Sunday, January 24, 2010

Scanfest is Coming!

The January 2010 Scanfest will take place here at AnceStories next Sunday, January 31st, from 11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Standard Time. It's been two months since our last Scanfest, due to the Christmas holidays.

Scanfest may be a new term for some of my new readers. 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 document 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 (or for stubborn spots, use a little eyeglass cleaner, again, sprayed onto the cloth, not the glass), 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 Cover It Live, a live blogging format that you access right here at AnceStories.

On Sunday at 11 AM, PST, come right here to AnceStories and you'll see the CoverItLive 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.

Up to 25 individuals can be invited to be Producers. Producers are participants who have the extra capability of sharing photos, links, and other media within the forum (great for sharing the photos you're scanning!). You must have Internet Explorer 6.0+ or Firefox 2.0+ to be a Producer.

We can also have up to 25 other Participants who can comment freely in our conversation, but will not be able to share media. You can have any kind of browser to be a Participant.

In addition, any other readers of this blog can drop on by and view/read what is happening at Scanfest. If the 25 Participant spaces are full, those readers will not be able to comment, unless someone else drops out.

Confused? Have questions? Go to CoverItLive and check out 6. Try It Now to see live blogs in action or 7. Demos to see videos demonstrating how to use CIT (especially the ones titled "How do my readers watch my Live Blog?" and "Adding Panelists and Producers").

If you would like to be a Producer, please e-mail me no later than Saturday, January 30th at 4 PM, PST and I'll send you an invitation. Preference will given to previous Scanfesters. You must set up an account (free!) ahead of time to be a Producer. This account will be good for all future Scanfests. You can do some practices ahead of time by going to My Account and clicking on the link under Practice your live blogging. Again, you must have IE 6.0+ or Firefox 2.0+ to be a Panelist.

As a Producer, Participant or simply a reader, if you would like an e-mail reminder for Scanfest, fill out the form below and choose the time frame for which you would like to be reminded (if you're reading this through Google Reader, Bloglines, or some other RSS feed reader, you will need to go to my blog and view this post there to see and utilize the form).

It really is easier than it sounds, and I'm looking forward to seeing you all there and getting some scanning done!


Anonymous said...

I'm brand new to the world of scanning, and I have a question: why must photos be saved as .tifs? My husband, a graphic artist, scanned some for me before and made them .jpgs. Is this wrong? I don't want anything to happen to my scans!

Thanks for indulging a scanning n00b...


Miriam Robbins said...

Good question! The answer is posted here, and although it refers to postcards, the information is the same.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

Thanks for stopping by to read "Nutfield Genealogy," and it has brought me to your blog, too. I really enjoyed this post and I'd love to try the online activities next Sunday night! I hope I can log on!

Miriam Robbins said...

Hi, Heather, we'd love to have you...just a note, Scanfest is during the day (at least in the US, it is)...11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Standard Time. You don't need to log on, just come right here to the blog and you'll see the Scanfest post. You'll be able to add your comments and as soon as I see them on my special Cover It Live dashboard, I'll approve you so they all display as soon as you comment.

See you Sunday!

Joan said...

I am looking forward to Scanfest tomorrow. i hadn't been getting your posts - dinna know why. Then this morning I decided that I had better check to see why. Somehow I wasn't a "follower" which was strange because yours the first that I "followed" --- of course, at that time I dinna know what I was doing. Anyhow, I am back as your loyal "follower"--see you tomorrow.

Robin in Short Pump said...

Just want to mention that Photoshop Elements 8 has a "Divide scanned photos" feature and the Mac version has recently been released to catch up to the PC version.

I wish I'd had this last fall when I scanned beaucoup old family photos while at a family reunion. I put as many as would fit on the flatbed at a time, burned to DVD and then manually separated them when I got home. It was a big, time-consuming job.

I don't have this version of PSE so haven't tried it, but the video tutorial I saw looked pretty awesome.

Miriam Robbins said...

Joan, there are two ways you can be notified about my posts. You can set up Google Reader, Bloglines or your favorite RSS reader and subscribe to AnceStories using that. You can also get my posts directly in your e-mail. On my blog, look in the right-hand margin at the top and you'll see "Add This Blog to Your Blog Reader" and "Get Updates via E-mail" where you can make these choices.

Thanks for being a faithful reader, and I'll "see" you tomorrow!

Miriam Robbins said...

Robin, thank you for this information. I hope you'll join us at Scanfest tomorrow and share this information with the Mac Scanfesters. :-)