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There is a pressing need for the development of a National Soils Photographic Image Collection. The subject has been raised in the Council of the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) and a desire for it expressed by many of its members. There are already a large number of photographs, slides and digital images awaiting organization and cataloguing. There is considerable potential for substantially enlarging this educational collection through donations from BSSS members and others. The collection has significant potential as a resource for students, researchers and educationalists and government departments in terms of representing the wide and varied conditions of soils in Britain and abroad. With the increasing interest in soils worldwide at many levels, e.g. schools, media, government and European Union, the establishment of a National Soils Photographical Image Collection that can be accessed on the web, with files downloaded where necessary, has considerable merit. It will add to materials currently available to support the better use and understanding of soil. The challenge up to this point has been to find the best means to secure, store, promote and disseminate the collection. This web resource, managed by Cranfield University, UK, now assumes the responsibility for these activities with the support of the British Society of Soil Science.

The Photographic Image Collection

Over the years, members of BSSS and other groups and individuals have accumulated a very considerable collection of photographic records of soil and soil-related themes. These include photographic plates, 35mm slides, 35mm negatives and, increasingly, digital photographic files. This facility will select from the best of these to draw together an authoritative set of images reflecting soil profiles and landscape conditions, initially in the UK but ultimately also overseas.

Physical Archive Storage

Cranfield University has considerable experience and expertise in managing and cataloguing soil and soil-related artifacts and their related metadata, having built up the World Soil Survey Archive and Catalogue (WOSSAC) with support from BSSS. Within WOSSAC, soil reports and maps are stored securely together with existing records and satellite imagery in a managed, controlled environment. It is proposed that the National Soils Photographic Image Collection be stored physically alongside these materials. Digital versions of images will now be stored on Cranfield University’s servers.


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