Thursday, January 24, 2013

6 Tips for Scanning Success: Guest Post on the How to Archive Family Keepsakes Blog Book Tour

In February 2013, AnceStories’ Scanfest will be Six Years Old! Miriam Robbins organizes and hosts this popular monthly event that welcomes anyone with a stack of scanning and a few hours to spend chatting with other family historians. Scanning can be a boring task, but Scanfest actually makes it fun!
Make the most of your scanning time with these tips to help you get the most from your scanning equipment and make the best use of your scanning hours.

Guest Post by Denise May Levenick, The Family Curator, author of How to Archive Family Keepsakes (Family Tree Books, 2012).

The #1 Secret to Scanning Success

Are you getting the best possible results when you digitize family photos and documents? Check your scanning savvy with these 6 Tips for Scanning Success.
Clean the Scanner Glass
Yep, sounds pretty basic but it’s easy to forget. Old photos and documents are often dirty and may even lose bits of paper when handled. Use a microfiber cloth (used for eyeglasses or computer screens) to clean smudges and dirt from the glass of your flat bed scanner. For tough jobs, lightly wet the cloth – not the glass – then wipe the glass firmly with the damp cloth.
Use the Right Equipment For the Job
Equipment does make a difference in the end result.  Your keepsake originals should only be digitized with a flat-bed scanner or digital camera. DO NOT run heirlooms through a sheet-fed scanner where they could be mangled and torn. Wand scanners are fine for books and pristine documents, but less direct handling is safer for old paper.
Oversize documents can be difficult to manipulate for on an 11 x 14-inch flat bed scanner; minimize the potential for damage by using a digital camera mounted on a copy stand or tripod.
Set Up A “Scan Station”
Make use of every minute by keeping your equipment ready to go. If you have space, set up a Scan Station near your computer on a file cabinet or table. Keep your scanner connected to your computer with an external hard drive ready for file storage. Use two trays or boxes to organize your work: To Be Scanned, Scanned. Don’t file away the originals until you have added filenames and tags in your photo organizing software.
Break Your Work Into Scanning Sessions
Save time and be more efficient by breaking your scanning into two work sessions: In session one, complete the actual scans; in session two, finish the computer work: add file names; write metadata -- captions from the back of photos, tags with people, places, events, copyright info; and place originals in archival storage.
Attend a Virtual Scanning Party
Scanning hundreds of old photos, letters and documents can be a time-consuming task. Join an online scanning party and watch your To Be Scanned pile dwindle down to nothing.
Check AnceStories for Scanfest, hosted by Miriam Robbins at the AnceStories website, and 4YourFamilyStory for Sunday ScanDay on FaceBook hosted by Caroline Pointer.
And My All-Time Favorite #1 Secret to Scanning Success –
Use Professional Mode
Most scanners come pre-configured for easy scanning. You don’t have to do anything after hitting the Scan button. But if you want access to some of the best features of your flat-bed scanner, you’ll need to unlock the Professional Menu. Look around on your scanner for a drop-down with more options, or check out the manual. You may have Auto, Home, and Professional modes (on Epson), or some other configuration.
When you get to the Pro Menu, you will be able to set the best resolution for your project, choose mode, target size, and unlock color correction and descreening features. If you aren’t sure what all those options can do, refer to the manual or the handy Scanning Guide in my book, How to Archive Family Keepsakes (chapter 9).
For most purposes, you only need to work with resolution (or DPI) and select Photo or Document. If you wish, you can check Color Restoration to automatically restore faded 1970’s color prints, or Descreening to get better images of newspaper articles.
Guest Post by Denise May Levenick, author of How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia & Genealogy Records by Denise May Levenick (Family Tree Books, 2012). Copyright, 2012, Denise May Levenick. All Rights Reserved.
How to Archive Family Keepsakes (Family Tree Books, 2012) ISBN 1440322236
Paperback / eBook Family Tree Books,, Scribd, iBooks, Barnes& 10% Savings Coupon ShopFamilyTree.
Join the Blog Tour
Join the Blog Book Tour for How to Archive Family Keepsakes January 10-26, 2013 for author interviews, book excerpts, giveaways, and more. Visit the Blog Book Tour Page at The Family Curator website for the complete schedule.
Proceeds from the sale of How to Archive Family Keepsakes during the Book Tour will help fund the 2013 Student Genealogy Grant founded in 2010 in honor of Denise’s mother, Suzanne Winsor Freeman.
Blog Book Tour Giveaways
Comment on daily Book Blog Tour Post
Tweet the Tour Twitter @FamilyCurator #keepsakebooktour
Share the Tour on FaceBook, Google+, Goodreads
It’s easy to enter to win a free copy of Denise’s new book or one of the weekly giveaway prizes. All you have to do is leave a comment to the Blog Tour Post hosted at one of the official tour blogs. Random winners will also be selected from social media comments on Twitter, FaceBook, and Google+.
Each blog tour post comment gives you one chance to win; one entry per post per day, please. Leave a comment at each stop on the blog tour and increase your chances of winning. The lucky names will be announced each Saturday during the tour at The Family Curator.
About the Author
In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” Denise May Levenick is a writer, researcher, and speaker with a passion for preserving and sharing family treasures of all kinds. She is the creator of the award-winning family history blog, The Family Curator and author of the new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia and Genealogy Records, (Family Tree Books, 2012).

