Tuesday, 19 May 2015

360 Virtual Tours

Virtual tours are a wonderful way of engaging your online visitors and giving them a unique opportunity to experience your exhibitions, gallery or archive. These tours can consist of single or multiple panoramas, a map of the premises and hotspots with information 'pop-ups' within the tour.

Not only do these tours act as an interactive experience online, they allow you to create a catalogue of your exhibitions. As most exhibits last for a limited time, having a lasting copy of the full exhibition can enable people to view the collection in a virtual environment. This service is a distinct way to promote your collection and to keep a record of the events throughout the years.

Virtual tours can be custom-designed to suit any branding. We can work alongside your online team so that your tour works efficiently within your website, with mobile & tablet compatibility and Google Maps integration. This service can be a unique addition and an easy access point for a range of consumers, using hassle free digital-mapping from a trusted industry specialist.
To view an example of our Virtual Tours service, please follow the link to a tour that we created for Bexley County Council of their 'Illuminated World' exhibition. 

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Data Security

Why is it important?

Data security is a key aspect of any modern business. It's as important as physical security, just as you would ensure that your physical archive is protected and safe, your digital collection is just as vulnerable. Unprotected data has the potential to be accessed by anyone, it could be infected by a malicious virus, stolen or even deleted.
Though it may seem trivial, this threat extends beyond protecting your archive alone. Many businesses store personal information on their systems which is equally as important. This could range from: phone numbers, addresses, bank details, credit card information, both employee and client details could be at risk. This data should never be publicly accessible and you will be responsible for its protection. For example, if your companies system has a virus which is passed onto another company and they can prove it came from your organisation due to the lack of adequate security, you could be held responsible.
Even if someone accesses your system and only does something harmless, this can still affect the reputation of the business and be potentially humiliating.

How to protect your data

Ultimately you want to restrict who can access your data and here is how:

  • All data should require a password to access. This can be done by making sure whatever you use to store your data is password protected i.e. Wifi, computer, laptop, tablet. Not only does this protect your data if the device was stolen, this also safeguards your account over a network.
  • Take care when downloading, never open any attachments from people that you do not know or were not expecting contact from. Opening emails is fine, but avoid downloading attachments or clicking links especially if you are uncertain what the content is.
  • Only use reputable software, if you do not recognise the developer of the software (i.e. Adobe, Microsoft etc.) it is advised to do a quick background check via Google to check that the source isn't malicious.
  • When emailing sensitive data you can zip the files and add a protective password before sending. This can be done using WinRAR, a file compression and zipping tool. The password can then be sent via text or phone.
  • Other safe ways of sharing data include; Google Docs. This tool is a great extension to your Gmail, giving you the option of 'sharing' certain data with other email contacts either as read only or editable format, allowing controlled sharing of potentially sensitive data. This is a more direct way of accessing information without the risk of emails being intercepted.
  • Regularly changing your passwords, we would recommend changing your passwords once every 6 months. If you are having difficulty remembering all your passwords, we would recommend using tools such as KeePass 2 (Windows) or Keychain (Mac OSX), which log all your passwords safely with a master password to access the system.

If you have an archive and are concerned about any of these issues, feel free to contact us for more advice.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Competition Winner!

Congratulations to Carolynne Cotton who is the winner of our newsletter competition!

Of course the answer was: When was the Wright Brothers first flight?

Photo: Carolynne Cotton, Local Studies,
Archives and Museum Manager at London
Borough of Hillingdon

We hope Carolynne enjoys her Champagne prize and we would like to thank everybody who

participated in the competition, better luck next time!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Oxford Games

Max recently completed a project with Oxford Games Ltd, a renowned board game designer and creators of classic games such as Jenga and Playing Shakespeare. Oxford Games have recently decided to reintroduce some of their family favourite board games with some digitisation assistance from Max. Leslie Scott, one of the founders of Oxford Games has overseen the digitisation process. Using scans of the original board game materials we were able to do layer by layer restoration of the games; Flummoxed and Bookworm, two unique and compelling titles.  



