The Board of Trade Design Register is unusual in combining text, images and artefacts, and so presents challenges for both access and preservation. It comprises registration records and representations of nearly 3 million designs, registered for copyright protection between 1839 and 1991, for a wide range of materials and products.
Discovery, the online catalogue of The National Archives, provides series-level information on the whole collection, and has recently provided item-level access to the text-based registration records in Series BT 43/44, covering 1842-1883/4. Enhancing access to the designs themselves, whether in person or online, is challenging for many reasons, e.g. the millions of designs, the large size and weight of the volumes, and the diverse media, scale and condition of the representations.
We’re investigating ways to present online the sensory appeal of some representations, e.g. the smooth, shiny finish of ‘chintz’ textiles, the embossed surfaces of some papers, and the texture of straw-work. Filming provides one way to capture the experience of handling, examining and recording the designs. Continue reading »