31st December 2012] [3] [accessed 15 th February 2013] From 18 th November 2012 to 13 th February 2013 the site received 4,713 visitors. The peak period in visitor numbers occurred in the beginning of December when it attracted over 120 visits in a single day. This spike was largely due to the publication about the site in the Council’s quarterly, the Bexley Magazine. On average the site attracts 60 visitors per day who stay on the site for an average 11 minutes and 16 seconds. We are pleased that over 38% of visitors are returning and we hope that this figure will increase as we make more images available on the site. Maximising Income The website is a partnership between Bexley Local Studies & Archives and a local digitisation company, Max Communications. In November 2012 the site went live offering visitors the opportunity to purchase high quality photographic prints of over 4000 images selected from Bexley’s image collections. Metadata Preparation All of the collections selected for are catalogued on Bexley’s CALM archive management system. [3] Metadata from four CALM fields were exported from CALM, using Excel and uploaded into WordPress: RefNo; Title; Description; Date. Using WordPress archive staff are able to edit the image’s metadata and create subject categories or themes for the images relatively easy in the office. Each image has been designated a theme(s) according to its content. Themes include: transport; shops and entertainment etc. Enabling visitors to undertake searches using a map interface is the main feature of Bexley.boroughphotos, that differentiates the site from similar websites that are currently on the market. We were able to use existing place authority files from the image’s CALM catalogue record to locate the exact point for each image on the Google map. This was particularly important for preparing the website’s postcode search option. Visitor Statistics has provided Bexley archives with a number of benefits: Enabled greater access to the digitised collections The requirement for place authorities for each image has encouraged better cataloguing practice Fragile photographic media such as glass plate negatives are no longer routinely produced to the public for viewing, thereby ensuring long term preservation. Provides Bexley with an additional access point to publish other digitised material from the archives Promotes Bexley’s history and the archive service to a world wide audience. Contributes towards income generation

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