Help me welcome Denise Levenick to 4YourFamilyStory.com. Today she's sharing an excerpt from her book, How to Archive Family Keepsakes. And? She's talking about scanners. So take a look at her recommendations and suggestions. Also? Don't forget to comment on this blog post for a chance to win an Archival Kit! ~Caroline
Book Excerpt from How to Archive Family Keepsakes by Denise May Levenick
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
1/14/2013 12:23:24 am
I hadn't thought converting the jpegs to tiffs - that really helps with my use of the Flip Pal. I love it for scanning snap shots but wanted to save those to my archive of picture.
1/14/2013 12:59:37 am
Yep, Diana. And it's simple to do: some photo programs use Save As, others use Export, but they will convert from JPG to TIFF and the other way around. Sabe at maximum quality and resolution and you are good to go... I mean, good to archive!
1/14/2013 01:35:09 am
what is a copy stand that you mention using with cameras?
1/14/2013 03:45:10 am
Bonnie - A copy stand holds a camera directly above the book or page you want to photograph to shoot down onto the page. The standard tripod holds the camera level to shoot forward, not down, although some tripods feature a removable center mount that can be reversed to work like a copy stand.
1/14/2013 03:12:43 am
What a great explanation of the different kinds of digital scanning options! I need to make a more concerted effort on the after scanning time though. Organizing all those files can be daunting.
1/14/2013 03:47:44 am
Thanks, Jennifer. I agree; scanning can be a bit of a chore! It's a lot more enjoyable with a group. Caroline sponsors Sunday ScanDay that makes it actually fun. Check out the link in the sidebar of this page.
1/14/2013 04:14:50 am
What a lot of information to digest! I am so glad I started digitizing documents a couple of years ago when I got my laptop. I can only image what my paper files would look like with all the newspaper articles, death certificates, and census reports for all the collateral lines I am working on. I hadn't thought about a wand scanner, but may check one out the next time I go to the electronics store. Thanks for all the great suggestions.
1/14/2013 09:23:34 am
You are most welcome, Ginger. I have never used a wand scanner, but they seem to be very popular at the Family History Library. My digital camera and FlipPal Mobile Scanner do just about everything I need on site.
1/14/2013 04:25:47 am
Great article and information! I am part of Caroline's Sunday ScanDay on Facebook. We have a great group and the hour goes by so quickly! Having this scheduled in every Sunday is starting to put a dent in my scanning pile!
1/14/2013 09:28:18 am
Sounds like a lot of fun. I'll look for you there! ~ Denise
1/17/2013 09:35:15 am
Thanks for the shout out for our scanning group! I'm glad that it's proving helpful.
1/14/2013 09:30:14 am
Thanks, Lisa. I'm happy to know you are finding my book helpful.
1/14/2013 07:26:23 am
So I see I need to add a copy stand to my list of things to buy. How expensive are they?
1/14/2013 09:27:31 am
Elyse - Unfortunately, copy stands are NOT inexpensive. Mr. Curator made me a DIY gem that is on my list for future blog posts. I'll move it to the top of the list!
1/14/2013 07:40:34 am
I have an all-in-one hp officejet. my cousin and I spent a Saturday scanning photos from her photo album. We tagged all of the people in the photos and then made a CD and mailed one copy to first cousins. I keep the original on my hard drive, but have a CD also. What photo editing program do you recommend? I currently don't have one loaded on my notebook.
1/14/2013 09:33:11 am
Congratulations on your project, Kathleen. Sounds like you are really making progress. You are smart to make an external copy of your photos. LOCKSS - Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe.
1/14/2013 08:03:05 am
Thanks for the webcam tip Denise. I hadn't thought of that. I do use both my digital camera and phone for mobile scans and a flatbed at home.
1/14/2013 09:34:07 am
The webcam is low quality, but handy at times! Hope you give it a try.
1/14/2013 09:11:16 am
What great ideas ... I have my Flip-Pal and my all-in-one printer/scanner/copier, but it never occurred to me to use my webcam. Perfect !! Thanks for the tips!
1/17/2013 09:39:12 am
Thanks, Mary Beth! I'm glad you found the web cam tip helpful.
1/14/2013 09:21:56 am
I have a magic wand but need to practice with it more. I use my flatbed scanner for most scanning. I had never thought about using my web cam.
1/17/2013 09:40:33 am
1/14/2013 09:36:33 am
I like to utilize digital cameras when at research facilities. I find that if I use the cameras macro settings I get the best images of documents. I'm generally fairly close to the document which is why it works with the macro setting.
