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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Entries in flip-pal (2)


    Archiving JPG Scans and Photos from Your Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner, Digital Camera, and Mobile Phone

    Nebraska summer

    Nebraska Summer
    JPG 614 KB vs. TIFF 9.2 MB

    It's no coincidence that compact mobile scanning devices produce only JPG files. Whether you are using a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner, a cell phone camera, smartphone app, wand scanner, or point-and-shoot digital , the resulting digital file is a JPG image file. 

    JPG files use compression to keep the overall file size small so that more images can fit on a storage card or hard drive. Small portable devices like the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner and digital cameras need this kind of high-capacity storage. The Flip-Pal is completely battery-powered and saves scanned images to a small SD card, probably like the one in your digital camera. The included 2 MB SD card will hold about 900 scans at 600 dpi resolution. That's a lot of photos in a very small space.

    JPG vs. TIFF

    In the world of digital imaging, JPG is a hero because the file format can compress an image to save space. This compression makes it possible to email a photo, send a file for printing, or post pictures to Pinterest or Facebook. But every time a JPG file is Saved, a bit of the information within the file is lost. Hence, JPG files are known as lossy files. For the average photo that is opened a saved a few times, the image loss is probably undetectable to the average eye. But when a photo is opened, edited, and saved repeatedly, the image can become almost unusable.

    It doesn't matter if the JPG image originated in your digital camera, your wand scanner, or on your smartphone, the JPG file will degrade with repeated Saves. How many? I tried to correct a poor quality digital photo over several sessions with my photo editing software; after more than a dozen attempts the image became blotchy and filled with pixellated artifacts. 

    Professional archivists and photographers have always had more demanding goals than consumers. They want to preserve original materials, and recommend using TIFF loss-less file format for archiving images. Unfortunately, TIFF files can be huge, and even with the current low price of terabyte storage, TIFF files are impractical for sharing and storing on portable devices. 

    In the world of digital photography, the equivalent of TIFF format files is RAW, another very-large file that requires some amount of post-photograph developing. Most family photographers don't need or want to learn to "shoot RAW."

    What Genealogists Want

    Family historians want it all. We want digital files we can

    • share with friends and family
    • post on websites, social media and sharing sites
    • print at our local big box store
    • edit and use in digital photo albums and scrapbooks
    • include in video slideshows and presentations

    AND, We want to create these digital files

    • without power cables
    • without computer cables
    • without a lot of fuss
    • wherever we happen to be at the moment

    My experience with that damaged photo taught me to use a simple workaround so I will never lose a JPG file again. Here's what I learned:

    Three Solutions

    The best advice we have today offers three easy solutions to preserving digital images for the future. The one you choose should depend on your time, funds, and personal goals. 

    TIFF is the archival gold-standard. Try to scan heirloom photos and documents in TIFF.

    When you don't have the option of TIFF, don't despair, remember C-A-N:

    C - Convert your JPG to TIFF and save all TIFF files in an Archive Folder.

    Tip: Use the same filename for both JPG and TIFF files. The .tif extension will remind you that this large, loss-less file is your Digital Master Image. If you need to open it for editing, the TIFF version will not degrade when saved.

    When you need a JPG version for email, editing, or another project, you will need to Export or Save As JPG.

    A - Archive a JPG copy of the original file and save this new JPG in an Archive Folder.

    Make it a Rule never to open the Archive JPG unless the original file is damaged or lost.

    Tip: Use a common root filename for both files --

    smith-john_1916_marriage.jpg (for the original file)

    smith-john_1916_marriageDM.jpg (for the Digital Master copy in your Archive Folder)

    N - Use a Nondestructive photo editor.

    Some photo editing programs never modify the original file. You can ALWAYS revert back to the original, even after repeated cropping, touch-ups, and enhancing. Look for this feature in your current program; not all photo editors are non-destructive.

    Popular nondestructive photo editing software includes Google PicasaApple iPhoto, Apple Aperture, and Adobe Lightroom. These programs handle files differently, but the original image is preserved.

    Go Ahead - Create JPG Images

    All this means that you CAN have the convenience of mobile scanning and photography and the security of a digital archive. In fact, mobile devices can help you easily build your own family history digital archive.

    When capturing images on your camera, scanner, or mobile phone, always use the highest quality and move the images to your computer hard drive for file renaming before backing up files to the Cloud and/or an external hard drive. 

