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June 2013 Archive UpdateClick here for rss feed
Posted on: Wed Apr 3 2013

At long last …

The team has arrived - the preparatory work is now done and the digitalisation of the archive has begun. The past six weeks have been more than busy.

Stage One was daunting, extremely tedious, and messy. Everything from my home in England had been packed haphazardly into boxes and - with my library - transported to France, to be stored in stables near my new house. There, unfortunately, the local wild-life had begun to feast on the spines of some of my books and were beginning an assault upon the contents of a couple of unsealed packing cases. We were, happily, in time to prevent more than superficial damage and the loss of only a handful of papers.

All has now been safely re-packed and the preliminary rough sorting has been done. The initial scanning is underway - and the major (and time-consuming as well as frustrating) problem of un-picking the scores of antediluvian floppy discs - plus the contents of two ancient computers - is providing head-aches … as well as some astonishing and long-forgotten treasures.

The generous help organised by Rene Barnett has enabled the purchase of equipment necessary for the scanning. We are more than grateful for the interest and generosity which has been shown. So many people have offered their time - as well as their financial support. When - and if - more is needed, I now know that it will be forthcoming.

As for the offers of physical help … I know that there are, unfortunately, some who merely wish to get their hands on the material, for their own, possibly dubious, reasons. (I once made the gift of a document - only to find that copies of it were then being sold !) The genuine offers … and they are easy to identify … are much appreciated. But a larger team would be quite unnecessary, as well as counter-productive. Sarah, Pearl, Jeannie and David - (as well as their horrible dog!) - are as many as the limited space at our disposal can occupy - and Rene and Laurent are providing further necessary - if remote - support.

The current phase will take quite a time. The necessary sorting and copying will take many months. Thousands of documents, photographs, transparencies, recordings, scribbled notes, drawings and scraps of film must be reassembled into a coherent and accessible resource. It can't happen over-night ! But you may take it for granted that we are not wasting time …

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• This story is true... Only the facts have been changed.

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