Upgrade of Kew heritage science and digitisation facilities and equipment - digitisation

Lead Research Organisation: Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
Department Name: Science Directorate Office


Upgrade of Kew heritage science and digitisation facilities and equipment - digitisation

The project provides modern, high specification digitisation equipment for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The equipment requested comprises three scanners and two digital cameras for the digitisation of Kew's Library, Art & Archives and Economic Botany Collections, replacing equipment which can no longer deliver the required quality and reliability to support a rapidly expanding digitisation programme.

Two A2 scanners will facilitate the digitisation of library materials and selected artworks and archives. A table-top scanner will allow us to enhance our quick image capture scanning service for readers during their visit.

The high-spec digital camera system is required for the digitisation of artworks and more fragile archive materials, while the second digital camera will enable the 3D object photography required by the Economic Botany Collection.

The project will help Kew to achieve two major objectives of its new Corporate Strategy (to be published in early 2021), to provide care and access to and to digitise 100% of its unrivalled collections, widening access and reducing handling and wear and tear on the items themselves. Focussing on Library, Art, Archives and Economic Botany Collections, the project aligns with Kew's arts and humanities research priorities, while being responsive to those of external researchers.

The last decade has seen a significant range of AHRC-funded research at Kew, generated both by staff and through collaboration with universities. This work, in the form of both major research projects and collaborative doctoral students, depends on the ability to rapidly digitise paper-based works and objects to a high-standard. Our new research strategy, currently under development, both emphasizes the role of digitisation in supporting research, and highlights interdisciplinary arts and humanities research as areas of active development at Kew.
Digitisation also underpins our participation in collaborative projects with other institutions, for example with regard to distributed online collections, and our work with the commercial sector, for example in publishing, licensing and the development of online media.

The project is expected to be completed by March 2021.


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