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Monday, 1 August 2011

Felixstowe Digital Archives by Jim Williams

My name is Jim Williams and I am a Soldier with the Salvation Army in Felixstowe. The Digital Archive was launched on January 1st, 2010 with 2033 images. This article is to explain the why and how the Archive came into being.

Four years ago the Salvation Army, through their help and fellowship, helped me through a low point in my life and it was at this time I was reading an article in the War Cry prior to a meeting. The article related to a book by Dr Francis Collins, who headed up the team that decoded the human DNA. The book, ‘The Language of God’, describes how you can be a Scientist and have a faith and one line jumped out; ‘GOD OPERATES OUTSIDE NATURE’.

It was like being hit by a truck. Before I assumed God was bounded by our physical laws of nature, but once I realized this wasn’t so anything became possible. I purchased the book and many of my questions were answered; since then I have been in communication with Dr Collins.

I had been inviting Jesus into my life but frustratingly nothing happened. During a Small Group study, I asked Jesus into my life and on April 18th, 2007 at 11.28pm, I came to faith.

I needed something to give back to the corps and as I cannot sing or play an instrument, I turned to my life long hobby of photography and latterly computing; with the culmination in 2010 being granted my Licentiateship by the Royal Photographic Society. The idea for the archive was born.

The Archive has been based on the late Charlotte Horridge’s Pictorial History’ and ‘Focus’ our bi-annual in-house magazine. Many of the photographs were taken by Stan Cracknell, the Corps Photographer, who also looks after all the earlier pictures. Stan also provided information about the photographs, along with Bernard Rayner who also edited the book and the magazines.

It has taken took 18 months to digitally transfer all the images and to add the narrative. The strength of the Archive lies in its search facility and the images can be located by name, location, event, date etc. With Stan suffering from health problems, I have taken many of the images over the last few years.

For the technically minded all the images are imported into ‘Lightroom’ where all the manipulations are carried out. The images are renamed and full size jpeg images are exported to 2 external drives as back up and low resolution images are exported to a designated file. A FTP file is then used to transfer the images into the Archive where they are transferred into the correct Albums and the narrative for each images is added.

Currently we have 3614 images that have been viewed 68632 times from 50 countries with images being added weekly. If anybody has any questions about the Archive, I can be contacted at jim@felixsa.org.uk . The Archive can be viewed at http://www.felixsa.org.uk/  and I would appreciate any feedback.

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