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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Digital imaging old documents: advice needed

    I am looking for some good advice. I need to preserve some old hand-written diaries and letters from the late 19th, early 20th century. They are in good condition. About 10 diaries with 80 pages each. Can you suggest a suitable digital imaging scanning program for doing this, or any other advice would be appreciated?

  2. #2
    drg is offline
    la recherche de trolls drg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Route 66

    Re: Digital imaging old documents: advice needed

    You can just photograph them with a 5 Megapixel or larger camera on a stand as well. It might cause less damage than trying to cram them into a flatbed scanner. Don't use flash, but work in a room with very good overhead illumination and use a reference card for White/Color balance if needed. If you need to flatted the documents place them gently one at a time under a flat piece of glass and photograph through the glass. If they are fragile, that's where the camera comes in handy as by using a greater Depth of Field you can acheive focus for the entire document with out further compromising them.

    Multiple copies of the storage (several posts about longevity of media here at PR and elsewhere), and save in a lossless format like TIFF.

    Should you need the high resolution capabilities of a flatbed scan, be sure to work in a temperature controlled room (even a room that is just well Air Conditioned and that has not had lots of traffic for 24 hours) and make sure the documents have been in there with the scanner for 24-48 hours. That way everything is as durable from humidity & temperature standpoint as possible. Less/no condensation.

    You can scan right into most editing programs (Adobe Products included). Just be sure to add lots of tags and comments to the files to know what each is for future reference.

    More questions?

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  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Baltimore, MD - USA

    Re: Digital imaging old documents: advice needed

    Once you figure out how best to get the documents into the computer (either scan them or photograph them), you might consider keeping them in multiple file formats.

    For instance, you can keep TIF files of each individual page, but you can also put them together to make a PDF of entire diaries, and maybe a complete PDF of all of the diaries together.

    Keeping multiple formats will allow you to share the documents with the most people, and give you the most flexibility for future applications.

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