At 4YourFamilyStories, Caroline Pointer is always on the cutting-edge of new technology that will move our genealogy forward and make our family history work easier and more productive. After reading Caroline’s review of How to Archive Family Keepsakes I hope that you are energized and enthusiastic about your own family archive project.
This Guest Post for the How to Archive Family Keepsakes Blog Book Tour features an excerpt from Part 2: Break the Paper Habit, Organize and Digitize Your Paper Documents.
Genealogists have so many choices when it comes to technology for digitizing our family history documents that purchase decisions can be difficult to make. I am happy to answer your questions about specific models and features for the equipment mentioned here, and I know that Caroline will be joining in to share her expertise as well. And when you leave a comment to this post you will also be entered to win one of the Family History Archive Kits offered as a Blog Book Tour Giveaway!
Scanner Options for Genealogists and Family Historians
As you go paperless, you’ll need tools to help convert your paper files to digital. A home office scanner is a workhorse in the paperless office. For mobile scanning, you may already own two of the most useful digitization tools: your mobile phone and your digital camera. Here are several choices to help you digitize your documents:
Office All-in-One Scanner
Paper isn’t the only thing that can pile up in a home office. You may be consolidating office equipment too with an all-in-one printer-fax-copier-scanning machine. These devices typically offer a flat-bed scanning surface, and may include a sheet-fed attachment as well. Look for software with variable file formats and scanning resolutions. Third-party software can add additional features, if desired.
Flat-bed Photo Scanner
Use a flat-bed scanner to digitize fragile documents and photographs from your family archive to make digital master copies. When purchasing a new scanner, look for one that is designed to scan both documents and photos, and comes with it’s own software. Software that offers batch-scanning features can make your project go faster.
If you plan to digitize negatives and slides, you will need a negative or slide carrier attachment to hold the transparencies above the glass bed of the scanner.
Portable Flat-bed Scanner
These machines are about the size of a netbook computer and weigh less than a pound. Power comes from standard AA batteries; files are saved to a SD Media Card.
These pint-size workhorses like the offer many of the features of a full-size flat-bed scanner, but be prepared for a few trade-offs. Models I tested offer JPG scanning only and a glass scanning surface of 5 x 7-inches. You can work around these limitations by converting JPG images to TIFF to create Digital Master Copies (or by saving a JPG as your Digital Master Copy). The unique see-through feature can also scan oversize items. Built-in software stitches multiple scans together to form one complete image from several individual files.
While the small screen size can be inconvenient, it easily accommodates the popular 4” x 6” snapshots in many home collections. Portability and ease of use make little scanners a great option if you travel often or need to a family member’s digitize photos. Remember to take extra batteries and memory cards with you.
Portable Wand Scanner
If you are looking for the smallest scanning solution, a wand scanner may suit your needs although most devices require a steady hand and some practice for optimal results. You will also be limited in file format, resolution, and scan image size.
This option is best for library researchers who need to copy bound materials for off-site study.
Portable Sheet-fed Scanner
Mobile researchers may also be interested in a small sheet-fed scanner that offers portability, speed, and ease of use. This kind of scanner feeds paper through the machine over the scanning head and is best for office and research documents, not for heirloom originals.
Mobile Phone or Tablet Camera
This portable pocket “scanner” is especially useful for digitizing notes, receipts, and other business or personal information. In a pinch, use your smart phone camera to snap gravestone photos or take the place of a library copier.
Some mobile phones and most tablet devices cam expand their capabilities with inexpensive specialized apps. From scanning to photo-enhancement, these programs can help you maximize the usefulness of your mobile devices for genealogy.
A digital camera is the family historian’s go-to tool. It can snap photos at the family reunion, capture a full image of Aunt May’s scrapbook, and record your museum travel expenses so they aren’t lost before you are reimbursed by the client.
Add a tripod or copy stand to your equipment and you have a portable scanner. Travel with extra batteries and memory cards so that you minimize down-time.
You might not think of your computer camera for digitizing, but it does a fairly good job for quick scans of office documents, especially small receipts, business cards, and notes. These files can be added to your working digital documents files to replace the bits and pieces of notepaper that create clutter.
Not all digital projects require the same quality images or merit the time and effort required for full 600dpi TIFF format files. Choose the digitizing method that best suits your purpose as you work towards minimizing paper clutter and becoming a more effective family historian.
Excerpt from How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia & Genealogy Records by Denise May Levenick (Family Tree Books, 2012). ISBN 1440322236
Paperback from Family Tree Books, Amazon.com; PDF eBook from Scribd
10% Savings Coupon ShopFamilyTree.
©Copyright, 2012, Denise May Levenick. All Rights Reserved. www.thefamilycurator.com.
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 <http://www.thefamilycurator.com/book-tour/>.
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
What would a book tour be without prizes? It's easy to enter the contest, and you could win a free copy of my book or a great Family History Archival Kit. One name will be drawn on Saturday, 19 January 2013 and a second name selected on Saturday, 26 January 2013 to win the archival kits. Runners up can win free print or digital PDF copies of my book.
To enter, leave a comment to the Blog Tour Post hosted at one of the official tour blogs. 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. Random winners for free books will also be selected from social media comments on Twitter, FaceBook, and Google+.
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 www.TheFamilyCurator.com 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).
In the scanner shopping mood?
Check out my Flip-Pal page for the current specials and check out my Amazon Shop with my scanner recommendations. Please note: I am an affiliate for Flip-Pal and Amazon. When you click on any links and purchase something, I will receive a small referral commission. ~Caroline