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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 scanning (13)

    Friday
    May022014

    Preservation Week: Unlock the #1 Secret to Scanning Success

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    Digitize and Preserve Family Photos and Documents

    Are you getting the best possible results when you digitize family photos and documents? Check your scanning savvy with these 5 Tips for Scanning Success.

    1. Clean the Scanner Glass

    Yep, sounds pretty basic but it’s easy to forget. Old photos and documents are often dirty and may even lose bits of paper when handled. Use a microfiber cloth (used for eyeglasses or computer screens) to clean smudges and dirt from the glass of your flat bed scanner. For tough jobs, lightly wet the cloth – not the glass – then wipe the glass firmly with the damp cloth.

    2. Use the Right Equipment For the Job

    Equipment does make a difference in the end result. Your keepsake originals should only be digitized with a flat-bed scanner or digital camera. DO NOT run heirlooms through a sheet-fed scanner where they could be mangled and torn. Wand scanners are fine for books and pristine documents, but less direct handling is safer for old paper.

    Oversize documents can be difficult to manipulate for on an 11 x 14-inch flat bed scanner; minimize the potential for damage by using a digital camera mounted on a copy stand or tripod.

    3. Set Up A “Scan Station”

    Make use of every minute by keeping your equipment ready to go. If you have space, set up a Scan Station near your computer on a file cabinet or table. Keep your scanner connected to your computer with an external hard drive ready for file storage. Use two trays or boxes to organize your work: To Be Scanned, Scanned. Don’t file away the originals until you have added filenames and tags in your photo organizing software.

    4. Break Your Work Into Scanning Sessions

    Save time and be more efficient by breaking your scanning into two work sessions: In session one, complete the actual scans; in session two, finish the computer work: add file names; write metadata -- captions from the back of photos, tags with people, places, events, copyright info; and place originals in archival storage.

    And My All-Time Favorite #1 Secret to Scanning Success
    5. Use Professional Mode

    Most scanners come pre-configured for easy scanning. You don’t have to do anything after hitting the Scan button. But if you want access to some of the best features of your flat-bed scanner, you’ll need to unlock the Professional Menu. Look around on your scanner for a drop-down with more options, or check out the manual. You may have Auto, Home, and Professional modes (on Epson), or some other configuration.

    When you get to the Pro Menu, you will be able to set the best resolution for your project, choose mode, target size, and unlock color correction and descreening features. If you aren’t sure what all those options can do, refer to the manual or the handy Scanning Guide in my book, How to Archive Family Keepsakes (chapter 9).

    For most purposes, you only need to adjust resolution (or DPI) and select Photo or Document. If you wish, you can check Color Restoration to automatically restore faded 1970’s color prints, or Descreening to get better images of newspaper articles.

    Find more ideas for organizing and digitizing family treasures and genealogy research in How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia & Genealogy Records by Denise May Levenick (Family Tree Books, 2012). Celebrate Preservation Week April 23-May 3, 2014.

    Visit TheFamilyCurator.com for more preservation ideas and information.

    Tuesday
    Nov272012

    Tech Tuesday: Streamlined Scanning with a Genealogy Photo Workflow, Part 2

     

    The Library Module in Adobe Lightroom3 shows the keyword and
    metadata tagging windows in the right-hand

    Using a scanning workflow speeds up my digitizing project and helps maintain consistency. This post continues with the genealogy scanning workflow I use for family history photographs, documents, and letters. Last week in Tech Tuesday: Streamlined Scanning with a Genealogy Workflow, Part 1, I described my typical scanner settings and scanning process.

    This week, we tackle Part 2, and move the digital image files to a photo organizer/editor such as Lightroom, Photoshop Elements, or iPhoto for tagging, cropping, and editing.

    After scanning my photographs and storing the images on my external MyBook hard drive (Western Digital), I turn to Part 2 of my Photo Workflow.

    Importing Images to a Photo Organizer/Editor:

    Note: TIFF Images are stored on an external hard drive.

    1. Connect hard drive to desktop computer.

    2. Open Adobe Lightroom, Import photos, with settings to retain file names.

    3. After import, tag photos with useful keywords, location, names of subjects, place, date.

    4. Rename files with descriptive file name prior to original scan filename. For example: aak-001 becomes 
    kinsel-arline_1912_ portait_aak-002 
    I use a hyphen to separate names and placenames and an underscore to separate categories, thus name_year_description/place_original file name

    Note: I decided to continue using a file identification number for correspondence rather than try to develop a suitable meaningful filename. This makes the post-scanning work much faster.

