UWC/Oppelt Photographic Digital Collections

Project description

Our team will create an online platform to host digital derivatives of physical artefacts found in UWC Library’s Special Collections. Special Collections houses rare and unique books, but also various other artefacts. Many artefacts are easily susceptible to damage when handled regularly, such as photos or pamphlets. Therefore, a flatbed scanner is needed to scan the artefacts carefully. The whole collection will need two scanning sessions. The first round of scanning is to create high-quality archival derivatives for long-term storage and preservation, and the second round will create lower quality derivatives that will be used on the platform for visitors to access.

Before beginning scanning the collection, metadata schema and workflows for digitising the collection of over 100 photographs will be designed, along with plans on where and how the archival quality photos will be stored and backed up. After scanning, the physical photos will be labelled and stored following best practices for storing and handling such media.

The next consideration is the platform we will use. There are many potential methods of making the photo collection accessible; however, we want the collection to be visible and accessible and to be interacted with in the form of commenting and possibly tagging the photos.

Once the collection is scanned and stored and the platform established, it will need testing. Testing will be internal initially to check for any bugs before going live. When the platform has been tested and is ready to go live, a campaign will promote the initiative. Promotion will occur internally, within the university community, and publicly outside the university. Promotion methods will include contacting other local libraries asking them to help promote the platform through social media and potentially through print media like campus newspapers.

The live platform will require administration, moderation and maintenance. An administrator will take control and responsibility for external user’s accounts, permissions and profiles for internal users like staff members. A moderator will uphold community standards, preventing misuse and abuse of the platform while managing visitor inquiries and complaints and other day-to-day issues concerning the platform’s use and interaction. Lastly, a platform such as this requires long term maintenance. The maintenance role is responsible for the project’s longevity and will keep the platform up to date in terms of software, file types, and accessibility in the ever-progressing world of technology.

Project team

Alfred Nqotole, Mark Snyders, Anelisa Mente-Mpako, Jacques Manuels, Andrew Ennis


University of the Western Cape


Crowdsourcing data, Interactive digital archive, Digital Special Collections