The John Johnson Collection: an Archive of Printed Ephemera

Project start date: 2007-04 Project end date: 2009-03
The project catalogued, conserved and digitised an extensive selection of materials from the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera housed in the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. It represented an innovative joint enterprise between the Bodleian Library and ProQuest which resulted in the digitisation of more than 65,000 complete items (well in excess of 150,000 images) from the Collection, accompanied by detailed catalogue records. Over a two-year period, selected items within five high-demand research areas (Entertainment, Booktrade, Popular prints, Crimes, murders and executions, and Advertising) were digitised to the highest standards and made freely available to all teachers and researchers working in UK Higher and Further Education, and to the general population via terminals in UK public libraries.
Methods usedCategory
2d Scanning and photographyData capture
Cataloguing and indexingData structuring and enhancement
Content-based image retrievalData analysis
DocumentationStrategy and project management
Image enhancementData structuring and enhancement
Risk managementStrategy and project management
System quality assurance and code testingStrategy and project management
Interface designData publishing and dissemination
CurationStrategy and project management
preservationStrategy and project management
Collaborative publishingData publishing and dissemination
Funding sources: 
Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
Content types created: 
Still Image/Graphics
Software tools used: 
Source material used:  
The material selected for conservation, cataloguing and digitisation comprises a wide array of different types of printed document, including posters and handbills for theatrical and non-theatrical entertainments, broadsides relating to murders and executions, book and journal prospectuses, popular topographical prints, and a wealth of different kinds of printed advertising material.
Digital resource created:  
Online search facility at
Data Formats created: 
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), JPEG, TIFF
Production of compressed JPEG files from uncompressed TIFF files for web dissemination.
Metadata standards employed: 
Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS)
Tomkins, David [et al]. The Electronic Ephemera project: digitizing the John Johnson Collection. The Ephemerist: Journal of the Ephemera Society, No. 143, Winter 2008, pp. 12-19.
Lockyer, Louise. Capturing a Collection. Icon News: the magazine of the Institute of Conservation, Issue 21, March 2009, pp. 18-21

Institutions affiliated with this project: 

UK HE institutions involved:
University of Oxford
UK HE institutions involved:

Project staff and expertise: 

Principal staff member:David Tomkins
Other staff:Computing officer(s) / Technical supporter(s), Postdoctoral researcher(s) / Research assistant(s)
External expertise:

Metadata on this record
Author(s) of recordDavid Tomkins
TitleThe John Johnson Collection: an Archive of Printed Ephemera
Record created2010-01-26
Record updated2010-05-06 15:31
URL of record
Citation of recordDavid Tomkins: The John Johnson Collection: an Archive of Printed Ephemera.
created: 2010-01-26, last updated 2010-05-06 15:31