    Flip-Pal Summer Sale

    The Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner is the only fully-portable scanner that features a unique, gentle flat-bed operation for digitizing fragile family photos, documents and heirlooms. It's really two scanners in one: a traditional glass flat-bed scanner with flip-down cover and a unique see-thru scanner for digitizing oversize and awkward items.

    The see-thru feature is especially helpful for capturing images from photo albums and bound books. Remove the scanner cover, flip the scanner, and position the device to scan your item.

    Use the C-A-N method to add your image to your family history digital archive.

    Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner bundles are on sale this summer. Get ready for your family reunion and the upcoming holiday season. Save $30 on the Flip-Pal mobile scanner Picture Keeper Bundle! Coupon code: SAS725


    P.S.: I bought my Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner over three years ago and have used it for all kinds of digitizing projects. It's not my only scanner, but it's certainly the most fun to use! Yes, I am an Affiliate; I like it that much!


    This Holiday Season, Use your Flip-Pal Like An Archivist

    Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away, do you know where your family photos are? Will you be visiting friends and relatives, and hoping to work in a bit of family history sleuthing between the drumstick and the pumpkin pie?

    Most family historians have experienced the frustrating situation where a relative shows us a photo or document, but is reluctant to let the item out of their hands to be scanned or photocopied. A digital camera can do a good job in these situations, but a scanned image will be even better. The battery-operated Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner is an ideal travel buddy for holiday get-togethers.


    If you plan to pack your Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner along with your potluck dish, plan ahead  with a few tips that will turn your heirloom scanning into archival quality images.

    Mobile scanners like the Flip-Pal and wand-type scanners can give great results, but you will need to do a few follow-up tasks to turn your image scans into archival copies.

    Before You Go

    1. Take extra batteries and memory card.
    2. Bring a microfiber cloth to clean the glass scanning bed.
    3. Purchase a pack of 4 x 6 -inch index cards and/or the Flip-Pal Sketch Kit to use in identifying people, events, and places.

    As You Scan

    1. Organize the photos by size or event. It will be easier to work with them at home if the images are in meaningful groups for cropping and file naming.
    2. Use the highest setting, 600 dpi, for photos; use 300 dpi for documents.
    3. Use the index cards or or the Flip Pal Sketch Kit to write captions or identifying information. Write along one side of the card, place it in the margin next to your photo, and scan image and information together. Or, Use the transparent sheet in the Flip-Pal Sketch Kit to identify people without writing on the photo itself.
    4. Use the cards or sketch kit to create an Index Image that indicates a new series: Uncle's Joe's army pix, 1942-43; Stella's Wedding, 1 Jan 1952.

    After You Scan 

    1. Transfer images to your computer, using the included software to stitch together any oversize images.
    2. Import images to your photo organization software. Use batch renaming when available to give your images meaningful filenames, for example: brown-arline_1915_wedding
    3. Create an archival format TIFF copy of all images and store on an external hard drive. Photo editing software uses different commands to convert files; look for Convert, Export, or Save As commands that allow files to be converted and saved. Select TIFF format and direct the file to be stored in a separate folder.
    4. Use a copy of the TIFF image file for extensive photo restoration work; use the JPG files for sharing via email, photo books, and web.

    JPG vs. TIFF File Format

    The Flip-Pal scans images in JPG format, a popular and widely-used image format. JPG is useful because the file sizes are not too large; however, it's also a "lossy" format, so called because the the file is compressed and loses quality and information when it is edited and  saved. To avoid this problem, museums and archives use the "loss-less" TIFF format for preservation copies, although the file size will be much larger than a JPG version.

    I convert JPG images to TIFF and store these large files on an external hard drive to create Archive Preservation copies of my images.

    Special Offer

    For a short time, Family Tree Magazine is offering a free copy of my Scanning Secrets video class with the purchase of a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner. The Flip-Pal makes it easy to scan photos and documents when you're on the go, and the tips in Scanning Secrets will help you transform standard scans into long-term preservation copies.

    Scanning Secrets video class is regularly priced at $29.99 and includes ideas to help you

    • Select the best settings for your desktop scanner
    • Use a scanning workflow to streamline projects 
    • Set up a scanning station
    • Choose the right scan resolution 
    • Use adjustments for color restoration and descreening
    • Tips for faster, easier scanning

    Use THIS LINK and the offer code SFTFLIPPAL to receive the Scanning Secrets Video free with your purchase of any Flip Pal mobile scanner. Special offer valid through November 7, 2012, cannot be combined with other offers. Flip Pal mobile scanner must be purchased with code SFTFLIPPAL in order for offer to be valid. 

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