As original games are over 20 years old, the work we faced involved a lot of restoration. The games were hand coloured by pencil and the vibrancy of the colours had deteriorated over time, so we were tasked to colour correct them to revitalise the images. We modernised the branding along with other aspects of the games that needed renovating, in some cases we were able to recover damaged cards from the originals and fully restore them. 

All of our staff who participated in the work thoroughly enjoyed the assignment and stated that it was fun to find solutions to each aspect of the project they encountered. 

Monday, 12 January 2015

Scanning Solutions: Bookeye

Max is always seeking ways to provide efficient, flexible solutions to meet all of our clients' specifications for optimal customer satisfaction. One solution of which is the Bookeye scanner, this intelligent piece of equipment combines archival friendly material handling with cutting edge scanning technology.

It's laser focusing technology ensures sharpness across the entire image regardless of depth. For example, when a book's pages curve and there is writing close to the spine, the focusing depth is adjusted to ensure optimal image quality. 

With a capacity to scan up to A1+ sized material, this scanner has the capability to digitise a wide range of content from large artworks to small leaflets. With the option to use this equipment as either a unique book cradle or by laying the material flat on the scanning bed. It also has individually suspended plates that considers the weight of the object (particularly books) and automatically adjust so that the material is laid as flat as possible for best capture results.

Not only does the Bookeye have all this functionality it is portable enough for us to undertake work in situ at a client's archive. 

For further information on our services please go to:

Monday, 4 August 2014

Competition Winner!

With a flood of responses to our newsletter, we are happy to reveal our winner Michael Pryke! The correct answer was of course Quentin Blake. Here he is receiving his champagne prize, we hope he enjoys it!

Left: Sam Rowland, Accounts Manager.
 Right: Michael Pryke, Head of PR and Communications
The English-Speaking Union

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Charity Skydive!

One of our brave team members Iain Stringer is raising money for The British Heart Foundation by taking part in a charity Skydive in Reading on Sunday 19th July!

Max supports all of our staff with their charity fund raisers and has donated £100 along with other staff donations for this deserving cause.

If you would like to support Iain with this worthy cause or just feeling generous please follow the link below:

We wish Iain all the best of luck!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Farewell to Suren

Max would like to wish one of our talented team members Suren Abrahamyan good luck with his studies in Ancient History at Kings College London. We are very sad to see him go, but at the same time we are happy that he is going into further education in a subject area which he is both knowledgeable and passionate. We know he'll have a wonderful time studying at such a prestigious institution and we wish him all the best.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Gift for Pope Francis

Max is thrilled to have assisted the Archbishop of Canterbury with his remarkable gift to Pope Francis, which reproduces two images from the sixteenth-century register of Cardinal Reginald Pole, the last Roman Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury.

We are very honoured and grateful to be of service to the Church of England and we look forward to working with them in the future.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The Royal Garden Party

Max has been very kindly invited to the Royal Garden Party today, our Managing Director David Cordery shall be in attendance. We are extremely grateful for this recognition of our services to the Royal Household.

We hope he has a terrific time and we hope the weather stays clear for you all!

Friday, 23 May 2014


At Max Communications quality assurance is our top priority, we tailor our services to fit our client’s unique specification, whilst continuing to uphold our high standards.

This is one of the many reasons why we are so very pleased to announce that we have passed our ISO9001 quality management audit 2014!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Historic Royal Palaces Image Library

Max is very proud to announce that the Historic Royal Palaces have
just launched their online image library:

'A unique collection of contemporary and archive images of some of the

greatest palaces ever built.' - HRP

The images on the site look wonderful and we are delighted to be

associated with the project.

To visit the library and view this stunning collection please follow this

link: http://images.hrp.org.uk//en/page/show_home_page.html

The project doesn't stop there, only today we collected even more

glass plate photographs to be digitised! 

Friday, 16 May 2014

Max would like to thank everyone who came to visit us at the Museum and Heritage Show, another great year at the exhibition with some very exciting projects on the horizon. We are very much looking forward to seeing you all in the future.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Our team had a fantastic time at the Museum and Heritage show today, looking forward to seeing more of you tomorrow!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Here at Max we are eagerly anticipating the Museum and Heritage Show on Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th May. Come and find us at Stall 9!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Royal College of Art

Max are very happy to have recently completed work for the Royal College of Art.

