Friends of Battye Library field book project

Lise Summers Monday, August 13, 2012 - 14:43

Page from R.S. Allen field book 1, showing the pen and ink detail.Field Days

The Friends of Battye Library (FOBs) have generously agreed to provide funding for the digitisation of a discrete set of surveyors' fieldbooks from the SRO collection (WAS 32), and as a result we have commenced a project to digitise the 1,638 field books held in consignment 3401 (part of WA Series 32) in the State archives collection. The majority  of these were previously filmed by the State Microfilm Services Bureau and are available on microfiche.  However, the microfiche is badly degraded due to use and cannot be replaced due to the microfilming technique used at the time.  The field books are generally written in pencil, which can also cause problems in reading and interpreting the fiche.  As a result, the original field books are increasingly being requested and viewed in the Search Room.  They are small and easily damaged by handling.

  SRO has access to a high quality overhead book scanner, which can scan in both black and white and colour, to 300 dpi.  The scanner head takes line by line images of the page, enabling a much higher quality scan than will be available for a simple whole of page image.  The system also uses strip LED lighting meaning that light damage to fragile documents is very limited.  Documents are placed on a hinged book cradle which can be set to accommodate book spines easily, or can be locked in place for flatter documents.

The FOBs funding provided for a pilot project over 8 weeks full time, or as a part time project.  We undertook a recruitment process, and were fortunate enough to secure the services of George Borzykowski, digital imaging technician extraordinaire.  George has an impressive CV in media and film, before taking up a position with the State Library of Western Australia.

 Under George’s capable hands, the field books were assessed for their imaging potential, and a workflow was established that enabled us to ensure that high quality images were provided.  Because the field books contain valuable surveying and environmental data from the first days of the settlement to more recent times, we wanted to ensure that they could be used as mapping and research tools.  This meant that, in addition to being scanned, the images had to be manipulated to bring up faint pencil markings and ensure that pages and markings were aligned.  All field books were recorded with a scale, providing for greater accuracy in reproducing and re-using the data.    

Due to the complexity of this work, we were unable to meet our initial target of 400 books.  However, at the end of the project period we were able to produce high quality scans of all 22 of the R.S. Allen field books (who surveyed in the Mt Magnet and goldfields region in the 1890s) and the 89 field books listed under W.H. Angove (surveys in the south west from the 1880s): creating a total of 111 field books that have been scanned and uploaded to our catalogue.

 

ALL/01

R.S. Allan Fieldbook no. 1

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ALL/02

R.S. Allan Field book no. 2

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ALL/03

R.S. Allan Field book no. 3

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ALL/04

R.S. Allan Field book no. 4

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ALL/05

R.S. Allan Field book no. 5

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ALL/06

R.S. Allan Field book no. 6

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ALL/07

R.S. Allan Field book no. 7

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ALL/08

R.S. Allan Field book no. 8

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ALL/09

R.S. Allan Field book no. 9

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ALL/10

R.S. Allan Field Book No. 10

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ALL/11

R.S. Allan Field Book No. 11

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ALL/12

R.S. Allan Field Book No. 12

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ALL/13

R.S. Allan Field Book No. 13

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ALL/14

R.S. Allan Field Book No. 14

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ALL/15

R.S. Allan Field Book No. 15

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ALL/16

R.S. Allan Field Book No. 16

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ALL/17

R.S. Allan Field Book No. 17

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ALL/18

R.S. Allan Field Book No. 18

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ALL/19

R.S. Allan Field Book No. 19

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ALL/20

R.S. Allan Field Book No. 20

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ALL/21

R.S. Allan Field Book No. 21

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ALL/24

R.S. Allan Field Book No. 24

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ANG/01

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 1

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ANG/01A

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 1A

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ANG/01B

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 1B

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ANG/01C

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 1C

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ANG/01D

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 1D

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ANG/02

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 2

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ANG/04

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 4

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ANG/05

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 5

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ANG/06

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 6

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ANG/08

W.H. Angove for A.C. Ross, Field Book No. 8

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ANG/11

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 11

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ANG/12

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 12

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ANG/12A

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 12A

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ANG/13

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 13

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ANG/14

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 14

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ANG/15

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 15

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ANG/16

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 16

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ANG/16T

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 16T

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ANG/17

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 17

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ANG/18

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 18

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ANG/19

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 19

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ANG/19B

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 19B

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ANG/20

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 20

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ANG/22

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 22

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ANG/23

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 23

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ANG/24

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 24

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ANG/25

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 25

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ANG/26

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 26

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ANG/27

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 27

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ANG/28

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 28

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ANG/29

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 29

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ANG/30

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 30

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ANG/31

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 31

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ANG/32

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 32

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ANG/32A

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 32A

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ANG/33

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 33

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ANG/34

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 34

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ANG/35

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 35

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ANG/36

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 36

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ANG/36A

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 36A

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ANG/37

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 37

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ANG/38

J Hore for W.H. Angove Field Book No. 38

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ANG/39

J Hore for W.H. Angove Field Book No. 39

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ANG/40

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 40

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ANG/43

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 43

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ANG/45

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 45

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ANG/46

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 46

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ANG/46A

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 46A

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ANG/47

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 47

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ANG/47A

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 47A

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ANG/48

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 48

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ANG/49

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 49

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ANG/50

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 50

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ANG/51

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 51

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ANG/52

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 52

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ANG/53

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 53

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ANG/54

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 54

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ANG/57

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 57

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ANG/58

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 58

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ANG/59

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 59

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ANG/63

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 63

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ANG/64

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 64

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ANG/65

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 65

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ANG/66

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 66

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ANG/67

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 67

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ANG/69

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 69

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ANG/70

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 70

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ANG/71

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 71

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ANG/72

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 72

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ANG/73

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 73

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ANG/74

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 74

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ANG/74T

W.H. Angove Field Books No. T74A

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ANG/75

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 75

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ANG/76

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 76

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ANG/77

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 77

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ANG/78

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 78

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ANG/79

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 79

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ANG/80

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 80

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ANG/81

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 81

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ANG/82

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 82

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ANG/83

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 83

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ANG/84

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 84

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ANG/85

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 85

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ANG/86

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 86

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ANG/87

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 87

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ANG/88

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 88

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ANG/89

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 89

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ANG/90

W.H. Angove Field Book No. 90

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Digitisation of the field books will improve access to the information held within them, and improve their preservation by diminishing handling.  It will enable SRO to reach a new generation of researchers, interested in climate change, land use and sustainability, and could significantly contribute to our understanding in these areas.  It may also help school students and teachers develop teaching materials based on Western Australian records.  Digitisation will also allow SRO to look at transcription of the field books, either through another dedicated project or through crowd sourcing.  It will, we hope, have benefits for the WA base Explorer Diaries project : http://www.explorationswa.com.au/

 Similar projects elsewhere include:

 The Burke and Wills online archive

http://www.burkeandwills.net.au/Journals/

Discovering Antarctica

 - http://www.discoveringantarctica.org.uk/5_diaries.php

Old Weather –

http://www.oldweather.org/