• Danica Micallef

Second World War Diaries from the Australian War Memorial

In 2019, Abergower Digital were engaged byto digitise the Australian War Memorial’s extensive collection of Second World War documents. This project was set to run over three years. With the Memorial based in Canberra it was necessary to open up a second office in the ACT, an exciting prospect that allowed Abergower to expand its reach further in Australia.

​In January of 2020, the new office opened in Deakin. Directors Robin and Ewan made the trip from Glasgow to Australia to help set up the new office and begin work on the project. Working closely with the Memorial, and taking the lead from previous work with similar institutions in Sydney, Abergower developed a customised digitisation system that met the specifications of the Memorial. The new office includes two new state-of-the-art scanners which meet FADGI-2 specifications.

The collection consists of a wide variety of material in varying shapes, sizes and stages of vulnerability, with a need to digitise all facets of the collection, including fold outs, covers and the backs of pages whenever so much as a scribble could be seen. This variability in material added a layer of complexity which our skilled staff handles with aplomb.

​Shortly after the project began, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, causing most historical institutions in Australia to temporarily close. While this did impact our Sydney office our Canberra office was able to remain open. The Memorial was able to continue to deliver material and keep work flowing. With some extra health and safety precautions taken to protect staff, production continued throughout the pandemic period. With weekly deliveries from the Memorial, our team strives to meet a high turnover of material while maintaining a high standard of quality.

As the project has progressed new challenges have arisen, Abergower has refined its systems to ensure that workflow and deliverables remain high.

​Once delivered, scans are uploaded to the Memorial website, where they can be easily accessed. Many of the items digitised by Abergower are already available to the public. While the plans to digitise the Memorial collection have been in the works for some time, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the need for digitised collections all the more evident. Abergower Digital is delighted to have been able to take on this historically significant project and develop a strong working relationship with such an important Australia institution as the Australian War Memorial.

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