Saturday, 21 September 2013


Max are very much looking forward to starting work on the Liberty Archive in the next couple of weeks.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Richmal Crompton

Richmal Crompton (1890 – 1969) was best known for her Just William stories. She originally trained as a Classics teacher and taught first at St. Elphin’s boarding school and then Bromley High School, which is less than 2 miles from Max's offices in Chislehurst where she also lived most of her life. She turned to full time writing after having contracted polio in early 1920s which left her unable to teach. The stories were published between 1919 (first published in the Happy Magazine) and 1970 (Newnes and later MacMillan).

The Richmal Crompton Collection was transferred to the University of Roehampton as a deposit by the Literary Estate of Richmal Crompton Lamburn in late 2007 with an opening in January 2008. It comprises of all her belongings associated with her as a writer but also private life such as material concerning her education or correspondence with family members and friends, and diaries. Of course there is a rich collection of manuscripts, drafts, jottings, radio plays, correspondence with fans and publishers (continuing after her death), press cuttings and of course photographs, etc. The collection also holds her private library, and last but not least her publications, namely Just William books in numerous editions and translations as well as her lesser known adult fiction.

Max are delighted to be digitising this fantastic collection.

The longitude problem: 300-year-old archive opened to the world.

It was the conundrum that baffled some of the greatest and most eccentric experts of the 18th century - and captivated the British public during an era of unprecedented scientific and technical transformation.

Now, for the first time, the full story of attempts to solve the longitude problem - unravelling the lone genius myth popularised in film and literature - is freely available to everyone via the Cambridge Digital Library at http://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/
The new Board of Longitude Collection includes the complete archive of the Board, held by the Library, along with associated collections from the National Maritime Museum. Treasures of the Longitude archive include accounts of bitter rivalries, wild proposals and first encounters between Europeans and Pacific peoples. This includes logbooks of Captain Cook’s voyages of discovery, the naming of Australia and even a letter from Captain Bligh of HMS Bounty, who writes to apologise for the loss of a timekeeper after his ship was ‘pirated from my command’.

The University Library’s Digital Library project was launched in June 2010 following a £1.5m gift from the Polonsky Foundation. University Librarian Anne Jarvis said: “With the digitisation of this incredible collection, we have taken another important step towards realising our shared ambition of creating a digital library for the world.”

Max worked onsite at the National Maritime Museum digitising 32,000 pages.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Page turning

 Max now brings you the ability to read your scanned books, magazines, newspapers online, just like you were reading the real thing with page turning technology. Please click the following link to see an example of such a procedure:

 'A Statement Regarding Sarawak'

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Altar Piece

 Crucifixion with Saints, 1348 - Daddi, Bernardo
Tempera on panel, integral frame gabled top.

The altar piece was donated by Courthauld Images, The Courthauld Gallery. 

Max printed the altar piece, the image of which was supplied by the Courthauld Institute, directly on to Foamex board which is lightweight for use but very strong. The image was then cut out to replicate the original 14th century Altar piece, for Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield, London.

Saint Bartholomew the Great is one of London's oldest churches. Founded in 1123 as an Augustinian Priory,  built when Henry I, son of William the Conqueror, was King. It survived the Great Fire of 1666 and both World Wars unscathed. Today the Church, which is well worth a visit, has appeared in numerous films including Four Weddings and a Funeral, Shakespeare in Love, Amazing Grace,Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and The Other Boleyn Girl, as well as in numerous television programmes, including The Hollow Crown.

Monday, 13 May 2013

3D Photography - A new service from Max

At Max we constantly strive to provide innovative and exciting services for the Culture and Heritage Sector. One of the latest services we can now provide is the three dimensional imaging of stills objects (3d photography)
Here is a link to an example of this service

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Our customer are lovely :-)

Sue in the scanning room just about to scan one of the many Quentin Blake illustrations that we've digitised over the years for his fantastic archive :-)

Thursday, 25 April 2013

How safe are your digital files?

‘It is said digital documents last forever or five years, whichever comes first.’

