Following the successful completion of the Clayton Database, funding was sought for the digitisation of two more collections, Hans Sloane's Jamaican specimens and those of Paul Hermann from Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The Heritage Lottery Fund generously donated the necessary funds to allow the digitisation of the specimens for both these projects. Both collections consist of dried specimens mounted into large bound volumes. The Sloane collection comprises seven volumes and the Ceylon collection five, one of which contains illustrations only. The provision of digital images and a database not only provides much more widely accessible information on these important collections via the Internet but will also considerably reduce the handling of these historical volumes.
Using a large-format camera with a digital scanner attachment, the images were fed directly into a computer using Photophase. The volumes are large (approx. 40 cm x 53 cm) and vary in the number of specimens each contains, but there are frequently several to a single page Their different shapes and thicknesses have caused the pages to be uneven and rippled. This meant that when photographing the specimens a longer exposure time needed to be used to give a greater depth of field. In some cases, the pages were so uneven that the longer exposure time could not always compensate for this, which has resulted in some areas being slightly out of focus. The images were processed using Photoshop 5.0. In cases where the specimen or drawings were larger than the actual page, and had been folded over, several images were taken and then amalgamated. All other specimens and illustrations were taken in their entirety and with no image adjustment, although in a few cases the contrast was changed to enhance an otherwise faded specimen. Barcodes were placed on the pages while being photographed and later added to a separate list. The images were then processed into three sizes in order to create thumbnails and full-screen images for the web page with a resolution of 72 dpi. All images were saved as JPEG files. The original, higher resolution images have been archived to CD as TIFF files for future use. The Internet pages were produced using Dreamweaver 3.