What to do when you inherit the family library of photos, videos, and documents? (Part 4)

A lot of the items you want to digitalize have been sitting in a closet or box for a number of years.  The longer they are stored, the more likely they are to collect dirt or dust.  Who wants a copy with specs of dust or dirt embedded into the digital picture?  While you cannot always clean an item to its pristine original condition there is a simple way to clean an item prior to digitalizing it. 

One of the best investments next to the actual computer hardware or software used in digitalizing your items is a small contractor compressor with an air gun as seen in the picture.  These compressors usually cost about $100 and can be purchased at any local home improvement store.  Compressed air can help clean your items by removing the dust just prior to scanning or ripping. 

Using compressed air instead of other cleaning agents is preferred and offers the best solution with the least possibility of damaging the item.  It has the advantage of getting in the nook and crannies of things like old cassette tapes.  However, compressed air can also cause damage, especially on a very fragile photograph or a document that is brittle.  Always use a low psi (pounds per square inch) when attempting to dust fragile items.  Test the pressure on a something like a scrap of paper before applying it to any important family item.

Check out GenealogyChris’s blog next week for tips on scanning your photographs.