- Jeff Rothenberg (Rand Corporation, 2001)

You’ve invested a great deal of time, energy and money into digitising your archive and now it sits on external hard drives, on your PC, “with IT” or even just on DVD’s! But digitisation is not a “do it and forget” solution. Can you be certain that files won’t go missing, become overwritten, corrupt, be attacked by viruses or that they can still be opened by software in years’ to come?

The archives community now recognises that data disaster can potentially occur to most ordinary computer systems. Some are turning to a ‘cloud based solution’ but the Achilles heel of this solution is the need to be embedded within the internet. This could lead to potential data corruption and data theft vulnerabilities, with your files sitting with thousands of others belonging to organisations outside the heritage sector that have completely different storage needs.

Max has been working with digital heritage archives for over a decade and we have a profound understanding of the requirements for digital preservation. We have now designed a new and innovative digital preservation service that will mitigate virtually all data disaster scenarios. Together with a full consultancy service, we are offering a fully resilient digital preservation solution. This service includes systematic data comparisons to ensure data integrity across multiple devices at differing geographical locations, totally off-line.

We know that price can be an issue, so we are keeping charges to a minimum with costs as low as 3p per month per gigabyte/ £30 per month per terabyte.

We are exhibiting at the Museums & Heritage Show on the 15th and 16th May at Olympia, London. Why don’t you visit our stand for a friendly chat about this new service and our other associated services? Alternatively, email me and I'll send you a free report on digital preservation - or why not do both?!

Chris George
Business Development
T: 020 8309 5445
M: 07790 884050
E: chris@maxcommunications.co.uk

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Conservation of photographic materials and restoration of damaged images

Nitrocellouse was used as a low-order explosive and was originally known as guncotton. Nitrocellulose can be plasticized by camphor and from the 1880’s it was used as a film base for photographs, X-ray films and motion picture stock. This was known as nitrate film. Needless to say that numerous fires were caused by unstable nitrate film before it was gradually replaced by safety films based on the stable cellulose acetate film! Many large archives of film that hold vintage photographs or motion picture stock contain this potentially dangerous and unstable nitrate film.
We were recently commissioned by a client to carry out an analysis of their collection and Sarah Allen our photographic materials conservation expert identified that a significant part of the archive contained this potentially unstable film emulsion. The advice we were able to provide enabled the client to make special provision for this material.
Max in association with Sarah Allen has carried out several preservation assessments for organisations such as News International, The Government Art Collection, REME and others. Sarah graduated with an MA in the Conservation of Historic Objects and has since worked for the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, the National Trust and English Heritage, picking up conservation awards along the way!
The aims of the assessments she carries out are to determine the current condition of photographic collections and to recommend a series of steps to ensure the long term care.
Not only can Max provide preservation reviews, we are able to repair photographic material. Repairs can range from simple tears to more complex treatments such as stain removal or even total restoration of photographs that have suffered damage from cellulose triacetate degradation, more commonly known as “Vinegar Syndrome” due to the acidic smell emitted.

Restoration of a picture that had suffered serious damage due to Vinegar Syndrome

Sarah is shown below with a broken glass plate that was fully restored digitally. To enable the item to be scanned effectively before digitisation it needed to assembled (like a jigsaw puzzle) and held firmly in place with a bespoke mask.

For further information about our Photographic Conservation service then contact Chris George

Computer analysis of the correspondence of King George III to throw new light on his madness?

