Access rarely-seen hidden gems in our collections

IWM holds a vast and unique collection covering all aspects of conflict from the First World War to the present day. Despite digitisation being a major part of our collections’ management process, the media viewable online is only a fraction of the archive material in our care.

In 2020, IWM initiated Digital Futures, a five-year preservation project to digitise 1.8 million films, photographs and sound recordings of our most vulnerable media from the Cold War era. 

To facilitate requests outside of this programme, IWM offers a fee-based digitisation on demand service. If media is not available on IWM Collections we can organise new digitisation for your project/use.

Our photography studio is fitted out with specialist equipment to produce high-quality digital images of posters, maps, paintings and 3D objects. We also offer an expert digitisation service for analogue photographic and audio-visual material.

Pricing

Fees for photography range from £50 for a book page to over £200 for photography of large three-dimensional objects or scanning film to 4K resolution, although discounts can often be negotiated for bulk requests.  View our pricing guide for more details.

Tailored photography with very specific requirements is quoted on a case-by-case basis and there is an extra fee when photography of delicate, heavy or hard-to-access objects is requested. Licence fees are also applicable if you intend to use IWM collection material commercially.

Contact us

To discuss requirements and enquire about costs, please contact the media licensing team

Frequently Asked Questions
How do I make an order for new digitisation?

Browse IWM Collections and if media is not available on the object record, contact us to enquire about access and options for digitisation.

Enquiries related to film digitisation can be emailed to [email protected] and for anything else [email protected], ensuring that the relevant IWM reference number(s) are included.

Once the copyright status/availability for digitisation of the item(s) has been checked, the team will provide a quote for your consideration.

Payment is required before any order is processed which can be made online or by bank transfer. 

How will I receive my order?

All orders are delivered digitally via an email download link. Format to be advised on confirmation of order and an estimate of delivery time notified on receipt of payment.

On average this is 10 working days but allow up to 15 working days for 2K/4K film digitisation.

Is everything in the IWM collections available for digitisation?

Unfortunately, not everything can be digitised due to a number of factors: condition, preservation, location, size and rights. Any non-standard orders (i.e. large, hard-to-access, requiring special handling) will be discussed separately with the customer.

IWM is currently undertaking an extensive digitisation programme of our sound collection with the entire collection to be digitised and made accessible online by 2025. We are therefore no longer offering a digitisation on demand service for individual sound items.

What output formats and resolutions are available?

Scanning and photographic digitisation

Includes photographs, maps, 3D objects, paintings, artworks and posters.

Format supplied: High-resolution (300dpi) image files in TIFF format as standard.

Film digitisation

8mm, Super8mm, 9.5mm, 16mm and 35mm

Format supplied: HD at 2K and 4K

We also offer a lower-resolution, IWM branded MP4 file which can be a cost-effective solution for a preview digital copy, as well as being suitable for non-commercial/domestic use.