Recording Guidelines

The following guidelines for recording finds under the UKDFD scheme are designed to ensure that material uploaded to the database is of a satisfactory quality to facilitate identification and contribute to the scheme’s value as a research resource. Failure to adhere to the guidelines may result in rejection of the record.


Images should preferably be produced by digital photography, and must be sharp and of a sufficiently high resolution to permit identification. Images produced by scanners are only likely to be acceptable if the scanner has a lens system. Most modern printer/scanners do not meet this requirement. The image quality is of paramount importance. Unless a minimum standard is met, it will not be possible to identify the item, and the record will not be of any value to users of the database.

The only acceptable file format is jpeg (jpg). Images should be 24 bit colour whenever possible. Individual image file sizes should be in the range of 100KB to 250KB. Very small file sizes may result in an unacceptable record, due to lack of detail, and images with file sizes exceeding 500KB may fail to upload.

The specific photographic requirements are as follows:

  • The object, including any external shadow, must be completely and comfortably within the frame (i.e. not cropped close to the edge).
  • The background must be plain, ideally white, but at least neutral and not brightly coloured, patterned or textured. If Blu-Tack or hands are used to support an object for photographing, they must be positioned such that they are not visible on the image, or removed from it without trace prior to uploading.
  • The object and the background must be clean and free of loose debris, soil and corrosion products.
  • The lighting must be uniform across the image, not light at the top and dark at the bottom, or from one side to the other.
  • Any drop-shadow must be light and transparent – don’t photograph in direct sunlight.
  • The object must be in sharp focus.
  • Coins, buttons and other flat artefacts must be photographed squarely, not obliquely, in order to prevent distortion.
  • To avoid unsightly shadows, coins, buttons and other flat artefacts must be photographed lying on a flat surface, not stood on their rim.
  • The photograph must be correctly exposed, neither too dark, nor too light.
  • Do not include a size scale of any type on images, as the size is required to be specified separately. Inclusion of scales, or other objects as scale indicators, might result in rejection of the record.
  • Images of objects must be correctly orientated. For example, coin images must always show both sides the right way up. Please note that inverting photographs after they have been taken is unsatisfactory, due to the reversal of lighting.
  • Post-photographic processing of images may be undertaken, as necessary, to remove surplus background and correct any shortcomings in respect of the foregoing requirements.

Please note that existing records should not be used as a basis for assessing image quality requirements.


Please complete as many of the data fields as possible, and take care typing to minimise any errors.

Certain fields are mandatory, and it will not be possible to proceed unless these are completed. They include those that provide basic information required for identification (e.g. Material and Size), and those that provide information regarding the location of the find (e.g. Findspot and Parish). Spurious or inconsistent information entered into the mandatory fields will result in rejection of the record.

All dimensions must be in millimetres and all weights must be in grams. If possible, dimensions should be recorded to at least one decimal place and weights to at least two decimal places.
Coin legends and other inscriptions should be typed in upper-case letters. Other fields should be completed in ‘sentence case’ letters.
Note that special characters like Æ and Ð, as found on Anglo-Saxon coins, and diacritical marks on letters such as é, ë and è, can be copied and pasted from MS Windows 'Character Map'.

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