King George III life and reign were longer than those of any previous monarch. This reign covered the period of Great Britain defeating France in the Seven Years War and becoming the dominant European power in North America and India; the loss of Britain’s colonies in America in the American Revolutionary War; and concluded in the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Throughout his reign George III suffered from recurrent episodes of mental illness, and in the later part of his life mental deterioration was to become a more permanent feature. The story of his struggle with mental illness was made into a successful 1994 film the Madness of King George. This film depicts the relatively primitive medical practices of the time and the effort that his doctors made in understanding the human body. Modern medicine has suggested that the symptoms were the result of metabolic blood disorder known as porphyria and chemical analysis of his hair have revealed that his problems were compounded by arsenic poisoning. This arsenic poisoning may have been as a result of the medicines prescribed to treat his mental illness being contaminated with arsenic.
Scientists at St Georges, University of London, in collaboration with historians in collaboration with historians from Universities of Birmingham and Southampton, are seeking new insights into the progressive nature of his mental illness by computer analysis of his letters. This analysis is expected to shed new light on the time, course and duration of King George's deteriorating mental symptoms.  The research team is using detailed texts between the King and the prime ministers of the time; these texts vary in length from just a few lines to much longer. Letters from, before and after his known periods of illness and derangement will be compared. The sophisticated software used in this computational linguistics approach will identify textual abnormalities that are seen in patients with mental illness. These include measures of organisation and coherence in the use of language that emerge from statistical modelling of words and sentence meaning. The work was featured in the BBC Series “Fit to Rule” which deals with the impact of medical conditions on the history of Royal Households through the ages.
To enable the computers to carry out work effectively the text must be structured in a particular way for the software to work properly. Max was tasked with scanning many hundreds of letters from books published in the 18th Century and then carrying out optical character recognition of the text.

Lord North—I am so desirous that every man in my service that can with propriety take part in the Debate on Tuesday, should speak, that I desire You will very strongly press Sir Gilbert Elliott and any others that have not taken in the last Session so forward a part as their abilities make them capable of, and I have no objection to Your adding that I have particularly directed You to speak to them on this occasion
Max uses a sophisticated OCR system based around Abbyy Recognition server. Despite the high levels of accuracy that we achieve with our system it is inevitable that aberrations will occur. Once the OCR output was created our editors carried out a proofreading to publication service (or ‘POP’ service) to eliminate all ‘false line breaks’ extraneous characters or remove incorrectly spelt words to create a ‘pristine’ copy of the original text ready for inputting into the systems at St Georges University of London.
This important study is funded by the Leverhulme Trust and will the first time that computational linguistics techniques will be used to analyse large volumes of correspondence dating from the 18th Century.
For further information about our OCR service please contact Chris George at MAX
For information about the research project contact Dr Peter Garrard at the Neuroscience department of St Georges University of London

Friday, 12 April 2013

Our quality is now official!

Max is proud to announce that it is now certified as an ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management Standard compliant company.

Over the last three years Max has undergone a number of major changes including significant expansion of both personnel and services. This growth, which has led to perhaps inevitable growing pains, has made us reassess our internal communications, working practices, procedures and policies. The adoption and certification of the ISO 9001 quality management standard was a logical step for us to take, to cement what we have been aiming to achieve. Furthermore, the standard requires regular internal and independent external quality audit verification to ensure that we continue to comply.

What is ISO 9001?
ISO (International Standards Organisation) 9001 is a family of standards related to quality management systems. It is designed to help organisations ensure that they meet the needs of their customers. The certification of compliance with ISO 9001 recognises that the policies, practices and procedures of those companies ensure consistent quality in the services and products provided to clients.

What will this mean to our clients?
ISO certified processes, which are understood and applied by all our staff, will reduce the risk of production problems and so help to ensure that the services we provide will not only maintain the high standard that we have achieved to date, but will also ensure that our services can only improve over the longer term.


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Brooke Heritage Trust - Sarawak Photographic Album

The modern history of Sarawak, a small Malaysian state on the island of Borneo could have been dreamt up by a very imaginative script writer from Hollywood; in particular a scriptwriter that wrote exotic adventure movies!

James, Rajah of Sarawak
Rajah Muda Hashim  
This modern history began in 1839 when James Brooke arrived in Sarawak. Brooke was born in 1803 in India and was an army officer of the British East India Company. Upon his father’s death, James used his inheritance to purchase a schooner, the Royalist, and sailed for Sarawak. There he met with Rajah Muda Hashim, who was governing the region on behalf of his nephew, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II of Brunei. In 1840, Rajah Muda Hashim requested Brooke’s help to defeat a Dayak revolt in Kuching, promising in return the sovereignty of Sarawak. With his powerful cannons and superior military tactics, Brooke was able to quell the rebellion. In 1841 in reward for his success Brooke was appointed the first White Rajah of Sarawak in exchange for a small annual payment to the Sultan of Brunei. As the newly-appointed Rajah, Brooke took charge of what amounted to 3,000 square miles of swamp, jungle and river, much of it populated by the Dayaks. Brooke ruled Sarawak until his death in 1868.

