By Nick Sinis

THE Phillip Island Conservation Society (PICS) has been busy turning its history into a digital archive to help preserve its work for coming generations.

PICS has had volunteers collecting newspaper and magazine articles, pamphlets and other small documents into scrapbooks since the 1960s.

Some of the cuttings go back as far as 1910, which has become a very valuable archive.

As newspapers can be notorious for yellowing or fading, the organisation decided digitising the whole collection was the best way to go, and hope to make it publicly available online. Fortunately, PICS life member Christine Grayden has experience as a museum curator and has already done quite a bit of cataloguing and digitising of collections.

PICS committee member Michelle Maes was keen to help and is now coordinating the project. Member Sharyn Cornthwaite has also volunteered to help and has joined the digitising project team.

“Although there are many articles and pamphlets not yet put into scrapbooks, the current archive comprises approximately 50 scrapbooks, which contain 72 pages each,” Christine said.

“About 65 pages on average for each scrapbook have articles on them… so there’s about 3150 pages in total.”

The members have had the meticulous task of numbering each scrapbook, which took many hours to complete.

“From there, Michelle, Sharyn and I worked out a system of numbering for the pages and the articles on each page, so that the number will show clearly for each scan. We are currently investigating the most suitable means of making the digitised archive publicly accessible. This may be through the Victorian Collections website, which is already currently used by the Phillip Island and District Historical Society and Churchill Island Heritage Farm,” Christine said. “Once we have digitised a few of these scrapbooks, we will commence cataloguing and uploading the content to start making it available to anyone.”