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Mary Perkinson Nelson said...

Thanks for the tip about using Professional Mode. I never knew it existed. I continue to learn something new each day of the blog book tour.

Cheri Hudson Passey said...

These tips are so timely! I have a scanning project I am working on the moment. I had no idea that there was a Professional Mode to unlock! Thanks so much!

Bonnie said...

Another tip I encourage is when scanning documents, do them at high enough resolution and capture as a PDF. With my Acrobat software, I can then scan them for OCR capture and make them fully text searchable. Great for yearbooks!

Anne D said...

Thanks for the scanning tips. I'll have to check my scanner for Professional Mode. I'm enjoying your blog tour.

Anne D said...

Thanks for the scanning tips. I'll have to check my scanner for Professional Mode. I'm enjoying the blog tour.

Family Curator said...

Don't feel left out... it took me a while to find that Pro Mode too! I love all the new tools that it allowed.

Bonnie - good plan to scan as PDFs. It's a stable format and good for archiving. I use TIFF and often convert to PDF to save file space, because I can edit or enlarge those tiny yearbook photos as TIFF files.

Thanks for stopping by the Tour. ~ Denise

Carla Lee said...

Great tip on using the "professional mode." Guess I'll have to look for mine. I'm not sure I even knew there was one! LOL

Anonymous said...

Resolution is key. Always scan at the highest DPI you think you will need. You can always make a copy with lower resolution, but not the other way around.

Shelley Bishop said...

I love the idea of setting up a Scan Station. It sounds like a great way to work through things. And I've never heard of Professional Mode before--I'll have to check my scanner settings. Thanks for the great tips, Denise!

Kathleen said...

Thanks for the great tips on setting up the scanner! How important is it to select document when you are scanning a letter as opposed to photo?

Robyn said...

Professional mode is great, and you can save your preferred settings so you're all ready to go when you have some time to scan. You can save seperate settings for documents, photos, slides, etc.

Family Curator said...

Kathleen, If you are in Pro Mode you can make settings that are best for Documents anyway, but Photo or Doc helps give you a start. In Home or Guided Mode it's about the only way to tell the scanner what you are working with.

Hope this helps. ~ Denise

Miriam J. Robbins said...

Kathleen, it depends upon the document. If it's a typed letter or statement, especially a modern one, I would use the document setting. If it is a vintage record, I would likely use the photo setting to ensure capturing any image details.

PamGHolland said...

I think the scan station and scanning sessions are great ideas. I am already thinking about how to set that up and hope to get lots of scanning done soon!

Kimberly R said...

I started using my Professional mode right away because I have so many faded prints. But I never knew that Descreening was for Newspaper prints. Thanks for the tip!

Miriam J. Robbins said...

Apparently some of the comments didn't make it to my email, so I apologize for publishing them so late!