Free Edinburgh’s History

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With the changes to copyright law in 2014,  and with the right technology, we could open up all our digital image collection to view.  No longer would our customers need to consult paper indexes and then request original photographs and illustrations from cabinets in back room stores.

Applying to SLIC and the Scottish Government’s Public Library Improvement Fund Edinburgh Libraries was awarded a grant, which allowed us to set up a terminal for the public to access our images in the Edinburgh and Scottish Collection of Central Library.

Our customers can search all 35000+ digitised images for themselves.  If they have any information about the images to share they can feedback online via the screen or complete a postcard.  Staff can then add the information to the image record, and we can then publish (copyright permitting) that image on Capital Collections for the whole world to see.   We can engage directly with the public, find out more information about our collections and save time and money.  The public can view all our collection with ease, and enjoy sharing their knowledge.

The ultimate success of the project will rest on the public using the terminal and providing information on our many unidentified images. This is not a project with a finite lifespan. It will be relevant as long as image databases and local collections are in existence.

We all have images that need careful handling to preserve them, or that we don’t know much about – perhaps their provenance or copyright is not established. You could also free your local history – for more information contact Karen O’Brien (Library Development Officer) e-mail: karen.obrien@edinburgh.gov.uk.

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