• Saving history

    Author
    Topic
    #2523769

    PERSONAL MEDIA By Will Fastie Nothing lasts forever. Or does it? The readership of this newsletter is old enough to have used, if not embraced, a host
    [See the full post at: Saving history]

    Viewing 25 reply threads
    Author
    Replies
    • #2523859

      Re: “Why save the history? Who cares?”

      I believe that you are right in saying that the younger generation will care about your memories- later if not now. From my experience, it just takes a little perspective- which usually comes with time.

      One service that I use and really like for stuff like this is https://FamilySearch.org. It is a free service that allows you to compile your family history together to be preserved indefinitely. In recent years, they have added robust features for adding photos, documents, audio, and metadata to the individuals in your family tree. It’s not exactly data backup, but it is an effective solution at preserving those memories for (not-yet interested) generations to come.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2528910

        I haven’t looked at Family Search in a while but they are owned by the Mormon Church which has a long history in accumulating genealogical data.  They also have local services in many places where you can get help in researching your family tree for free.

        I presently use Ancestry and MyHeritage and have picked up a program named RootsMagic that can interact with Ancestry and MyHeritage to bring data down to an offline archive.

        I believe the primary reason that young people don’t see the value in historical info is that it is often presented to them in the form of shoeboxes of photos or stacks of printed paper with no logical organization.  The advantage of programs like Family Search, Ancestry and MyHeritage is that you can construct visually appealing family trees that you can zoom into, scroll around and clearly see relationships.  You can pin info about each person to the person, including photos, documents like birth certificates, draft cards, marriage licenses, gravestones, etc. bringing a level of organization to the story of your family that most people rarely achieve offline.

        Ten years ago I knew very little about my family history.  I also did not know who my real father was.  I now have a family tree that goes back into the 1800’s on my mother’s side and consists of about 2600 people.  A few months back, I finally learned who my real dad was through a half-niece that decided to get her DNA done by Ancestry.  This will add at least another 400 people to the tree that I had been working on linking together.  Fun times!

        I always point people to the Finding Your Roots TV program to see how valuable old info can be.  The program is easy to relate to because it revolves around digging into the background of 2 or 3 actors/celebrities that many people are familiar with.  It’s generally on Tuesday evenings on your local PBS channel.

        Finding your roots with
        HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR.
        https://mailchi.mp/weta/finding-your-roots-activist-roots-tonight-1581342?e=0a205094df

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2523869

      Hey Y’all,

      FYI: There are special Archival DVDs you can get that will last much longer than the standard ones. Get a Good USB DVD Writer and you should be good to go for quite a while.

      I use a LG Slim Portable DVD Writer for keeping my wife’s genealogy records safe.
      If they go I’m gone too!

      May the Forces of good computing be with you!

      RG

      PowerShell & VBA Rule!
      Computer Specs

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2524066

        FYI: There are special Archival DVDs you can get that will last much longer than the standard ones.

        Is there a specific name for them, so we can look for them online or in a brick and mortar store? By name, I’m referring to a name for the specific type of disc, not the brand name of the disc.

        • #2526130

          The archival disks I have used are called “M-Disc”.  They are made by Verbatim and they only work in a few, specific DVD burners, although they can be read by any DVD reader.  See https://www.mdisc.com/ or Google for “m-disc”.  I can’t say if they last forever, since I haven’t lived that long or used them that long, but other people have stress-tested them and abused them, and reported that they were pretty much indestructible.

          -- Peter R --

    • #2523903

      Long term digital data storage has been created and hopefully will be generally available in the future. The link below explains 5D glass disc that can:

      It’s been estimated that the storage medium could withstand temperatures up to 1,000 degrees C and last 13.8 billion years at room temperature without degrading.

      ‘5D’ storage could fit 500TB on a CD-sized glass disc

      I also recently read an article (which I can’t find right now) on a change in how data is stored on a flash drive and testing indicates data deterioration is decreased to 10% of what it used to be which theoretically increase data storage 10 times (aka ~ 100 years).

      Technology may solve long term storage considerations.