    4. Convert files as JPG and store in same folder as originals. File extension will differentiate TIFF and JPG.

    5. Back up file on second MyBook hard drive.

    6. After tagging, converting, and backing up, TIFF files are never touched! All edits are made to jpg files. In Adobe Lightroom, all edits are “nondestructive” meaning you can return to the original without loss of data. Files may be resized, emailed, cropped, etc. all without damage to the original image file.

    Other photo editing software can do a similar job with tagging, renaming, and converting from TIFF to jpg. Adobe Photoshop Elements is a great program and easy to learn and use; Apple iPhoto or Adobe Photoshop Elements for Mac does the job for Mac users. But, to the best of my knowledge, Adobe Lightroom is the only software that offers “nondestructive” editing. If you use a program that records changes on the original file, it is wise to always work from a copy, and save an archived original.

    With my originals safely archived on MyBook (#1), and backed up to MyBook (#2), I am comfortable editing and working with the jpg images on my hard drive. 

    Learn more about digitizing your family keepsakes and your genealogy papers in my new book, How to Archive Family Keepsakes. Special Offers now available from Family Tree Books, regularly priced $24.99, now $15.49, and save an additional 10%. Click here for info.

    This article is updated from Tech Tuesday Setting up a Genealogy Photo Workflow, Part 2 published 28 July 2009.

    You might also like -- Using Adobe Lightroom to Manage Genealogy Images

    Tuesday
    Nov202012

    Tech Tuesday: Streamlined Scanning with a Genealogy Photo Workflow, Part 1

    Scan multiple

     

    Professional photographers call it a “workflow," but it's really just a “routine.” It’s the standard order of doing things that results in getting things done. Routines work. You don't have to use Adobe Lightroom or any particular photo organizing or editing software to get the benefit of a genealogy scanning workflow. Whether you use Photoshop Elements, XnView, iPhoto, Picasa, or Flickr to organize and store your photos, a consistent procedure for scanning, file naming, tagging, and editing will make your photo work run smoother and faster.

    A photography workflow can help a genealogist or family historian process a photo collection efficiently and carefully. I first wrote about my Genealogy Photo Workflow in 2009 when I was using the photo management software Adobe Lightroom2. The program is now up to version 4, although I continue to use Lightroom3. It looks like Lightroom version 4 has some great new features, but haven't felt to try them out… yet.

    My Genealogy Photo Workflow

    After a few years and considerable trial and error, I’ve tweaked my original photo workflow a bit, but it remains essentially the same as it was in 2009. I've come up with a photo workflow that continues to work well for me. . . today, at any rate.

    I have broken the workflow into separate activities; this works for me because I can process the photos in smaller chunks of time. I can scan or import depending on the time available, and still make progress toward completing the project.

    Supplies and Equipment Needed --

    computer 
    flatbed scanner, (Epson Perfection V500) 
    2 external hard drives, (MyBook) 
    photographs 
    white cotton gloves 
    archival drop-front box 12 x 15-inch (for oversize photos) 
    archival flip-top box  8 x 5-inch 
    archival sleeves, 5 x 7-inch and 8 x 10-inch 
    permanent ink pen, archival safe 
    Adobe Lightroom 3 software

    Part 1: Scanning Workflow

    Set up --

    1. Connect and turn on scanner to warm up 
    2. Connect external hard drives to computer
    3. Put on gloves 
    4. Clean scanner glass with soft cloth 
    5. Start scanner software: set for color scan, TIFF format, sent to folder on my Desktop named Scans, file name + sequential image number; check option to open folder after scanning [this is my confirmation that I have completed the scan]

    Note: for file name, I use a general name for my current archive [aak] plus the next number in my series [045]. I will edit names in Lightroom when I add metadata.

    Scanning --

    Note: I scan both sides of every photo, front first, then back [thanks for that tip, footnoteMaven!].

    1. Set resolution, TIFF file format 
      I use 600 dpi for photos (1200 dpi for photos needing restoration or images that are very small), 300 dpi for documents
    2. Preview Scan front side of image; rotate image on Preview panel if needed 
    3. Scan; folder will open showing new file image with name of filename-number [aak-045] 
    4. Turn photo to reverse side and Scan; folder will open showing new file image with name of filename-number [aak-046]. Notice that front sides of photos are odd numbers, reverse sides are consecutive even numbers. 
    5. Remove photo from scanner, place in archival sleeve and set in box lid [will be used later] 
    6. Repeat for each photo; I usually scan in batches of 20-25.

    This is a good place to stop working and tidy the work area. I'm not finished with the original photos, so they remain in the box temporarily. The next part of the workflow is to Import photos to Lightroom for tagging and jpg conversion. Stay tuned for Part 2 of Streamlined Scanning with a Genealogy Photo Workflow coming next week.

    Blogger Michelle Goodrum at The Turning of Generations wrote about using a similar workflow for her project to digitize her father's early correspondence, Letter Scanning Work Flow.

