12 March, 2011

The Minute Book scanning project

Members who regularly attend our meetings will know that we have embarked on a project to digitise the Society's minute books. The paper volumes are currently archived at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and are only available for reading by special request. The scanning project will make our minute books available for anyone to read online or by download to a PC or mobile device.

In a future post, we will outline the technical details of the project. For now, however, we are pleased to release the first volume to be scanned.

Minute Book Volume 7 (1910-1923) - view online

or download a copy for viewing on your computer or mobile device. If you are not reading the book online, you will need to install a DjVu player to read the book.

Suitable DjVu players for:
iPhone/iPod Touch

The reason for choosing the DjVu format rather than pdf is that it offers the best balance of image quality vs file size. To give an example, the full set of image files for Book 7 takes up around 11GB. This is compressed to 55MB using DjVu with minimal loss in quality. The equivalent pdf file would be about 700MB. We feel that this significantly reduced file size is sufficient justification for using a relatively uncommon format. DjVu is an open standard and will, we hope, stand the test of time. We plan to maintain copies of the minute books in other file formats (including pdf) just in case, but because of bandwidth constraints, may not make them available on the web.