Preserve Photos And Documents With Tips From The Smithsonian

Who knows better how to salvage, scan and otherwise preserve your family's treasured archives than the archivists at the Smithsonian Institution? A recent Q&A session revealed some great tips for un-sticking photos, scanning mouldy documents, converting old film and other restorations.

If, for example, you were wondering what resolution to scan in your documents for future-proof preserving, and what format to export them to, Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, the electronic archivist for the Smithsonian Institution Archives, has your answer:

Lynda says, "For images we use no less than 600 ppi to yield a minimum of 6,000 pixels along the long axis, as part of our best practices. For example, images more than 10 inches in length should have the resolution set to 600 ppi. colour is saved as 24-bit TIFF and grayscale is saved as 8-bit TIFF. TIFF is a lossless format, while JPEG uses lossy compression, meaning a loss in quality when edited. These TIFFs will create large files and depending on your needs, a minimum of 300 ppi could work. Documents can be saved as PDF/A (A for Archival) or PDF. Again, 300 ppi should result in a good quality file." You can also find some great tips from the SIA digitization standards.

A reading of the Q&A from the Smithsonian's Facebook page can be found at The Atlantic Technology Channel. Where do you turn for advice on saving the stuff that fills your attic?

Taking Care of Your Personal Archives [The Atlantic]


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