What do 70,000 images equal?
The Official Records series AWM 95! A three year project consisting of 47 shelves, 234 boxes and 2575 files. AWM 95s are the Commanders' Diaries of the Australian Army ranging from 1948 to 1975, covering the Malayan Emergency, Malay Peninsula and the Vietnam War. Most diaries consist of a cover with an index, a daily narrative of events, and annexes. The AWM 95 series is the latest digitisation project to be completed by the Australian War Memorial.
The 95s were prioritised for digitisation due to the poor quality of the paper and the high demand which these files received from the public. The paper, being highly acidic, has a short shelf life. A large percentage of the records were printed on thermal transfer paper which over thirty years has tended to fade and eventually will disappear. Each file has been scanned to a preservation standard of 600 dpi JPG on a flatbed scanner. The images are saved to file and backed up on tape and a second copy, a PDF file, is created for the web. The aim of all these scans is to capture the pages as they appear currently. We try to be as close to the original as possible and so none of the scans we make are digitally enhanced in any way. Therefore, some files may be hard to read. Some diaries contain overlay maps printed on thin plastic. These, folded at the time, have now become fused into that position and can no longer be unfolded for either scanning or complete viewing. In each case a note has been added to the file online.
With the whole series being digitised we have managed to achieve more than one goal. The files themselves have now been preserved for the future, the original is protected from handling and all the diaries are now accessible to not only those who visit the Memorial's Reading Room but to all those who have access to our website around the world.
You can read the AWM 95 war diaries series on the Memorials website.