      Side Note: I too saw that the younger generation was not very interested in old family photos. Once I digitalize the photos I used Windows built in software to create a “video” with background music. I also add text to each photo identifying individuals in the photos. Now that younger generation enjoys viewing those old family photos while preserving the family history.

      HTH, Dana:))

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2523928

      Speaking as a genealogist (family historian), I urge people to keep as much detail as is practical about the images.  Dates, places, and especially names are important.  I have many, many old photos of relatives I can identify but I have no idea who the others in the photos are.  Fortunately, the photos are mostly old enough that, like slides, the date is printed either in the border or on the back by the developer.

      Your siblings and your offspring don’t care?  I can come close to guaranteeing that your offspring’s offspring will!  My experience is that interest in family history skips generations, for whatever reason.  That’s not universal, of course, but it seems to happen more often than not.

      The one thing I don’t recall seeing in the article is to be sure that the technology continues to exist to read the format you use!  It wouldn’t surprise me if the day comes when there is no software left to read a .jpg file, for example.  If that becomes a threat, be sure to convert everything again!

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2523994

        Speaking as a genealogist (family historian), I urge people to keep as much detail as is practical about the images.  Dates, places, and especially names are important.  I have many, many old photos of relatives I can identify but I have no idea who the others in the photos are.  Fortunately, the photos are mostly old enough that, like slides, the date is printed either in the border or on the back by the developer.

        Your siblings and your offspring don’t care?  I can come close to guaranteeing that your offspring’s offspring will!  My experience is that interest in family history skips generations, for whatever reason.  That’s not universal, of course, but it seems to happen more often than not.

        The one thing I don’t recall seeing in the article is to be sure that the technology continues to exist to read the format you use!  It wouldn’t surprise me if the day comes when there is no software left to read a .jpg file, for example.  If that becomes a threat, be sure to convert everything again!

        Permanent.org claims to take the guesswork out of file formats.  If you upload one of their “supported” formats for photos, video, documents, or audio, they say they’ll continually convert them to newer formats as technology evolves.

    • #2524014

      My brother spent a LOT f time digitizing family photos, slides and black and white negatives.  Dad was a photography buff did some of his developing of film, and  4×5 and 6×9 negatives.  Dad did not have the equipment to print his photos.  I’m not sure how or where that was done.

       

      The brother digitized over a 1000 images, and meticulously named the subjects, where possible.  My/our generation was fairly easy, since we were still alive.  Our parents and grandparents were another story.  By the time he started on this project, all the family members of that generation were deceased.

      He collected all the pictures after our mother died in 2007.  She was the last of that generation (aunts, uncles on both sides).  We had a limited contact with my fathers side of the family. Cousins on mom’s side were still around and we had kept in touch with them and were available to ask questions.  Dad’s brothers, he was one of six, all scattered from southern Indiana to Chicago, Grand Rapids, Rochester, and one ended up working with the Indians in southern California.  Hard to keep track of that group.  Again, mom was the last of that group to die.

      I have thanked by brother for spending the time and energy to take on the task of preserving our family history.

       

      QUESTION:  Is it a good idea to save all this information to the cloud?  For the most part these images are jpg’s.  I’m not too concerned with file formats, especially jpg’s but the stability of the various cloud storage providers (Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and others).  There is an associated cost to this method of preservation, but I don’t think it is too expensive.  Our collection of family photos is about 2.3GB.  Not a lot of required space, but the files still needs to be saved.  Apple charges me about $1/month for 50GB of storage.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2524025

      There are special Archival DVDs

      You’re quite right. But I don’t think the discs are the issue – I think it’s the players. Hardware.

      • #2524396

        Archival DVD’s have been mentioned.

        What about ordinary run-of-the-mill DVD’s purchased at a regular place (Best Buy, Walmart, etc, avoiding Amazon because of unknown product quality) and written on a garden variety DVD writer such as might installed in your common pc?

        If not using a DVD, what about CD-R’s, (not CD-RW’s which were notoriously undependable).

