This paper reviews the processes involved in the digitisation, display and storage of medium size collections of photographs using mid-range commercially available equipment. Guidelines for evaluating the performance of these digitisation processes based on aspects of image quality are provided. A collection of photographic slides, representing first-generation analogue reproductions of a photographic collection from the nineteenth century, is treated as a case study. Constraints on the final image quality and the implications of digital archiving are discussed. Full descriptions of device characterisation and calibration procedures are given and results from objective measurements carried out to assess the digitisation system are presented. The important issues of file format, physical storage and data migration are also addressed.