Digitising collectionsTe whakaahua matihiko i ngā kohinga taonga

There are various benefits to creating digital records of your collection items, including:

  • access – increasing exposure of your collection to the public via websites and other digital media

  • preservation – reducing the need for handling or disturbance of objects in-house.

Digitisation can be a time-consuming process. Don’t feel like you have to digitise every object. Select the more important items in your collection and start with them.

How to digitise your collection

An introduction to digital imaging for museums and galleries

These guides were created by Te Papa.

Part 1: Getting started, archiving, image integrity, file types (760.74 KB)

Part 2: Aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, histograms, exposure (2.86 MB)

Part 3: Post-production, tripods, autofocus, photographing behind glass (3.30 MB)

Part 4: Portraits, composition, installations, quick guide (1.91 MB)

DigitalNZ and National Library also have information you may find useful.

How to photograph 2-D objects

Te Papa’s Imaging Team Leader demonstrates a simple process to photograph flat items such as paintings, drawings, photographs, and prints.

How to photograph 3-D objects

Museums Australia (Victoria) shows you how to set up an affordable studio to photograph 3-D objects.

Photography lighting sheets

The lighting guides below show how Auckland Museum achieved certain looks for different collections and object types. In it, they've included setup images, technical explanations, and samples of the end results.

Lighting Sheets

How to digitise audio recordings

The National Library of New Zealand details a process for converting heritage audio collections to digital format.

Digitisation of heritage audio collections – National Library of New Zealand

Camera, 1946-1957, England, by Eastman Kodak Company. Gift of Mrs W G Conroy, 1999. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (GH009092)