        What about making several copies and storing them in different geographical locations to avoid seasonal problems with heat/cold, low/high humidity, environmental/climate change issues?  Would having a number of copies help the long term storage issue? They’re not all going to go bad, are they?

        Are CD’s and DVD’s going out of style in the future? I hated to put a time-frame on that last question.  That would have started a whole ‘nuther conversation.  Yes, many current pc’s do not have an optical drive, but are they really going away?

         

        Answers?

    • #2524032

      Is it a good idea to save all this information to the cloud?

      My opinion is no, for two reasons.

      It may be the case that the cost of cloud storage is within your budget. However, let’s say you kick the bucket (God forbid). Hopefully, you will have left detailed instructions behind, but if you have automatic payments to various services, your survivors are going to take a hard look at that drain on finances while they attempt to set your affairs in order. Unless you have been detailed and clear, the plug can be pulled on those services with litttle thought.

      I don’t consider the cloud “tangible.” You can’t put your hands on it. Physical assets are tangible. When your survivors start dealing with them, they’re less likely to be hasty. And if you left instructions, at least there won’t be pressure to turn off those direct payments – your people can take their time trying to figure out what they’ve got and what to do with it.

    • #2524065

      I probably go a bit overboard with digital preservation, but I do want to expand on what the article said about hardware and apply that to the external drives that we store our digital media on, whether that be converted media or media that has always been digital.

      Mr. Fastie said “In other words, expect the media to outlast the hardware.”, and that is very much true. If you have precious media, don’t just store it on one drive, make sure you have at least two copies of it. Drives can and do fail and even if they don’t outright fail, data degradation (bit rot) is a real thing, as is ransomware.

      I personally store copies of everything precious to me on three drives, as well as in the cloud. I know that that is probably going overboard, but external drives are so cheap and the data so important to me that I don’t see why not.

      I also periodically use a piece of software called Hashdeep to check for any data degradation. Unfortunately, the software is no longer being updated, but it does still work on Windows 10 (I’ve not tried it on Windows 11). Hashdeep is a piece of software that can create and audit checksums of every file in a directory you specify. It’s simple, but it does the job of telling you when a file has been corrupted so you can replace the corrupted file with an uncorrupted copy.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2524074

      About 15 yrs ago I used a commercial service to digitize some of my parents’ old family slides and photos. The quality was not as satisfying as I would have liked. For instance, photos that were meant to be low-light came back auto-exposed to be brighter. It was disappointing to see artful sunset scenes brightened up to look like it was midday, washing out all the sunset colors.

      So when my father’s health was failing in 2008, I began digitizing all my parents’ slides and photos myself, using an Epson Precision flatbed scanner with transparency attachment. As Will said, it’s excruciatingly time-consuming. But I justified the time because if I didn’t do it, the photos — including a number of inherited photos from as far back as 1903 — could be lost to history.

      After I retired in 2015, I decided it was time to tackle my own personal media collections — slides, photos, videotapes, audio LP and tape collections.

      I began with the slides and photos, many of which I could scan at higher quality directly from the negatives instead of prints. Again, the Epson Perfection scanner worked beautifully, but the project (some 3000 photos) took the better part of a year, working off and on.

      While working on those, I read an article (2016) that the last company in the world making VHS players was ceasing production. That scared me because I had a lot of family videos from the early 1980’s that were recorded onto full-size VHS tapes. (That was before the Sony HandiCam was invented.) So I immediately set to digitizing my VHS home videos, using an analog-to-digital converter that plugged into a firewire add-in card in my computer.

      Next, I tackled all my Video-8, Hi-8, and Digital-8 camcorder tapes. I had a Digital-8 camcorder, which was backward-compatible with the earlier formats, and playback could be output via firewire. That meant I could use the camcorder to digitize the analog Video-8 and Hi-8 tapes, as well, without having to invest in another A-to-D converter.

      The process to convert my mini-DV tapes was basically the same — playing the tapes in the camcorder directly into my computer via firewire.

      All together, I converted about 300 videotapes.

