Sunday, May 24, 2015

Scanfest is Coming!

The May 2015 Scanfest will take place here at AnceStories this coming Sunday, May 31st, from 11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time.
What is Scanfest? It's a time when geneabloggers, family historians, and family archivists meet online here at this blog to chat while they scan their precious family documents and photos. Why? Because, quite honestly, scanning is time-consuming and boring!

Scanfest is a great time to "meet" other genealogists, ask questions about scanning and preservation, and get the kick in the pants we all need on starting those massive scanning projects that just seem too overwhelming to begin.

To get started, you need to know the basics about scanning:

1. Don't use commercial glass cleaners (i.e. Windex) or paper towels to clean your scanner's glass plate. Use a soft, clean cloth, preferably microfiber. If you must use a liquid, use water sprayed directly onto the cloth  and make sure to let the plate dry thoroughly before placing photos or documents on it.

2. Wear cotton gloves (available at many art and/or photography supply shops) when handling photos and old documents.

3. Don't slide the photos around on the glass plate. Place them exactly where you want them. Photos should NEVER be scanned by a scanner that feeds the document through the machine, but ALWAYS on a flat-bed scanner.

4. Set your scanner to scan at no smaller than 300 dpi (dots per inch). Many experts recommend 600 dpi for photographs.

5. Photographs should ALWAYS be scanned and saved as .tif files. Use "Save As" to reformat the .tif file to a .jpg file for restoration and touchups, emailing, or uploading to an online photo album. ALWAYS retain the original scan as a .tif file.

6. Documents can be scanned as .pdf files or .tif files.

7. When you are done scanning your photos, don't put them back in those nasty "magnetic" photo albums. Place them in archival safe albums or boxes found at websites such as Archival Products or Archival Suppliers. Do NOT store any newsprint (articles, obituaries, etc.) with the photos. The acid from the newspaper will eventually destroy the photograph.

Now about the chatting part of Scanfest:

We will be using Blyve, a live blogging platform that you access right here at AnceStories. On Sunday at 11 AM, PDT, come right here to AnceStories and you'll see the Blyve live blog/forum in the top post. It's not really a "chat room," per se, it's more like a live forum and anyone visiting this site can read and see what is happening in the forum.

You will not need to download any software.

We look forward to having you participate with us!

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Kate said...

Very informative post! When I am ready to tackle the big job, this guidance will help.

Miriam J. Robbins said...

Thank you, Kate! We'd love to have you join us at any time!

Sarah L said...

Why a .tif format, rather than .jpg for photos? What is the benefit of .tif? I saved all so far as .jpg, and my brothers use pdf.

Miriam J. Robbins said...

Hi, Sarah, that's a great question and one that's often asked. .Jpg file formats are unstable and deteriorate over time, while .tif file format are stable.

I wrote more on this topic on a post titled "A Beginner's Guide to Scanning Postcards." Step 5 of this post goes into the details of why .tif is better than .jpg.

I hope you can join us during Scanfest to learn more. You can drop in at any time during the three-hour event. Thanks for dropping by and posting your comment!

wildcatmom said...

If I've scanned hundreds of photos already, will it be acceptable to convert them to tif. I just don't think I have it in me to re-scan all and many aren't available now. The massive amount of memory needed.

Miriam J. Robbins said...

I came up with the same problem when I first learned about this. For the photos you no longer have access to, definitely convert them to .tif. But if you have access to the photos (especially antiques), it really is worth it to rescan them as .tif files.