Barnardo's Taps TopFoto to Digitizes Archive

Posted on 4/1/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

When Barnardo's, an Essex children's charity established in 1867, decided to digitize its historical image archive, it turned to Kent-based editorial image distributor TopFoto.

London doctor Thomas Barnardo began his crusade to rescue destitute children by creating the East End Juvenile Mission in 1868. The mission soon engaged the services of a photographer and by 1874, set up an in-house photo department. Barnardo realized the power of images in fundraising, the only way to continue the charity's rescue efforts, according to the charity's U.K. director of marketing and communications Andrew Nebel.

Every child that entered the charity was photographed, and Barnardo's archive now consists of some 500,000 images. While originals are being preserved as historical evidence, Nebel says the organization also wanted to bring the library up to date by making it easily available for use. TopFoto, which already manages over 16 million images from 40 international suppliers, will digitize and make available for licensing 150,000 of the earliest Victorian photos.

TopFoto will license the images to earn income for the charity, as well as to promote Barnardo's continuing work with U.K.'s most vulnerable children. The digitizing effort will also be useful for Barnardo's department of Making Connections, which handles ongoing inquiries from ex-service users and their families.

TopFoto spokesperson Flora Smith sees the compelling images as most suitable for social history, documentary and educational publishing uses. "[The collection will be] especially interesting worldwide, as many of the Barnardo's children went to projects in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa," she said.

TopFoto's expertise ranges from current editorial imagery to the unusual and hard-to-find. The library places particular emphasis on collections of cultural and historical significance. Recently, TopFoto launched the TimeSearch engine, which helps picture researchers locate images by offering a historical context.

For over 30 years, TopFoto has rescued, preserved, indexed and represented a number of archives from all over the world, including those owned by Roger-Viollet of France, Caro Photo of Germany, Photo New Zealand and APs. In 2007, TopFoto and its founder and managing director Alan Smith received the BAPLA award for outstanding contribution to the image-licensing industry.

Copyright © 2008 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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