      Incidentally, both my VHS player and my mini-DV camcorder have died in the last few years, so if you have conversions to do, I urge you to get them done ASAP before your equipment no longer works!

      My current project, which is now about 75% complete, is digitizing my LP collection (about 300 records). I considered buying a new turntable with USB output, but it was hard to justify the price for what would be a one-time project when I already had a good, audiophile quality turntable and sound system that still worked.

      Instead, I opted for a Behringer UFO202 converter, and it’s exceeded all my expectations. I highly recommend it! It’s specs are good (freq response 10-20k, THD 0.05%, S/N -89 dbA), and it sits between your turntable and your preamp. Unplug your turntable from the phono inputs of your preamp and plug it into this, and plug this into the line/tape/aux inputs on your preamp. (The Behringer has its own phono amplifier, so you must bypass the phono stage in your preamp.) The USB plug on the Behringer plugs into your laptop or desktop computer, and it couldn’t be simpler.

      Once that’s done, my final project will be converting about 40 reel-to-reel audio tapes, which I’ll also be able to do with the Behringer.

       

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2524083

      I have found nothing better for archival scanning than Vuescan from Hamrick Software. Incredibly cheap at $100 bucks, it replaces proprietary scanner drivers and allows you to make extremely high-resolution scans far beyond the manufacturer’s original specifications.

      Vuescan has allowed me to continue to use old scanners no longer supported by the manufacturers but still completely functional. Vuescan would be worthy of a full review by Windows Secrets, but I’m not sure I want it to be discovered and drive the price up!

      Next are some resources. I found a website titled “How to Digitally Archive and Share Historical Photographs, Documents, and Audio Recordings.” Google that. I won’t include a link because I’m probably not allowed to. Some great ideas as well as appropriate archival standards.

      I found another website called “Scan Your Entire Life.” It is not as up-to-date as I could wish but has lots of good ideas and recommendations about archiving digital content.

      Kodachrome color slides processed between roughly 1950-1970 were coated on the emulsion side with lacquer to provide protection against dirt, scratches, and fingerprints. Mold tends to grow on the lacquer from decomposition of the ingredients and also penetrates from the lacquer to the emulsion, where it thrives.

      I’m highly allergic to mold. Removing the slides from the cardboard mounts and then cleaning them before scanning can be a challenge. I wound up doing that part of the project wearing a hazmat suit, gloves, and respirator while working outdoors. With hindsight, I probably should have outsourced scanning the moldy slides!

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2524209

      Some observations from scanning Kodachromes, Ektachromes, and other slides and black and white negatives from the 1950s and 1960s:

      My first pass at it, in the early 1990s, was to take selected slides from a certain collection to a commercial prepress house that used a room-size Scitex drum scanner.  The slides were taken out of their cardboard frames and taped under cellophane to the drum.  The scans were detailed and color and contrast were good.

      I scanned many of the same slides on an Epson Perfection V750 flatbed scanner about ten years ago.  The results were not sharp enough.  While the scanner performs well with documents laid directly on the glass, it must guess at how far away the surface of the slide is in the holder, and that distance varies across the image due to warp.  When I look at photos in magazines that publish images in this genre (railroad history), I can easily spot slides that have been scanned on a flatbed scanner.

      Slides or negatives laid on the glass, and B&W negs in holders, will often exhibit “Newton rings.”

      I scanned using both Epson and VueScan software.  Color casts varied significantly, with VueScan tending toward blue-green.

      Many of the slides were scanned a few years ago by a friend using a consumer grade scanner.  The results were mediocre–not sharp and color off.

      After some research I bought a used Nikon LS9000 slide scanner.  I also have a friend who owns a somewhat smaller model, the LS5000.  Neither has been manufactured for years; they use a Firewire connection to the computer and the software is designed for Windows 7, but these are reputed to be the best slide scanners around.  The results on my LS9000 were sharp with good color and contrast.  My friend’s LS5000 actually was a hair sharper.

      Some reviewers suggested that Nikon discontinued these scanners because the customers essentially tended to use them once and then sell them.  There was thought to be no long term market.

