This is a repost from the #Letters1916 tumblr for #DayofPH 2017. Karolina Badzmierowska describes the first stage of our workflow, imaging.
One of our contributors, Mary Harris, came along to our SFI Community Engagement event in Galway in November 2015 and brought a number of her family letters for digitisation. One of the letters, from Thomas Joseph Harris to his Mother, was in a very poor condition and it was one of the most challenging letters to digitise by the Letters 1916 project team to date. The ink has faded unequally across the pages, which together with some additional tiny notes and scribbles make the readability of this letter quite challenging. The letter is highly damaged, with a few holes and missing parts around the edges and folding sections.
Although it was only a matter of transferring the letter from the folder to a designated table for digitisation, we took an extreme care in handling such fragile item. We made sure the work space was clean, hands washed, gloves on and we handled it as little as possible. We also avoided any force in opening the brittle rolled/folded parts of the pages to not cause any further damage. We made the best digital image of the letter we could, but if the letter undergoes conservation treatment in future, a better image might be acquired. The NUIG Library kindly provided us with an individual polyester sleeve to prevent the letter from any further direct handling or folding, which certainly will prolong its physical life.
Head over to the Letters 1916 site to transcribe this letter and others when they become available!