The project was assembled with a Pentium 233 Mhz network station with a 6.4 Gb HDD and 32Mb RAM, and a Gateway Solo 2500 S5-200SE laptop.
|All images were captured using a Umax Astra 121OP flatbed scanner and a Kodak DC120 digital camera.|
|The web pages were constructed with Adobe Pagemill 3.0 and the images edited with Paintshop Pro 5.|
Although the project staff had no previous experience of assembling pages for the Internet using HTML we found it to be surprisingly easy with the above hardware and software. After an initial period of working on web pages in the HTML code to familiarise ourselves with the language, we switched to Adobe Pagemill which made the construction of template pages both quick and easy (particularly where tables and cells were involved!). At a price of around £70 Adobe Pagemill coped with almost everything we asked of it; although we found retrospective editing of pages created in this way from the source code alone was not straightforward.
Although using the flatbed scanner gave us high quality images from archival documents it did raise questions concerning the conservation of fragile or tightly bound materials. We were initially advised to scan the images for our web pages at a low resolution so as to speed the downloading process; however as the project depends on good quality images of original material we decided to use better images and accept that there would be a trade-off in terms of download time. Most of the images were scanned at a resolution of 300 dots per inch. This allows reduction of colour depth without too much loss of detail. The final images used on the pages were Graphic Interchange Format (gif) files.
|The average size of one of our web pages (including images and buttons) is probably around 130KB. In any case, as we hope the site will have a long life, we preferred to exploit tomorrow's technology.|
|The digital camera was particularly useful in capturing images of urban and rural landscapes. It is very striking when you compare a scene from an old black and white photograph with a modern colour image of the same scene. The digital camera gave us the ability to achieve this in a few hours. We also used it to show communities referred to in the records (helpful for browsers who are unfamiliar with those aspects that make Powys special). It also proved useful for getting images of documents, especially maps, which were too large to scan. (To see an image captured in this way, click here.)|
Perhaps the most important thing we have learned from the twelve months of Phase 1 is that the design of the pages and the site as a whole is paramount. The actual assembly of pages in HTML has turned out to be easier than anticipated - but we were fortunate to be able to exploit the skills and experience of a project assistant who had previously worked in exhibition and graphic design and on publications. In the end, we came to the conclusion that it was more useful to us to imagine the website as an electronic exhibition space than as an electronic version of the printed page.
For more information on the design elements of the project, click here.