      Concerning B&W negatives: I have found that simply scanning the negative tends to result in an image with poorer midtone contrast than a print.  Count me skeptical if good quality is the goal.  Of course it is getting difficult to find anyone to print B&W negs using the traditional process, rather than using the process designed for color negs.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2525034

        I scanned using both Epson and VueScan software. Color casts varied significantly, with VueScan tending toward blue-green.

        The “professional” version of VueScan has infinitely-configurable color settings. You can keep adjusting until you find settings you like.

        After some research I bought a used Nikon LS9000 slide scanner. I also have a friend who owns a somewhat smaller model, the LS5000.

        Both models are supported by VueScan despite their age.

         

         

    • #2524405

      Yes, many current pc’s do not have an optical drive, but are they really going away?

      I don’t think they’re going away entirely, but they used to be standard equipment on just about every PC – desktop or laptop. That’s no longer the case. The market has already cratered.

      I used to have a huge collection of 5-1/4″ and 3-1/2″ floppies, as well as Iomega ZIP disks, something like 700 in all. Nearly 20 years ago, I captured the data from as many as I could (some of the floppies were unreadable, about 1%) and put them all on one CD! I refresh that disc every five years by writing another one. However, in the next cycle I will put all the data on two or three USB thumb drives because they are faster, work with just about any PC, and get bigger and cheaper every day.

      My floppy archive is less than 1GB, but it’s hard to find USB thumb drives smaller than 16GB. Which simply means I can get a little redundancy by writing several copies on each thumb drive.

      In truth, the major reason I still want a CD/DVD drive is to put my CD-based music collection into digital form. I used to send archive discs to my clients, but now I send thumb drives if they want a physical copy.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2524694

      Thanks to Will Fastie for creating this topic, which has clearly generated a lot if interest.

      So far, no one seems to have mentioned a very simple alternative to the purported deterioration of SSDs with age: the old, dearly beloved HDD — a spinning platter hard drive, especially a laptop drive.  You’ve probably got some lying around from when you cloned up to an SSD for the better speed.

      Such drives made by Hitachi back in the late aughts and early teens, prior to  its being absorbed by Seagate (or Western Digital, I forget which), were superbly made and highly reliable. They are widely available on eBay at very modest prices, and in many cases advertised as “new.”  Their data lifetime certainly exceeds the 5 years mentioned for SSDs.

      Most often, in my experience the only thing that ever went wrong with a carefully handled laptop drive was that the platter bearing would dry up without use so it wouldn’t spin.  Fire them up occasionally to prevent that, and clone them at the slightest hint of any unexpected noise.  I never had a head crash, nor have I ever experienced “bit loss due to cosmic rays,” or any of those other old canards.

      A couple of HDD clone backups of everything until the much vaunted “glass” solution above becomes widely available is inexpensive insurance.

      PS: the archiving question is far more important and urgent in the movie industry.  I read recently that the state of the art solution there has become, of all things, magnetic tape!

      — AWRon

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2524748

      So far, no one seems to have mentioned a very simple alternative to the purported deterioration of SSDs with age: the old, dearly beloved HDD

      It’s certainly an option, and new drives are certainly affordable.

      However, you mention the precise reason I don’t recommend that alternative – HDDs are made to spin, so putting them in a box and letting them sit for five years is just asking for trouble.

      With one exception during my lifetime, all the HDD failures I’ve encountered came after the fifth year. Thus my standard recommendation to friends, family, and clients has been to swap them out for new drives after five years. I was doing the same thing 25 years ago, so it’s not new advice.

    • #2525036

      A pleasant surprise for me has been finding exceptional detail in analog color scans. In my project, I scanned every slide I found. One appeared to be a mistake by the photographer (attachment 1). Just an empty flight line at an airport circa 1955. After scanning to TIFF at 3200 dpi and enlarging the result, I discovered a Convair CV-340 either taking off or landing and a Douglas C-124 Globemaster parked in front of a hanger.

      The next time you scan a slide, even a seemingly innocuous one, try zooming the image and you may discover some amazing detail.