Before his death in 1868 he nominated as heir his nephew Charles Johnson (his sister’s son) a former sailor who changed his surname to Brooke upon becoming Rajah. Charles despite been a very eccentric man at home, was to become a much-loved ruler. Charles extended the boundaries of the land under his control into the interior until it was the size of England, abolished slavery and built road, waterworks and even a railway. Apparently he even encouraged his British officers to take native women as lovers.

Charles was the ruler of Sarawak for fifty years and was succeeded by his son Charles Vyner in 1917.  During the reign of Charles Vyner Brooke Sarawak’s economy continued to prosper as rubber and oil production boomed. The rise in the economy enabled Charles Vyner to modernize the public service and other institutions. Brooke’s government was popular with the people and he continued to keep Christian missionaries out and foster most local traditions with the exception of head-hunting

In the 1940’s it became apparent that the Japanese Empire had ambition on the region. Sir Charles Vyner evacuated himself and family to Australia and this was just as well, because on December 25th, 1941 the Japanese invaded. The Rajah remained in exile in Sydney for the duration of the war. Eventually Australian troops liberated Sarawak in September of 1945 and Sir Charles Vyner returned to Kuching in April 1946. Unfortunately his tenure as Rajah was near to the end, and he ceded Sarawak to Britain as a crown colony in July 1941. This was strenuously rejected by the people of Sarawak through their native representatives on the Council Negri, and by the heir apparent Rajah Muda Anthony Brooke, who continued to fight for Independence against British Annexation up until 1951, when he finally withdrew.

Charles Vyner and his family returned to England with their three daughters to reside in London. Here Sir Charles Vyner died in 1963. He was buried with the other Rajahs of Sarawak at Sheepstor churchyard.  Rajah Muda Anthony died in 2011 and is buried beside the Rajahs at Sheepstor.
Sarawak was officially granted independence on 22 July 1963, and joined with Malaya, Sabah, and Singapore, in the federation of Malaysia 

The Brooke Heritage Trust is dedicated to the preservation of the heritage of Sarawak and was founded by the Brooke family. The Trust is a non-profit charitable trust dedicated to the heritage of Sarawak. The Trust maintains a large collection of documents, images and artefacts relating to the history of Sarawak and makes this collection publicly available at the Pustaka Negeri State Library in Kuching, Sarawak.
Max Communications was commissioned to digitise a photographic album of the country and people of Sarawak on behalf of the trust. This photographic album was donated to the Trust by the grandson of Sir Percy Cunynghame, Resident of the 1st Division Sarawak . The photographs within this album were taken by Charles Hose a keen photographer and district officer in Sarawak. Charles Hose distinguished himself as a geographer, anthropologist and collector of natural history specimens. His numerous journeys in the Baram District, brought him into contact with many interior tribes, who, through his influence, came under Sarawak control and made peace with Sarawak tribes.


The photographs within the album have been beautifully composed and are printed using platinum photographic paper which is the most durable of all photographic processes and are neatly captioned using letterpress pasted beneath the prints. The first 16 plates of the album show scenes in and around Kutching, the remainder of the album is devoted to studies of Dayak life and culture, with portraits, architectural views and studies of local life including a collection of shrunken heads!

Max produced a PDF representation of the book and also individual high resolution TIF and JPEG’s files of each picture within the album.
We are delighted to have digitised such an interesting photographic album.

For further information about the collections of the Brooke Heritage Trust contact Jason Brooke secretary@brooketrust.org

Friday, 5 April 2013

A number of you will have noticed that in the last 12 months Max Communications have had a face lift - not only are we now referred to as just 'Max' but all our stationery and website have been revamped. 

This new identity also got noticed on the creative website It's Nice That*. Daniel Chehade the designer of our rebranding was featured during an October article and his work on the Max identity was voted in the top 100 articles of the 2012.

It's nice to be noticed & thank you Daniel! 

