Digitisation of Traditional Format Library Materials

Don McMurdo performing arts collection

Project Brief | Cataloguing guidelines


To provide access through the Library’s catalogue to approximately 1,700 negatives, transparencies and photographs selected from the 75,000 in the McMurdo collection.


  • Catalogue negatives, transparencies and photographs using template records and a descriptive list Word document
  • Digitise negatives, transparencies and prints
  • Link images to catalogue records
  • Load images to Pictures Catalogue and PictureAustralia

Description of the material to be digitised

The McMurdo Collection contains 427 photographic prints (mainly cibachrome, though some black and white), approximately 25,000 transparencies and approximately 50,000 negatives (both colour and black and white), taken by Don McMurdo, of opera, theatre and ballet performances, and some concerts and performances by individual artists between the years 1976 and 1990. Most performances were at the Sydney Opera House, but other venues are featured as well such as the Entertainment Centre and the Sydney Domain. Don McMurdo was employed as a photographer at the Opera House but the photographs in this collection were not taken in his official capacity.

All 427 photographic prints are being digitised together with a selection of approximately 1,200 negatives and transparencies. The negatives and transparencies are mostly 35mm colour but also included in the selection are 49 black and white negatives, 35 120mm mounted slides and 9 120mm transparencies.

Preservation, care and handling guidelines

DISCLAIMER: The National Library of Australia disclaims liability for the use of the information provided in this page. The guidelines have been produced to aid Library staff in the digitisation of collection material. The National Library of Australia accepts no responsibility for the loss occasioned as a direct or indirect result of the use of the information in these guidelines.

General rules:

Treatments: This collection is made up of 427 colour prints, 50,000 negatives (colour and black and white) and 25,000 transparencies. Both negatives and transparencies is in good condition. No treatment will be required.

Scanning: Digital camera will be used to digitize the 427 colour prints; Nikon Super CoolScan for the 35mm slides.

Cropping: Minimal border, 1mm from edge of photo, none of the original item cropped.


NLA staff Other
Pictorial Collection Researchers interested in the performing arts in Australia
Digitisation Team Performers
Imaging Services Institutions with related collections, subject interest
Digitisation Steering Committee Photographers
Preservation Services Public
Public Programs  
Special Materials Cataloguing  

Program of work

Item Responsibility Date completed or time period
Decide on cataloguing treatment Special Materials Cataloguing Unit October 2001
Preservation assessment and general condition survey Digitisation Project team leaders November 2001
Create cataloguing templates and guidelines Special Materials Cataloguing Unit 24 December 2001
Deliver material to Digitisation Pictorial Section 7 January 2002-
Cataloguing guidelines session with Digitisation staff Special Materials Cataloguing Unit 8 January 2002
Create Pictorial Manager batches Digitisation Project Team 8 January 2002-
Create and review catalogue records Digitisation Project Team 8 January 2002-
Scan prints, 120mm slides and transparencies using Agfa scanner Digitisation Project Team 10 January 2002-
Scan 35mm negatives and transparencies using Nikon scanner Digitisation Project team 10 January 2002-
Quality check images Digitisation Project team leaders 11 January 2002-
Deliver material back to Pictorial Digitisation Project team Mid January 2002-
Strip metadata from images and put in spreadsheet Information Technology Branch Mid January 2002-
Rename images and move to Pictorial’s Complete folder Information Technology Branch Mid January 2002-
Check metadata spreadsheet Digitisation Project Team Mid January 2002-
Change batch status on Pictorial Manager Digitisation Project Team Mid January 2002-
Create derivatives & rename for Pictorial Manager Information Technology Branch Mid January 2002-
Load images to Pictures Catalogue Information Technology Branch Mid January 2002-


Project owner/Driver David Toll and Margy Burn
Project manager Erica Ryan
Key information sources Pictorial Manager, Preservation Services, Digitisation Team, IT, Imaging Services
  1. Size of collection may necessitate doing it in two stages.
  2. All prints require preservation treatment to diminish damage caused by labels on back.


About This Site | Copyright | Privacy | Accessibility | Site Map | Site Search | Content A-Z | Contact Us