Get Started Digitizing
You've got some wonderful family documents -- your high school diploma, your parents wedding photo, your son's first letter to Santa Claus -- to name just a few. Now what?
What you need:
A computer connected to a scanner. If you do not have a printer / scanner at home, check with your local public library and you may be able to use one there.
A spreadsheet program. Google Docs provides a spreadsheet program for free.
1) Create a spreadsheet as an index of the items you scan. I recommend you start with the following column headings:
Item Type: Item Description; Date; ID #; Notes
When your project is complete, you will be able to quickly search or sort through the spreadsheet to find information about the items in your collection. If you label each item with an ID number, you will then be able to quickly find the physical item in your collection using the unique item ID#.
2) As you scan, use a naming scheme with your ID# to name each digital image. Example:
Item#1 - Photograph of Karen Smith
Item#2 - Photograph of Karen Smith
Item#3 - Karen Smith High School Diploma
3) Save each image on your computer, in the cloud, as well as on your flash drive. The flash drive can be stored in a safe location apart from the computer (such as a bank box).
4) After you scan each item, write its unique ID# on the acid free paper you store the item in. This will allow you to quickly find the physical item by searching for its number. I store each of my photographs within an acid free paper enclosure and label using my ID numbers. These labeled paper enclosures are then housed in an acid free box.
Save your photographs as TIFs rather than JPEGs. See my previous post on this subject.
Keep the flashdrive in a safe place as a backup, should something happen to your computer
Use pencil when you write on acid free paper -- it lasts longer than pen.