Enter the maze

Back to the original

view down a tree-lined street, brown and faded as in an old photo

Digitisation is seen as a great way to save art and historic photograph collections. After all you can then make the images available to all on the Internet and stop worrying about all those dirty fingers handling your precious originals…or maybe after digitisation you no longer need the original anyway. Hmm! Would you really throw away the Mona Lisa because you had a photo of it? The same goes for historic photos too. A digitised copy, however accurate, is missing lots from the original, both in concrete terms and in the values it contains. Even the technology used to take or make the original is historically important in defining the object.

Lesson for the future: look after the original!