      Attachments:
    • #2525046

      In this thread Lance Whitney notes that:

      • Although some physical media assets can last a long time, they will not last forever;
      • Expect the media to outlast the hardware;
      • Get all older physical media converted to a digital format; and
      • Although the bits in the digital assets don’t change, the physical medium can.

      However, there is good reason not to digitize:

      • Digital formats change over time and material digitized today may not be readable tomorrow.
        • Engineering drawing, created with computer-aided design software (CAD files), 20 or more years ago are often not readable because the hardware, software and/or digital format used to produce them is no longer available – complicating  bridge and other infrastructure repairs unless paper copies of the drawings were retained.
        • Spreadsheets created using Lotus 123
      • Archivists preserve paper documents, photos, and other works of art by minimizing their exposure to light and storing them at constant temperatures of about 70⁰ F and 50% humidity.
        • Think about, the Black Sea scrolls, Deceleration of Independence, photographs from the civil war, and the stacks of documents being preserved by the National Archives, libraries, museums that continue to be available to researchers.
      •  Digitizing copyrighted material, such as music and videos, is a violation of the law.

      We do digitize a significant amount of material in order to share it with others and make it easier to find. But we do not throw away or destroy the original material.

    • #2525048

      Digitizing copyrighted material, such as music and videos, is a violation of the law.

      Not if you’ve paid for it. Loading one of your purchased CDs into iTunes is not illegal. Nor is recording something off the air (i.e., Sony decision re VCRs) and keeping a copy of it. What you can’t do is sell it.

      Archivists preserve …

      Indeed they do. And the serious ones at large institutions have the resources to create and maintain the environments that are ideal for preserving particular physical assets. Most people can’t manage that.

      • #2525057

        Sony Corp. of Am. v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417 (1984)

        Key Facts:

        • Plaintiff-appellees, Universal City Studios and Walt Disney Productions, were producers of motion pictures and other audiovisual works for television broadcasting. They alleged that defendant-appellants, Sony Corporation and Sony Corp. of America, were contributorily liable for infringing their copyrights by manufacturing and selling Betamax home videotape recorders to home viewers for the allegedly infringing purpose of recording plaintiffs’

        The Issue:

        • Whether unauthorized home videotaping of television broadcasts for non-commercial “time-shifting” purposes was fair use.

        The Holding:

        • The Court ruled that noncommercial home recording of television broadcasts for the purpose of “time-shifting” was fair use. It held that, given the nature of televised works and the fact that viewers had been invited to watch the programs in their entirety free of charge, reproduction of the entire work “does not have its ordinary effect of militating against a finding of fair use.”
        • The Court further held that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate any likelihood of more than minimal harm to the potential market for, or the value of, their copyrighted works.

        The operating language in the ruling is the terminology, “for the purpose of “time-shifting”.

        Recording of copyrighted material for the purpose of storing it for your own use is consistent with the ruling.

        As I read it, the recording of copyrighted material for sharing with others remains a copyright infringement.  This idea is further supported by the Supreme Court’s Grokster et al ruling.

    • #2525426

      Will,  Great article, but conspicuously missing was any mention of VHS.  I have well 0ver 30 VHS tapes, both conventional and Super, that I would like to digitally archive.  I’ve tried a few “dongle” type devices with varying degrees of disappointment.  Any thoughts?  I have a few VHS machines, including Super.  Thanks, Bill

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2525630

        Just about all computers in the past few decades have come with a sound card that has an audio input jack so you can record analog audio and turn it into digital wav, mp3, etc. files.  This has not been the case with video however, and one must obtain another special video card that allows inputting analog video (from VHS tapes) and turning it into digital mp4, etc. files.  You must also usually obtain the software necessary to do this as most OS’s don’t come with the ability to record video.

        I’m not saying it can’t be done, but video seems to have always been more difficult to copy on to CD, DVD, hard drives, etc.  I still have two combination DVD/VHS players that work fine, but I’m going to have to get some of my personal VHS tapes digitized too just to be sure they’re preserved.

        Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you recognize a mistake as soon as you make it again.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2526169

        I got a cheap dongle and Arcsoft Showbiz DVD to convert our VHS and Video-8 to DVD and it worked fine – I didn’t bother chaptering up the separate bits on the videos so that made it just a matter of recording to a big video file then writing to DVD.  The first one I got converted by a service chopped the tape into sections with navigation but as ours were mostly just holiday videos there really wasn’t a need.

        Attachments:
        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2525533

      In 1994, I co-ventured with the Erie Lackawanna (Railroad) Historical Society to pay the Pennsylvania State Archives to microfilm much of the corporate records of the Erie Railroad and predecessors in their collection. I received one set of duplicate microfilms and worked with them using an ancient second-hand Kodak Recordak “teepee” reader located near my computer. I had to read, then turn and transcribe on the computer. Quite the test of short-term memory, and tiring work.

      About ten years ago I noticed that some rolls were starting to fade, so I had them digitized. Now I could put the PDF on the screen next to my Word document.

      The microfilm rolls were numbered in an opaque fashion, which made it difficult to understand the sequence of things like board of directors minutes. I was ready to digitize the microfilms because I realized that the material would remain all but inaccessible otherwise. In order to keep the task simple for the scanning service, each page was saved as a separate PDF. I saved all of them as a separate file and socked away the original scans on the external hard drive they came on. I then combined the PDFs in Adobe Acrobat and created working copies sorted by type of material and date. The working copies can be highlighted and annotated. (I live in fear that future changes in the PDF reader or related technology might render some or all of these PDFs unreadable, but that’s just something to keep an eye on.)

      Similarly, I have thousands of digital newspaper clippings, with the originals saved in folders reflecting the newspaper’s location. File names start with the year-month-day, so they sort themselves chronologically. Working copies are organized in subject folders.

      And this is the point: Digitizing makes the material useful, where otherwise it would just be overwhelming. My subject folders for clippings are often specific enough that they contain maybe 25 to 50 clippings, a number small enough to absorb and keep in mind when I start writing.

      The same holds true for family photos and similar material. The ability to organize it digitally is a big advantage.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2525647

      Just about all computers in the past few decades have come with a sound card that has an audio input jack

      Just about all desktop computers have come with audio jacks, and most of those were based on the sound capabilities built into the motherboard. But laptops are a different story. They make up the majority of PC sales, along with tablets. And I can’t remember the last time I saw an Apple computer with RCA jacks.

      Your point is well taken, though. There are a lot of PCs out there with built-in sound.

    • #2525648

      … conspicuously missing was any mention of VHS.

      I did mention the format in the second paragraph, along with VHS-C and BetaMax, but you’re right that I didn’t mention VCRs in in hardware section or practical advice sections. Which is odd, because I have a VCR about four feet away from where I’m sitting. I keep it handy because I’m converting tapes for friends and, soon, for myself.

    • #2525839

      I have been wanting to digitize all our family photo negatives from back in the day before digital cameras. I have kept putting it off, but a couple of years into retirement I decided to tackle the project. Most of our negatives were 135 and 110; however, the kicker was that our wedding photos were all medium format  (120), and some of my oldest stuff was also medium format.

      A few years back I bought a Wolverine scanner for around $100. And it sat in a box until now.

      I started scanning using the Wolverine. Pro: it goes quickly. Cons: color and quality are ok and it does not do medium format. However, the scan is better than the original prints we have. So is it good enough to scan most of our negatives. But I thought: but I should be able to get more detail and better color.

      So last week I started researching negative scanning. People have devised all sorts of work arounds, including light boards. Scanners are available, but expensive. But I found a number of sites and folks that recommended the Epson Perfection scanners. And most found the least expensive, the Perfection V600 to work extremely well. Unfortunately, the V600 is not made anymore. But I was able to find a NEW V600 on Ebay for an excellent price ($400 including shipping).

      Long story short:

      The V600 has trays that handle the 135 and the 56mm medium format as well as some panoramic negatives. It also handles slides. I have read that you can make 110 scans, but there is no tray for them.

