Saturday, July 28, 2012

Scanfest is Coming (with some changes)!

The July 2012 Scanfest will take place here at AnceStories tomorrow, Sunday, July 29th, 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 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 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 (here are the changes):

We will be using Cbox, a live blogging format that you access right here at AnceStories. On Sunday at 11 AM, PDT, come right here to AnceStories and you'll see the Cbox live chat window in the top post. You will not need to download any software.

Why the change? CoverItLive, the chat platform we have used in the past, changed its terms of use for its free version. It is now limited to 25 views per account per month. As you can imagine, more than 25 people visit Scanfest each month, either during its live session on the last Sunday of each month, or later, to catch up on what they missed. We will be trying out Cbox to see how it fits Scanfest's needs. We may try other chat platforms in the future to find the best fit for Scanfest and our Scanfesters.

I'm looking forward to seeing you all there and getting some scanning done!


Kenneth R Marks said...

Miriam - why scan to a .tif file rather than jpg? I have always scanned directly to jpg with high resolution. Could you please enlighten me?

Thanks, Kenneth

Miriam Robbins said...

Good question, Kenneth. I have written about why you should scan to a .tif file in depth on my post "A Beginner's guide to Scanning Postcards". Even though it refers to postcards, it is even MORE relevant to photographs. I hope this answers your question. If not, please join us during Scanfest and we can chat about it!