Bigger treasures are not necessarily better, but they are a bigger challenge. My grandmother saved everything, and I am slowly and carefully scanning and storing each photo, letter, and document. That is, except the growing stack of oversize items that are too large for my flatbed scanner. I have hesitated to send them off to the Never-Neverland of a mail-order scanning service. . . who knows where they would go or how they would be cared for?
That is, until I met the founders/scanners from ScanDigital at the Southern California Genealogy Society Jamboree last June. Matthew Stone, Vice-President, Operations, was answering questions in the exhibit hall and explained the service and procedures, emphasizing the LOCAL operation. ScanDigital's offices are located in El Segundo, the family beach-town known as one of L.A.'s best kept secrets. This didn't sound quite so scary. I was assured that all scanning was done on-site, not sent off to a foreign country (and, I didn't even know that some places did that!)
When I came across a cache of large panorama photos from the 1920s and 30s, I decided it was time to try ScanDigtal. Since my son and daughter-in-law actually live in El Segundo and offered to drop off the photos for me, it didn't seem like I was sending my precious heirlooms off into the boonies. Katie was asked to use the lobby computer and register an account. She left the photos and within days we received an email that the order was complete; she returned to pick up the photos and image CD. Pretty nice daughter-in-law!
Images were scanned at 600dpi as JPGs,as requested. As I do not plan to print the photos or greatly enlarge any portion, I felt the standard ScanDigital resolution would probably be fine. The scans came out clear and straight, but it was obvious my photos had major problems. Years spent tightly rolled resulted in creases, cracks, and tears; these will need some restoration work.
ScanDigital was careful not to cause further damage to the photos, and as a result some images bear slight shadows where the scanning technician held back from flattening the photograph to the glass. When I called to ask about this, ScanDigital offered to rescan those images, but I will wait to do so until (and if) I am able to relax the photos.
My conversations with ScanDigital left me very curious about their facility and procedure and I asked if I could bring in my next photos personally and take a tour.
I imagined a large warehouse full of Kinko's-size scanners or maybe a front office and a fleet of vans who rushed orders to an nearby warehouse where the "big" equipment was manned by an army of busy technicians. There would be a low hum from the machines and everything would be sterile and white.
I think they were a bit surprised by my request, but said to just "come on by." So, I did.