1/14/2013 10:21:46 am
Great tip, Jim! I forget about that handy feature. On my camera it is activated by the "little flower" button. ~ Denise
1/14/2013 09:58:51 am
The best solutions for me has been a desktop flatbed scanner for when I'm at home, and a Flip-pal mobile scanner for 1) scanning oversized items at home, and 2) for scanning all sized documents and photos of when I interview a family member out of town. I just found a long-stored away photo of my GGM Essie Chernorudsky and scanned it this morning in 8 different bits, and the software that came with the mobile scanner figured out how to piece it back together, like a quilt. Magic!
1/14/2013 10:24:00 am
Jane - Photo-stitching is pretty awesome, and FlipPal makes it soooo simple. I've had good luck using the stitching feature in Photoshop Elements, too, but the FlipPal is hands-down easiest.
1/14/2013 11:12:05 am
Thanks for pointing out the pros and cons of the various types of digital scanners. The information here makes the FlipPal sound like a good investment.
Very nice compilation of what is available when it comes to scanning. I didn't realize how much I like my 'toys' - is it considered a problem if I've used every one of these options, depending upon the application? I hope not!
1/14/2013 02:48:00 pm
What a great summary of scanning equipment and techniques, Denise. I'm in the market for a new scanner, so it's quite timely. Congratulations on your book--it definitely fills a need in the family history community!
1/15/2013 02:10:30 am
Thank you for posting this.. It is a timely post as I'm attempting to get my business and ancestry all digital. Or as much as I can.
1/15/2013 06:09:12 am
Great summary. I have an Epson V600 flatbed scanner which I really like. It has attachments to do slides and negatives which I have quite a lot of. We're having a family reunion this year, so I have more incentive to get going with my scanning project!
1/15/2013 10:44:13 am
Thanks for all the suggestions. I've learned my lesson about bringing extra batteries with me. I was copying pictures at my father's house when the batteries died and of course I didn't have any extras with me. Lesson learned.
1/16/2013 10:27:57 am
Do you need more than one scanner, Wendy? If you have the space and funds, it sure is helpful to have just the right tool for the job. I'm a gadget-fan too, so I sympathize! ~ Denise
1/16/2013 03:44:58 pm
Great article and super tips in the comments section, too! I've long been wanting to get better organized with my prints and digital images and you have given me lots of inspiration and instruction to get moving on that project. We recently purchased a slide scanner and I look forward to getting to see those long-lost images once again. Thanks for all of your good ideas.
1/17/2013 09:43:32 am
Denise had some AWESOME tips in her excerpt. Many thanks for her stopping by and sharing with us on her Blog Book Tour.
1/18/2013 11:05:16 pm
I like the idea of getting an all-in-one printer-fax-copier-scanning machine to take up less space on my desk. Right now I have my old scanner perched on a shelf on top of my old and huge monitor. But when that old monitor dies and I get a new flat screen I won't have that option.
1/19/2013 02:36:21 am
I have an old scanner that works fine and has all the feature I need but when upgrading to windows 7, I was unable to use the software in the new computer so I have to keep the old computer for running the scanner. Some juggling of files and flash drives but still worth it to be able to use the scanner until it crashes. It is about 8 years old and still running strong. I believe in using what you have and not tossing it for a new pretty one.
1/19/2013 02:47:15 am
I love reader comments, and there are some great ideas here. Yep, it's tough keeping up with technology, Jim and Pam, and helps to consolidate equipment if you can. I'm a fan of a dedicated flat-bed scanner because it's faster and the software has more features than my all-in-one, but then, I do A LOT of scanning too. If you only need the equipment occasionally, an all-in-one makes good sense.
1/23/2013 01:27:23 am
Love the tour concept and tips. I have forwarded the information about the tour onto my genealogy societies Facebook pages. Have placed your book on the society wish list, as it covers one of the most common questions we, as a society, recieve. How do I save and/or share my genealogy with others?
I do have most of my records saved digitally and I have them backed up and also saved to family history websites, but I still cling to my hard copies. I have large notebooks (sometimes 2 or 3) for each branch of my family tree. Yes, I know I am "old school", but I want to be able to hold those records in my hand and I want to be able to see them whether I have electricity or not.
I don't really recommend wand scanners. It's too easy to ruin the photos by not scanning in a completely straight line. Believe me, that is a real problem :)
5/4/2017 01:42:08 am
That's some useful information and it's help people to save their documents with some power full tools
6/13/2019 09:14:57 am
I found it interesting that you state that you should find software that has variable file formats. My brother is looking to get some old documents scanned into the computer and wants them to be protected during the process. I will send him this information so he can make sure to look for the proper high-speed digital scanning equipment.
8/19/2019 05:16:58 am
11/2/2019 01:17:57 am
Nice post author.Thank you. Keep it up.
9/19/2020 02:09:17 am
Was hoping you’d consider including our Shield Security on your list? We’ve got stack in our plugin that goes beyond many of those included here. Would be great if you’d consider it! :)
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