19 Aug 2016

Soldat Heinrich. A German soldier’s past in digital form

Recently, I undertook a small-scale digitisation project, which converted a German World War II Wehrpass (military passport) and related official documentation into digital form. They belong to a 19-year old private and his sister, Gertrud Wolters. All materials originate from a larger collection
of original historical manuscripts and photographs. They were sourced from various family members in Germany who participated in WWII.

This project focuses on Heinrich Jakob Wilhelm Wolters, who was killed in action in the Kamyanets-Podilsky region, Western Ukraine, in 1944. Heinz died at nineteen years of age and was the only son of Anton Wolters and Maria Kouker.

Almost nothing is known about Soldat Heinrich’s brief life. All immediate and personally knowledgeable relatives are deceased. The selected source materials represent an attempt to create a digital snapshot of his life as a Gefreiter (private) in the Wehrmacht. Accompanying descriptive information was sourced either from related documents or directly taken from the materials.

The following equipment was used and as best as possible calibrated as part of all pre-scanning preparation activities. This also included the running of test scans to confirm appropriate image file structures.
  • Desktop PC: Dell PC OptiPlex 7020 Desktop / Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Monitor Model: Dell LCD Monitor 43cm(17-inch), Model number: E178WFPc / Monitor-inbuilt calibration options for image and colour display adjustment
  • Scanner spec: low-end Epson Stylus SX125 (printer/scanner box) / Epson Creativity Suite / Scan Assistant
    • Scanner type: Flatbed colour
    • Photoelectric device: CIS
    • Effective pixels: 5,100 × 7,020 pixels at 600 dpi. Scanning area may be restricted if resolution setting is large.
    • Document size: 216 × 297 mm (8.5 × 11.7 inches) A4 or US letter size
    • Scanning resolution: 600 dpi (main scan) 1200 dpi (sub scan)
    • Output resolution: 50 to 4800, 7200, and 9600 dpi (50 to 4800 dpi in 1 dpi increments)
    • Image data: 16 bits per pixel per color internal 8 bits per pixel per color external (maximum)
    • Light source: LED
  • Adobe Photoshop CS5: Photo editing software for post digitisation image processing.
    • Brightness/contrast
    • Levels (Histogram adjustment)
    • Curves Presets (tone correction)
    • Exposure, Offset, Gamma Correction
    • Modification of raw digital files (TIFF) was kept to a minimum and explicitly used to more accurately represent the source materials physical state.
Online Exhibition System
The Omeka open source web-publishing platform was chosen as a suitable online exhibition space for this project.

The project lives at soldatheinrich.omeka.net


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