    Why Lightroom?

    In my years as a computer-user I have worked with many different photo editing and organizing programs on both PC and Mac computers. I've gone back and forth between PC and Mac a few times, so one of my "requirements" has been to select cross-platform software. I typically purchase a medium-speed computer, not something with a super-fast gaming processor, so my second "requirement" is a program that isn't a big memory hog.

    I was an early user of Adobe Photoshop Elements and used the tagging feature extensively with my genealogy photo scanning projects. However, when I started working with huge TIFF and PDF files, I found PE running slower and slower and slower. At the time, PE did not play nice with TIFF files so I had to use another program to manage these files. I found XnView, a cross-platform, free program that handled all kinds of file formats and managed batch renaming, file conversion, resizing, etc. in an easy and intuitive interface. I used both software programs for a few years, generally preferring XnView for management tasks and PE for photo restoration.

    In 2007, I was intrigued by the buzz about Adobe's new professional photo management program, Photoshop Lightroom 2. I attended a Scott Kelby Lightroom Workshop and came away ready to get to work. Lightroom is powerful, yet simple. In my opinion, it's aimed for pros who would rather be shooting photographs than managing files. It suits me very well, and I am happy with my current setup.

    One of my favorite features in Lightroom is non-destructive editing -- any changes are made to the file instructions rather than to the original file itself. You can always go back to the original. Lightroom expert David Marx explains this well: Photoshop and Elements save changes to the original, Lightroom "builds simulations."

    I continue to use Photoshop Elements for design and editing work because I like the layers feature As PE has matured through various versions, it has become friendlier to other file formats, too. If I were starting out with a new program right now AND had a smaller image archive project, I would probably seriously consider using only one program. But, for my current purposes, the combination of Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop Elements work very well together.

    Learn more about digitizing your family keepsakes and your genealogy papers in my new book, How to Archive Family Keepsakes. Special Offers now available from Family Tree Books, regularly priced $24.99, now $15.49, and save an additional 10%. Click here for info.

    You might also like -- Using Adobe Lightroom to Manage Genealogy Images

    Revised and Updated, from an article originally published 21 July 2009 Tech Tuesday -- Setting Up a Genealogy Photo Workflow, Part 1

    Monday
    Oct292012

    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. 

    Sunday
    Feb202011

    Upcoming Tour of ScanDigital Facilities

    Have you considered sending your photos, films, or slides to a digitizing service, but held back because of that nagging worry that "something bad" might happen to your treasures? Fire, flood, tornadoes, earthquakes, loss of heirlooms are all equal in the eyes of the family historian.

    I'm not going to try to convince you to "let go," but I'm planning an article to review a local digitizing service that I have used with good success. I toured ScanDigital's facility in El Segundo, California in October, 2009 and was pleased with services and security systems in place. You can read the full review here.

    Not long ago, ScanDigital relocated in the same little beach community. I've seen the new building and it looks even larger than the old space. It helps that my son lives in El Segundo and passes on these Breaking News tidbits.

    Also not long ago, a reader commented on my article with her own worrisome experience at ScanDigital. I contacted the company and Pamela Weiss posted a helpful response. She also invited me to come to El Segundo to tour the new facility, and I've already said "Yes." I'm waiting for my own digitizing order to be completed, and will schedule to tour and pick up my items at the same time.

    Do you have questions about using a digitizing service? Maybe you would like to know about the tracking system or see photos of the techs at work? Leave your questions in the Comments to this post and I will do my best to get them answered.

    Tuesday
    Jul212009

    Tech Tuesday – Setting Up a Genealogy Photo Workflow, Part 1

    Professional photographers call it a “workflow',” as a mom I just called it a “routine.” It’s the standard order of doing things that results in Getting Things Done.

    Lay out the school clothes, tuck them in bed, read a story, turn out the light, go to sleep. It just works. If you forget the school clothes, things don’t go so well in the morning. And woe to the parent who tries to skip the bedtime story. Routines work.

    A photography workflow can help any genealogist or family historian process a photo collection efficiently and carefully. After reading books and blogs, posting on numerous forums, and exchanging emails with dozens of photographers and archivists, I’ve come up with a photo workflow that works for me. . . today, at any rate.

    I have broken the workflow into separate activities; this works for me because I can process the photos in smaller chunks of time. I can scan or import depending on the time available, and still make progress toward completing the project.

