Scanning and Archiving Basics

Scanning and Archiving Basics

By Dayna Jacobs, AG®

    • Create a simple file system on your computer
    • Create a consistent naming scheme for files
    • Sort papers into groupings
    • Choose “mode”
      • Home – will identify the borders of the photo
      • Office- additional options for customization
      • Professional – additional options for customization
      • Full Auto – will identify the borders of the photo and whether it is color or B&W
    • Open up the scanning software settings (sometimes named “configuration”)
    • Choose a DPI (resolution: smaller DPI=lower resolution/quality)
      • 150-200 dpi for derivative documents and 300 for originals
      • 200 for 4×6 snapshots you don’t want to enlarge
      • 600 dpi for photos
      • 1200 dpi for photos you want to enlarge or do detailed retouching on
      • 2400 dpi for negatives or slides
      • 4800 dpi for a negative or slide you will enlarge to 16×20 inches
    • Choose a file format
      • TIFF and/or JPG for photos, PNG is also becoming popular. TIFF is good for most valuable scans and will not lose quality, but makes a larger file.
      • JPG is best for sharing on the internet or emailing because it is a smaller file size, but loses quality with each generation.
      • PNG is a new format that doesn’t lose quality but file size is smaller than TIFF.   Ideally you would create an archival TIFF file and a JPG file for everyday use.  There are programs that can convert a whole batch of files at once.
      • PDF for documents.  Can do a keyword search.  Can scan multipage files
    • Choose “Color” scan for photos, even for black and white photos.  Choose “black and white” or “grayscale” scan for text documents.
    • Name the file and choose the place on your computer you will “Save to”

    Full Auto and Home modes:   Once you set the DPI, color, and “save-to” it will identify all the items on the glass and find their borders for you.

    Office and Professional modes:

    • Do a “scan preview”
    • “Lasso” the item (s)
    • Scan

    Additional advice:

    • Open the image files and add “metadata” afterwards in your photo-editor:  people, places, dates
    • Back up your files
      • To another hard drive
      • Online storage
      • Flash drive in a safe deposit box
    • Archive documents and photos in clear archival sleeves or file folders and store in archival binders or boxes.

    Here is a simple file system you can set up in your hard drive’s directory for your scans:

    In My pictures (or My documents) create sub-folders:

    • Ancestor files
      • Anderson
      • Baker
        • Scott Baker
        • Jordan Baker
      • Jacobs
        • Trent  Jacobs
        • Lynn Jacobs
          • Childhood
          • Wedding
          • Baseball
        • Chad Jacobs

    You can add folders under each name to organize further, i.e. Childhood, Wedding, Baseball, etc. if you have a lot of scans for certain categories. If you have the same file system for your binders and boxes for the originals, you can find them easily.

    Here is a simple naming scheme for files:  Last-First_year_event_detail


    Pomeroy-Franklin_1918_military_WWI draft registration
    Pomeroy-Franklin_1949_death certificate


    The ICAPGen ℠ service mark and the Accredited Genealogist® and AG® registered marks are the sole property of the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists.  All Rights Reserved.

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