Learning to scan old pictures, letters, slides and negatives will help you keep these items for other people to enjoy and make use of. It can keep those things that are used often from getting damaged and will produce an easier way to get at the information.
This is one of the easiest methods in creating a database so the information can be searched and easily accessed and works well with both types of information. It can be good for those looking up the family tress, or just make the information in books easier to get to while protecting them from damage through use.
Your Choices in Scanners
There are different scanners that you can use. The most common of these is the flatbed, and this looks like a small version of a photocopier. The area that it can copy is about the size of a paper sheet, but you do have to take care not to damage the spine, since the top of the machine will lie along it. There are photo scanners as well, and while any of these can do photographs, this has the benefit of being able to be the best negative scanner for film as well as including software to make the old pictures cleaner and better looking.
A sheet feed scanner allows one sheet at a time to be added into it, but it is considerably smaller than a flatbed. The portable one is best for books that you do not want to be damaged, since this will roll down the page instead of having to place the book open on the surface, but the photo quality is not all that good. Take what you are doing into consideration and what you are saving when choosing the scanner that will work the best for you.
Organize Your Digital Images
After you get the image to your computer, save it to a location that will be easy for you to find again. These are typically saved in a JPEG or PNG format since most people can use these the easiest. From here you can upload them to photo sharing sites for blogging or burn them to a disk. I highly recommend you back up all of your pictures. While having digital copies now protects you from things like water damage, you now have to worry about losing your computer hard drive. Always have your pictures saved on at least two sources like your hard drive and CDs or your hard drive and a cloud service.
Always take care when getting the images of the items onto your computer. While you want to protect them and save them from harm, you also want to keep the original in as good of shape as you can so that you can redo the process if you need to. By using caution with the items, you can ensure that they are protected with electronic copies as well as preserving the physical one.
Make sure that you follow all the copyright laws, and only share those that you legally can or have no rights attached to them. Complying with these laws will save you a lot of legal trouble and still give you the ability to preserve these old items. It most cases this isn't a problem, but in this age of digital and social media, it is always good to keep these things in mind.
Knowing how to scan old photographs, film and letters can help you preserve part of your history. This can give you years of enjoyment, and can be at your fingertips through electronic means. It can also protect what you have without fear of destroying it. Yes, the process of scanning can be a bit labor intensive but once you are finished you will feel a huge sense of relief that all of your memories are preserved forever!