Jennifer Lloyd
Publication date: 
Monday, 11 February, 2013

This paper discusses the planning involved in the project to digitise 500 nitrate panoramic negatives, including the pilot project and the creation of the ‘panorail’, and the steps involved in moving the items from the Nitrate store offsite to conservation for flattening and then the digitisation work area.

The Enemark collection consists of around 500 nitrate negatives which vary in length from 1000mm to 2700mm. The negatives were taken by Mr John H. Enemark and Ms Anne M Enemark during the period 1917 – 1946. The images were taken around Sydney and NSW country areas (including Canberra) using a professional Cirkut camera.

This collection was chosen as a project by the National Library of Australia for the 2012-13 fiscal year and involves the unrolling, digitising and cataloguing of each negative in the collection.

The negatives are currently stored in small cardboard boxes, rolled with several negatives in each roll. The roll has a diameter of approximately 40mm. Each roll is unrolled, flattened and then delivered to the digitisation section.

In order to digitise the collection a special piece of equipment has been designed (called the ‘panorail’) which allows the negative to be placed between two sheets of optical glass. The glass sits on a frame that allows the sandwiched negative to be moved beneath the camera. This allows the operator to move the long negative past the camera without having to change any settings on the camera and more importantly without having to handle the negative. The images are then ‘stitched’ together with software to create one image.

Examples of the work so far can be seen online in the Library’s catalogue.