    Supplies and Equipment Needed --

    computer
    flatbed scanner, (Epson Perfection V500)
    2 external hard drives, (MyBook)
    photographs
    white cotton gloves
    archival drop-front box 12 x 15-inch (for oversize photos)
    archival flip-top box  8 x 5-inch
    archival sleeves, 5 x 7-inch and 8 x 10-inch
    permanent ink pen, archival safe
    Adobe Lightroom2 software

    Part 1: Scanning Workflow

    Set up --

    1. Connect and turn on scanner to warm up
    2. Connect external hard drive
    3. Put on gloves
    4. Clean scanner glass with soft cloth
    5. Start scanner software: set for color scan, TIFF format, stored on external hard drive, file name + image number; check box to open folder after scanning [this is my confirmation that I have completed the scan]

    Note: for file name, I use a general name for my current archive [aak] plus the next number in my series [045]. I will edit names in Lightroom2 when I add metadata.

    Scanning --

    Note: I scan both sides of every photo, front first, then back [thanks for that tip, footnoteMaven!].

    1. Set resolution to 1200dpi, double-check TIFF file format
    2. Preview Scan front side of image; rotate image on Preview panel if needed
    3. Scan; folder will open showing new file image with name of filename-number [aak-045]. This may take a few minutes at 1200dpi.
    4. Turn over photo
    5. Change settings to 300dpi if photo has information; if blank scan at 72dpi
    6. Scan; folder will open showing new file image with name of filename-number [aak-046]. Notice that front sides of photos are odd numbers, reverse sides are consecutive even numbers.
    7. Remove photo from scanner, place in archival sleeve and set in box lid [will be used later]
    8. Repeat steps 1-7 for each photo; I usually scan in batches of 20-25.

    This is a good place to stop working and tidy the work area. The next part of the workflow is to Import photos to Lightroom2 for tagging and jpg conversion. Visit The Family Curator next week for Tech Tuesday and Setting up a Genealogy Photo Workflow, Part 2.

     

    Wednesday
    Mar182009

    9-1-1 for Family Historians

    As a fan of Rebecca Fenning's blog, A Sense of Face, I am delighted to see she will be joining footnoteMaven at Shades of the Departed as part of Weekend With Shades, beginning this Saturday, March 21with her new column Saving Face.


    Rebecca and I have corresponded a bit over various archival issues, and I look forward to reading her answers to the burning questions sure to be asked by Shades readers. Rebecca was a great help with some of my scanning questions for Arline's letters and photographs, so I know that she will be able to address a wide variety of archival situations.

    Join The Family Curator at Shades this Saturday for Rebecca's debut column.

    Saturday
    May172008

    Scanning Update

    I am running out of time for scanning letters as I also want to scan some photos and put together a presentation. Haven't been able to process the letters in the AskSam database, but have worked up a Data Entry Form for the students to complete. It should help organize their thoughts about the letters as well.

    I now have over 100 letters in the archival folders, and am scanning hit-and-miss style to catch ones that are a) suitable, and b) interesting.

    Total now 93 letters. May need to complete more.

    Friday
    May162008

    Reading the News

    In thinking about how to present the story of Arline's life to the students, I began looking through some of her news clippings. What a treasure. I will have to save some it for this summer when I have more time, but for now I can at least scan the most glaring headlines-- "Girl in Power of Hypnotist," "Forces Chauffeur to Aid Kidnapping," and my personal favorite "Husband's Language Too Vile to Mention."

    Total News clippings scanned, 16.

    Sunday
    May112008

    Photo Scanning

    Took a break from the letters and started scanning photos yesterday; it certainly goes quicker than 6 and 7 page letters. They are beautiful and so fun to see in a larger size.

    I came across some loose pages from a photo album and have been able to reconstruct some of the original photo displays. Evidently a few photos fell off or were taken off the pages; too bad for us today.

    Total photos scanned 26.

    Saturday
    May102008

    Scanning Continued

    I figure that I need about 100 letters for the students to work with because I plan to require that each student complete at least 2 transcriptions. The U.S. Women's History teacher heard me talking about the project and wants to have her students work on it as well. Our total is about 50 students, so 100 letters may not even be enough. More scanning. . .

    Total letters scanned is now 89.

    Thursday
    Apr242008

    More Scanning

    I feel like a scanning machine. Thank goodness for Multi-TIFF format. It saves multiple pages in one file and it can be opened on the PC or Mac. Now I just have to find a program to convert images to JPG so I can have smaller files for presentations and printing.

    I have now scanned 55 letters!

    Tuesday
    Apr222008

    Scanning Success!

    I am working on catching up with the scanning and have completed 33 documents. I am scanning all docs in Multi-Tiff format (this allows multiple pages to be saved to one file), at 300 dpi, in 24-bit color. I am not sure if this is too much or too little color resolution, but the images are clear and bright and sometimes easier to read than the originals.

    The files work equally well on my PC running XP and on the Mac computers at school. They open in Media Image Viewer on the PC and in Preview on the Mac. Both allow for printing.