      The software is decent and requires maybe an hour or two of experimentation. Basically, I just need a good scan and then I can import it into my photo processing program.

      Mechanics: Loading the scanner is relatively slow. And the scan can take anywhere from a minute or so for a 2400 dpi 12MB file to five if you go to 4800 dpi (which sort of maxes out the quality for the film from the old point and shoots). You can go up to over 12000 dpi, but I don’t want to think how long that would take. That being said, upon importing it and processing, I get excellent quality files that are a massive improvement over my old photo prints. This scanner easily handles my old point and shoot negatives, and given the high dpi on the scanner  I have no doubt it will handle high quality negatives.

      Comments: Since it is so fast, I continue to use the Wolverine for decent large size “thumbnails” to save 90% of the collection. I will then go through them to select photos that I will scan on the Epson. (I can do around 100 negatives an hour on the Wolverine, and about 10 an hour on the Epson.)

      I will admit I haven’t tried scanning the wedding medium format from wedding photographer’s Hasselblad yet, but I will update this if there are any issues.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2525844

      Unfortunately, the V600 is not made anymore.

      I was not aware of that. Epson’s site indicates that the V600 is out of stock and I know that sometimes this an in indicator of the product’s imminent demise, but the V600 has been in and out of stock for the last year. So I’m not sure it’s gone just yet.

      Do you have a source for your information? Because if that scanner is gone, there are very few other alternatives. The Perfection V850 Pro now lists for $1,299, quite the high price.

      Based upon the number of negatives my wife and I are likely to scan, our V600 will end up costing us about $0.20 per negative. For the V850, that would soar to $0.87.

      • #2525933

        The V700 (of which I own two) and V750 (same thing except with a wet plate capability, IIRC), is a good alternative.  My recollection is that the V800/850’s only significant change was to substitute an LED lamp.  I found my second V700 on Ebay, intending to drag it around to those research libraries that will let me scan onsite.  It looks beat up but I have been using it at home on a big scanning project recently and it performs well.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2526121

        You are correct, the Epson site shows it as out of stock. BestBuy shows it as not available. I may have made an incorrect assumption. It will be interesting to see if it is production again. The V600 is an excellent choice!

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2526299

        Amazon and Walmart both show the V600 in stock and available to order today.

    • #2526126

      When I got the family 8mm films that my uncle/auntie took converted to DVD I was amazed at the quality and the lack of the black halo round the image you used to get when you projected it.  Some of them were over 50 years old but definitely worth doing if you can find someone to do it as it brings memories to life.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2526266

      My current project, which is now about 75% complete, is digitizing my LP collection (about 300 records). I considered buying a new turntable with USB output, but it was hard to justify the price for what would be a one-time project when I already had a good, audiophile quality turntable and sound system that still worked.

      Thanks to DG1261 for all that.  I’ve done just about everything he says.

      For vinyl I bought a relatively inexpensive USB ‘sound card’ and us an old laptop and my turntable to digitize records.  No problem at all with that. The software I use is “Spin-it-Again” by Acoustica which is years old and no longer supported (but it is sold!) and requires a fix for full function, but works perfectly.

      For VHS tapes I bought a a-to-d converter, USB again, and converted my small collection too.  My VCR had broken (a single capacitor, I guess from google advice, but repairing it failed) but the local thrift stores still have lots of VCR’s so hope for them is not lost.

      The Epson V600 I confirm is quite a good solution, along with either Epson software or Vuescan – both work well.

      It is a ‘time investment’ project!!  Maybe ‘labor of love’ – and I’ll hope that perhaps the work is worthwhile, assuming that I eventually have a second generation to offer stuff to  (the first generation indeed doesn’t seem too interested).

    • #2529622

      Follow up to my post regarding the V600. The V600 does an amazing job scanning medium format negatives. I also have to say the 45 year old negatives scanned beautifully: our wedding photographer used excellent film for his Hasselblad. They are crisp, sharp and have incredible color. Wow!

    Viewing 25 reply threads
    Reply To: Saving history

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use all available BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.

    Your information: