Mallon Technology

Case Study

Linen Hall Library

The Client

The Linen Hall Library is the oldest library in Belfast and the last subscribing library in Ireland.  Founded in 1788, the library is renowned for its unparalleled Irish and Local Studies collections, comprising of holdings from early Belfast and Ulster printed books as well as the Northern Ireland Political Collection.

The Problem

The Northern Ireland Political Collection is a unique resource that is wholly focused on the troubles within Northern Ireland and the resulting Peace Process.  The collection is made up of over 35,000 items that includes books, periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets, manifestos, press releases, photographs, cartoons and ephemera.

In an effort to ensure the long–term preservation of the material in the collection and to make it more accessible by placing it online, Linen Hall Library wanted to digitise the Divided Society Project, one of the key parts of the Northern Ireland Political Collection.  The Divided Society Project encompasses hundreds of unbound, stapled periodical titles published between 1990 – 1998 along with hundreds of posters from the period, which were held on 35mm slides.

What We Did

Mallon was required to digitally capture the periodic titles and posters of the Divided Society Project held by the Linen Hall Library.  This consisted of approximately 130,000 individual pages of various sizes.  

The collection was captured using an overhead digital camera and a flatbed scanner.  The periodic titles ranged in size, a majority of which were A4 with some of the collection consisting of A3 or A2 items.  The posters, of which there were around 900, were digitally captured directly from the supplied 35mm slides.

All hard copy material was captured at 300dpi in preservation master TIFF format.  Surrogate copies were created from these into JPEG and watermarked PDF format.  The captured images were delivered to the customer via an upload to a secure FTP site on a monthly basis, with the final delivery made via an encrypted external hard drive.

The Benefits

  • The collection is to be made available online, providing access to numerous people who previously wouldn’t have had access
  • The collection has been protected from any future damage that may have been caused through excessive handling
  • A digital backup has been created ensuring there will always remain a permanent record of the collection
  • Access to the collection content will now be easier and faster

An excellent supplier and I highly recommend them.

‘‘Mallon Technology have been great to work with throughout the Divided Society Project. They put together a comprehensive, cost–effective bid during the tender process and emphasised their approach to to handling rare material and the equipment they would use for image capture. They have kept within the timeframe and budget, produced high–quality images and made these accessible through an ftp site. They provided regular updates and responded quickly to any queries. They also made sure the material was returned in the order and condition they were dispatched in. They are an excellent supplier and I highly recommend them.’’

Gavin Carville, Project Manager – Divided Society, Linen Hall Library