Top 100 2012 article

Full article

Daniel is highly talented and a pleasure to work with. If you need something designed get in touch - daniel@chehade.co.uk

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics

Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics

Max is very pleased to be associated with this project. We were privileged to digitise the work of Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin who made crucial contributions to the discovery of DNA's structure in 1953 at Kings College London. http://www.kcl.ac.uk/newsevents/news/newsrecords/2013/03-March/Codebreakers-the-story-of-DNA.aspx

The Great Chart Letters

Great Chart is a village in the Ashford District of Kent. The village is typical of many English villages, with two pubs and a thriving cricket club. The village war memorial is located on the main road with the names of the fallen including the rank, place and date of death. Two rolls of honour hang in the parish church.
1915 was a momentous year in the history of the First World War and included the first German zeppelin attack, German U-Boats attacking allied shipping, allied amphibious attack on Gallipoli, first use of poison gas at Ypres and the sinking of the Lusitania. During this year Mrs Elizabeth Strouts started up the Great Chart Sailors’ and Soldiers’ fund. The Committee of this fund sent almost 600 parcels and 989 letters expressing goodwill and support to servicemen and in turn received back 1,605 letters and numerous ‘Field Cards’.
From the appeal notice of the fund:
“These men are making effort and sacrifice ‘Out there’. How great the effort and how great the sacrifice can never be realised. They are enduring unspeakable hardships, facing difficulties of so many kinds, grim dangers, probably mutilation and death, for the security of Home and for all that is held most dear.”
The letters received back from the servicemen are held in the archives of the Kent History and Library Centre within twenty-two bound volumes. The letters are from very diverse parts of the world and give a fascinating insight into the lives of servicemen during the First World War. The letters include replies by sailors on the North Sea, soldiers in the trenches in Europe and men serving in the British-Indian garrison 100 miles south of Baghdad.
Max is very pleased to digitise this collection of important letters for the Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone. With the coming centenary of the First World War this digitisation project is an excellent way of providing much greater access to these letters and also to help preserve them long into the future.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Max on Site

Many of the projects that we undertake are carried out at customer premises. Our clients come back to us time and time again because we place an overriding emphasis on developing friendly and long-term relationships.
Below is a scan of a leaving card given to one of our operatives who was on-site undertaking a scanning project at the archives of a major London University

William Morris Digitisation

The William Morris Society was established in 1955. The Society is based at Kelmscott House, Hammersmith, overlooking the Thames, which was Morris’s London home for the last eighteen years of his life.
Two years ago the Society were delighted to receive a donation from a local resident of two padded wooden boxes labelled ‘Costume and Jewellery’. The boxes contained glass lantern slides which it is believed were prepared for a lecture given by May Morris. May was the youngest daughter of William Morris.
Amongst the lantern slides of exquisite jewellery and embroidery are a number of family photographs including images of William Morris’s homes at Kelmscott Manor and the Red House in Bexleyheath. May Morris lived in the shadow of her illustrious father but was a very talented lady and an important figure in her own right within the Arts & Crafts Movement. Her love affair with George Bernard Shaw was said to have led to a divorce from her husband Henry Halliday Sparling; the secretary of the Socialist League in 1894.
The personal photographs in this collection include an original photographic negative of William Morris’s wife Jane Morris. This picture was taken in July 1865 in the garden of the famous artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti in Cheyne Walk, London. The photograph was taken by the photographer John Parsons but closely directed by Rossetti. Jane Morris became closely attached to Rossetti, becoming a favourite muse and the inspiration for many of his paintings. Their relationship is reputed to have started around 1865 and lasted on differing levels until his death in 1882.
Max is very pleased to be able to digitise these compelling set of original photographs which provide such a unique insight in the life of William Morris.

Images reproduced with the kind permission of The William Morris Society.

Call Chris George at Max now on 020 3617 8835

Friday, 19 October 2012

National Aerospace Library - Royal Aeronautical Society

The National Aerospace Library located in Farnborough holds  an extensive archive of material recording the evolution of Man's  attempts to conquer the dream of flight from prehistory to modern times, recording developments in aeronautics,  aviation, aircraft / aerospace technology and the civil and military operation of aircraft throughout the ages through its various collections.

American Air Museum - Roger A Freeman Photographic Archive

Roger A Freeman Photographic Collection

Roger A, Freeman was a noted aero-historian who’s specialist subject was the 8th Air Force operations during Word War II. He wrote what is considered the definitive popular history book entitled the ‘Mighty Eighth’ and contributed to many documentaries and films about the Eighth and even acted as technical adviser to David Putnam’s film Memphis Belle.

BUFVC - News on Screen Archive

The British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC) is a representative body, which promotes the production, study and use of moving image, sound and related media in higher education and research.  Their ‘News on Screen’ archive contains some 80,000 newsreel production documents from the likes of Gaumont, Pathe and British Paramount News, which formed the basis of twice-weekly news bulletins shown in cinemas up and down the land and were the primary news source for millions.  Max was asked to convert the archive into a searchable resource. 

The archive presented a particular challenge as it contained many duplicate images as a by-product of its creation over the years. We were able to identify these duplicates, not only "true" duplicates in computing terms, but also "lookalikes" such as photocopies which were almost indistinguishable to the human eye.

Image above by kind permission of British Universities Film and Video Council

KIngs College London - X-Ray Imaging of DNA Molecules

One of the most momentous discoveries of our era is of how the structure of hereditary material is comprised within every living organism’s cells. Francis Crick and James Watson proposed a structure for DNA in 1953 and their model was underpinned by the work conducted the previous three years beforehand at the Medical Research Council Biophysics Unit of King’s College London. The prime movers in obtaining the raw data for Crick and Watson to help formulate their momentous discovery were Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin. Wilkins and Franklin were responsible for refining x-Ray technology to a new level of clarity, resolution and sophistication in the newly formed Medical Research Council Biophysics Unit of King’s College in London.
Because of the very precious nature of these x-Ray Films Max was given the task of scanning them onsite at Kings College. The x-Ray images were originally captured on a wide range of film sizes ranging from small images right up to long rolls. The rolled images were scanned in stages and later joined together by our highly skilled image restoration experts.

Images above by Kind Permission of Kings College London

Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers - Scrapbook

The Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) is a corps of the British Army that has responsibility for the maintenance, servicing and inspection of almost every electrical and mechanical piece of equipment within the British Arm, ranging from Apache helicopters to dental tools and utensils. In fact after World War II REME was brought into assessing the possibility of starting up production of the Beetle car as transport for the occupying forces and this ultimately led to the formation of the VW Car Group!
A significant part of the fascinating history of corps is documented in a number of bound photographic albums at the REME Museum of Technology.
Max was commissioned to digitally photograph these precious albums and produce high-resolution copies of each individual picture within the album.
We are proud to be associated with this project and we have already provided the REME Museum with approximately 10,000 quality images from these fascinating albums.

Image above by Kind Permission of the REME Museum of Technology

Gigapixel Image Capture - Diamond Jubilee Portrait

For the official Diamond Jubilee Portrait of the Queen, the British based Australian artist Ralph Heimans created a large scale and life-sized painting. MAX was commissioned to create a Gigapixel image of the painting at a resolution that would reveal every intricate brushstroke.


Images above used by Kind Permission of Ralph Heimans

To create a digital copy of the painting we used a Hasselblad camera fitted with a Phase One camera back. However, even the most sophisticated medium format digital cameras are not capable of revealing all of the detail of such a large-scale work. We therefore shot twenty-eight individual pictures of sections of the painting, which we merged into one seamless image of over 1.5 GB in file size using the latest imaging technologies. To generate a prefect image we had to ensure that the lighting was consistent and that there was no glare from the highly glossy surface of the delicate oil painting.

LSE - Digitisation of the 'Beaver' newspaper

London School of Economics
‘The Beaver’ is the weekly newspaper of the London School of Economics Students Union at the LSE.
MAX Communications was commissioned to digitise all issues since 1949 when the newspaper was first produced.
The work involved colour balancing and sizing of each individual copy to be incorporated into ‘page turning software’. The work demanded full image consistency to capture the look, feel and content of each page. 

The archive of back issues is now a searchable resource and we were responsible for the full Optical Character Recognition of over 20,000 pages of text. The output of the OCR process involved production of PDF/A, full Tif images, text and XML files.