Several organizations may possess preserved historical documents, including libraries, universities, and non-profit organizations. As remarkable as it is to store such documents and manuscripts, constant handling of them to use as references can damage them. Thus, an important step in prolonging the life of old original texts is to digitize them.
In addition to providing a digital copy that can be used if the original is lost, scanning historical documents helps reduce the usage of the physical copies. As a result, the old documents don’t need to be removed from storage (where they are protected) to be read by students, scholars, and other invested parties.
Therefore, this article provides a quick and complete guide to digitizing your historical documents. These steps can enable you to do it yourself. However, hiring a professional team for scanning books to PDF formats can ensure that your documents in ways that make them easily readable on screens. Here’s what you should know.
Develop a Plan for the Process
Scanning historical documents can be a long and tiresome process. There are several materials that you must get, including scanning equipment (which you can rent as well) and digital storage equipment. You will also need to set aside a clean, open space where the digitization can occur. A clean, dust-free location will ensure that the manuscripts are not exposed to environments that can damage them.
It’s better to complete a digitizing project as soon as you can after you start it. This way, you’ll ensure that the historical documents spend less time outside of their acid-free, archival-grade boxes. Thus, create a complete plan on how the whole process will go, including the schedule with breaks, etc., in place.
Moreover, you will need to determine how many people will participate in the scanning process. If they are employees, then you will need to clear their schedules to ensure that they can work full-time on scanning books to PDF and other formats.
Start the Digitization Process
On the day itself, make sure that the personnel works as a team, doing specific parts of the scanning process. For example, one or more people should be responsible for removing the documents from storage.
Another group of people (preferably, get the most hands-on deck for this part of the process) should manage the document scanning solution, i.e., taking high-resolution images of old pages. Make sure to have another person or two responsible for putting back the documents into storage. A streamlined process can save you a lot of time and effort.
Some Tips to Keep in Mind When Scanning Documents
Make sure that your team handling the scanning of old documents is aware of the following tips.
Choose the Resolution Correctly
An important factor to keep in mind is the resolution of the digital copies. So, you should use extremely high-resolution scans of images. The high resolution will allow you to zoom the image without pixelating the image. Images, such as photos of paintings, can often have exquisite detail. So, you will need to ensure that all of that detail is visible on a screen as well.
You won’t need a resolution that high when scanning text. As long as the text is clear enough, you’re on the right track. You can look at the recommended settings on the scanning device. You should also note that higher resolution digital copies will have larger files than those of lower resolution copies. So, make sure to allocate appropriate storage space accordingly.
Handle Every Document with Care
The oils on our hands can damage old paper. So, it’s best to ensure that everyone handling the documents should wear gloves. In addition to that, the room should be cool and moisture-free. Moisture can damage the paper.
Only Scan Original Documents
This point may seem obvious, but it’s important to know. Do not try to scan physical copies of the original document. The photocopied paper may have some blemishes that may translate onto the digital document. It may also look worse on the screen than in the physical copy. So, make sure that you scan original documents to preserve every bit of detail.
Last Few Words
It’s in your best interest to back up all digital copies of historical documents. This way, if anything happens to the original storage device, you will still have the digital copies in your possession. This will also eliminate the need to go through the entire digitizing process again.
Moreover, as indicated above, scanning documents can be a challenging process, so it’s best to consider professional help to make it relatively hassle-free. Consider Smooth Solutions, for example, as they can offer an exceptional document scanning solution with the help of experienced professionals and high-quality tools.