Mallon Technology

Case Study

Armagh Robinson Library

The Client

Founded in 1771, the Armagh Robinson Library is home to a collection of books and fine art.  The library is home to around 42,000 printed works on subjects such as medicine, science, history, law, politics, theology and travel as well as maps and atlases.

The Problem

The Armagh Robinson Library in partnership with Marsh’s Library, Dublin, participated in a small cross–border project to highlight some of the cultural riches in their collections.  For this, the library wished to digitally capture a collection of their historical maps.

What We Did

The aim of this project was to reach audiences of citizens, tourists, students and scholars across the island of Ireland, by digitising and making available a carefully chosen selection of images from the libraries’ collection of maps, plans and atlases.

The project focused on rare material, some of which was entirely unknown, even to specialists, such as a hand–drawn 1587 map of Newry.  The centrepiece of the project was an online exhibition of the collections.  Its primary aim was to introduce the broader public on both sides of the border and internationally to the breadth and depth of the cultural riches in these two small Irish libraries.

The collection itself consisted on 60 maps which were mostly A1 in size.  All the maps were scanned using overhead digital cameras and flatbed equipment to help preserve the integrity of the original documents.  Due to the large size of the maps, they had to be captured in several shots and then stitched together using Adobe Photoshop.

All images were captured at 400dpi in preservation master TIFF format.  From these images, derivative JPEG images were also created.  JPEG images make it easier for the customer to access, search and use the records contained within the collection.

On completion of the project, Mallon had captured 118 images. The resultant digital images were delivered over a secure FTP site for the customer to access and download.

The Benefits

  • Previously unknown and unseen historical maps were uncovered as part of this project
  • Armagh Robinson Library has been able to provide greater access to a culturally rich and historic collection
  • Awareness of the library and its collections in Ireland & internationally has been significantly boosted
  • The historic maps have been protected from any damage caused by excessive handling of the collections
  • Multiple users can access the maps at the same time
  • Secure digital backups of their resources will mean that access can be restored to the collections in event of a disaster

Mallon Technology was most particular in accommodating our requests.

‘‘Mallon Technology did a wonderful job in digitising a selection of our maps for the ‘Mapping the Treasures of two 18th Century Libraries’ project, in collaboration with Marsh’s Library Dublin. The Data Capture Team Leader was in regular contact with our Archivist about the practicalities of the project, and the communication was very pleasant. Mallon Technology was most particular in accommodating our requests concerning the packaging and transport of the maps. They also agreed to have our Archivist present to assist with the digitisation at their offices in Cookstown. The whole team was most welcoming and accommodating. The images are of excellent quality and provide us with a superb resource for tourists, citizens, students and scholars.’’

Thirza Mulder, Archivist, Armagh Robinson Library