How to Digitize Your Old Historical Documents

Old documents and paperwork

Universities, colleges, libraries, non-profit organizations, and historical societies all have one major thing in common – they have many historical documents that need to be properly preserved and kept in immaculate condition.

Whether they need them for archival purposes, research, or for the development of a plan, these historical documents have usually been with the company for decades or centuries.

However, despite careful preservation, there are still instances where the depreciation of the documents can no longer be prevented. The ink and even the images can begin to fade and even the oils from your hand can cause the paper to disintegrate.

This is why you’ll find that a lot of libraries, universities, and historical organizations have certain documents that can only be handled by wearing gloves and using clippers to turn the page. Storage of these documents can also be very expensive and involve a lot of protocols.

Digitizing Historical Records

If you have historical documents that need to be handled frequently, a good way to preserve them is through document digitization. This service gives you greater flexibility as you are able to share the digitized version of the document with others. This greatly facilitates the study of such documents since you don’t have to worry about the depreciation of the original print.

Similarly, document imaging services can be used to preserve images, maps, blueprints, graphs, or other visual material. With other features like photo retouching, you can highlight and enhance the overall quality of the image as well. If you have decided to get your historical documents digitized, you will want to pay attention to the following tips to ensure the highest quality output.

Pay Attention to the Resolution

Always make sure that all document digitizing is being done in accordance with the appropriate resolution to meet your needs. This ensures that you get the best results possible in the first round.

Another added bonus here is that the original document will not need to be re-handled or re-digitized if you need a higher resolution at a later date. It’s always best to minimize the handling and processing of source material wherever possible.

The best resolution to scan your documents will depend largely on what you plan to do with the images. If you plan on blowing them up to a larger size or doing heavy editing then you’ll want to err on the higher side. Depending on your organization and type of documents, there may be industry standards or guidelines such as FADGI, that can help you decide the best scanning resolution for your project.

Get the Original Digitized

To ensure that you’re getting a clear digital copy of the document, it’s a good idea to use the original one to scan and digitize. In the case of images, this means using the negatives instead of the print. Using the first-generation version of the document can give you a digital copy that is clear, crisp, and does not suffer from any depreciation.

This also means that when you’re using different compression techniques or file formats that are in line with modern technology, you do not lose any fine details. When you’re opting for document imaging services, you have to make sure that the negatives of photos, images, maps, and other graphic material should be used for making the digital copy. In the event that you don’t have these or if they are of poor quality, only then should you use the image print.

Have a Master Image File

When you’re getting the historical documents digitized, always make sure that you’re creating a master image file. This is going to be the file where your original, digitized documents are going to be kept. You will then use these to make further copies from them, as needed, for sharing purposes.

Having a separate master image file also means that you always have a valuable backup available. Digitized historical documents can also carry the same value as the original ones, so you need to make sure that the original ones are kept safe. In this manner, you can also have a restricted security access point, which means that there is little to no risk of hacking, theft, or destruction of these documents.

Always Save the Original Documents

Even if you are getting document digitization for your historical paperwork, never discard them completely thinking you no longer need them. Whether it is images, print, or even old historical magazines, you should move them into storage permanently once you have them digitized. Never get rid of them because there is no knowing when you might need them.

Many libraries, universities, and historical organizations have digital versions of their documents and also the originals. Curious researchers can get access to digital copies but many times, some are only happy when they get to view the original document.

In such cases, they usually get special permission to study the document under supervision and with the help of the right expert. By keeping the originals, you get to increase the value of your historical documents, even if they’re firmly kept in their archival storage area.

Get Professional Help

If you want to get digitization for your documents and images, it is a good idea to get professional help. With the help of professionals, you can not only get document imaging services, but you can also make use of other services such as; photo retouching, image enhancing, brightening, and other additions, which can add value to your historical documents.

Their insight into different digitizing methods can also be valuable, particularly when handling delicate documents. This means that you will have no worries about making mistakes, which could ruin the end result and also harm the document in any manner.

Working with professionals is also perfect for when you need to get large volumes of paperwork and images digitized. With their help and expertise, you can easily get the best results in a short period of time.

Image source: Freepik Premium

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