The Baring Archive has been engaging with digitisation to make priority areas of the archive more accessible to researchers and the general public, opening up the collection to people from all over the world.
Digitisation is a complex process and involves giving documents a unique identification number, cataloguing them to make them digitally searchable, conserving them, imaging them, preserving the images and putting them and their contextual information online so that they can be used by members of the public.
Completed projects have been made available via this site. Currently, they are in PDF form but when possible certain series will have individual items uploaded as JPEGs and linked to their specific catalogue references to make them more searchable. It is recommended that researchers look at the PDFs currently available with reference to the relevant catalogues available on the main website here.
Preliminary Investigations (2017-2018)
We spent some time looking into what our current capabilities are as an archive, the systems we use and the capacity of the team. We also looked extensively at the contents of the archive, its strengths and areas that are currently underutilised but hold great research potential. Additionally, we consulted current researchers and potential future users to see which topics and areas we should prioritise. To have a look at all of the categories we looked at to make these decisions, read our Digitisation Archivist’s selection model in ARC magazine, available here.
The Pilot Project (2018)
The initial step was a six-month pilot project, which included archive material relating to Barings’ business in Argentina and significant historic events there from 1817 through to 1925.
Further Projects (2019 and beyond)
Following the pilot project the archive is continuing with to digitise a significant proportion of the collection’s most important items. This has been organised into 6 month tranches, each based around a collection or theme:
- Tranche 1- The older archival collections and visual material (i.e. House Correspondence Old Series, Northbrook Papers, bonds, certificates, plans and artwork) COMPLETE
- Tranche 2 – Correspondence from Barings to externals from 1831-1923 (i.e. Letter books) and the Annual Account Books COMPLETE
- Tranche 3 (Beginning late 2020)- Watch this space!
Look out for further updates and if you would like more information or to make any suggestions, please get in touch!