View single post by Widow
 Posted: Fri Dec 1st, 2006 12:32 pm
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Joined: Tue Sep 19th, 2006
Location: Oakton, Fairfax County, VA
Posts: 321

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Dale, what a fantastic collection.  How I'd love to read those papers.  Every snippet that you've posted in here just screams out:  "Read more!"

Do you have any plans to scan them into digital format?  If you don't have a scanner, you might consider taking them to a store that can do it for you.  Maybe Staples or Office Depot.

If you do that, it would be helpful to supply a unique file name for each document, by making a list before you go.  That way you can work safely with them, and store the originals and copies where they can't be harmed.  For example, "Letter, original, 10/12/1862" and "Letter, copy, 10/12/1862."  I assume that a two-page handwritten letter might be just half a page in the typed copy.  I suppose the images would be put on a CD-ROM.

I've scanned many old and partially illegible documents which were brittle and discolored.  I used software that permitted me to edit the text before storing in final form.  Scanning software usually can't interpret strikeovers, handwritten marginal notations, clogged letters like "e," smudged ink or carbons, arrows in the margin that "move" paragraphs, coffee stains, paper-punch holes, foreign letters with diacritical marks as in French and Spanish.  Sometimes, if the typist literally cut and pasted paragraphs, the scotch tape or glue can deteriorate and discolor, making it impossible for the software to read.  Rust from staples and paper clips can confuse the software too.  It takes the human eye to figure out what the text really says.

You might be able to get some good advice from a librarian or antiquarian about the best way to protect and preserve both the originals and the typed copies.  I mean in respect to humidity and temperature control.

I have no idea if that material can be copyrighted by the owner.  Perhaps the librarian can give you some tips.

Keep up the good work.  And do please tell us more about that clever young newspaperman, as well as what you learn about preservation and protection of your wonderful documents.


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