Design, digitization, discovery: Enhancing collection quality

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Eastop, Dinah; Bulow, Anna E.; Brokerhof, Agnes W.;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 57, Number S1, p.96-102 (2012)


This study explores decision-making based on the assessment of ‘collection quality’ with the objective of optimizing ‘accessible value’. The implications of digitization on ‘collection quality’ are considered by analysing the UK Board of Trade Representations and Registers of Designs, 1839‐1991 at The National Archives, UK. The collection contains over one million unique ornamental designs, and includes the text record of the copyright registration and the design ‘representations’ (including cloth samples and whole garments). Public access to this resource has been limited due to the large size and weight of the volumes, their weak binding, and the lack of detailed information about their content. The character-defining features of the collection were analysed in order to inform options for enhancing preservation and improving access. Analysing preservation and digitization as ways of increasing ‘collection quality’ forces consideration of which values, content, and context are made accessible, to what extent and how.