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Kingston University's new digital archive provides open access to historic collections

Posted Monday 14 July 2014

Len Lawley on a bicycle in front of Kingston Polytechnic signA new website showcases items from Kingston University's Archives and Special Collections. The archive is completely open source with visitors able to search, view and download the images.

The Collection currently features more than 500 historic images with many more to be uploaded in the future.The archivists have put out a call for more historic photos of the University and help with background information on items currently in the collection.

"In the coming months we will get many more of our historic photos online, to support research into the University's history as we head towards our 25th anniversary of becoming a university in 2017," says archivist Katie Giles. "The photographs will also be a welcome additional resource for other areas of research, including social history, women's studies, the history of education and history of fashion."

The first tranche of images relate to the history of Kingston University and its predecessor bodies, with an initial focus on Gipsy Hill Teacher Training College.

Items in the archive have been scanned in colour, but not retouched so as not to misrepresent the condition of the originals held. Images are scanned complete, or cropped to remove the rest of the page if the original was mounted in an album. Some are contact sheets - prints made from strips of negatives placed directly on to photographic paper - and, in time, it is hoped that the individual photos on these will be digitised separately to make them easier to search and view.

"Archives are precious but we want people to use them," says Katie Giles. "In some instances we don't know who the subjects of the photos are or where they were taken. We hope that visitors to the site will help us to identify them, by leaving a comment on the website or by contacting us directly. If anyone has historic images they could donate to the collections that would be very welcome too."

Gypsy Hill student Teachers students paddling in the sea

To visit the Kingston University Archives and Special Collections at Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames please contact the archive at least 24 hours in advance to make an appointment.

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