Old documents often are fragile. Simply handling them can damage the documents or speed their deterioration; so, one must avoid frequent handling. This can be difficult in the case of family heirlooms since many people may want to see them. Equally challenging is the difficulty of sharing those old documents with people who cannot easily travel to the location where the documents and photographs are stored. Even if you could count on those people returning them, the thought of sending irreplaceable original documents in the mail would give a genealogist the willies!
Luckily, within the past decade technology advances have reduced many of these difficulties. It is now possible to reproduce and even improve the appearance of old documents and photographs. Multiple copies are easy to make, and electronic copies can be put on CD-ROM disks, on Web sites, and even in e-mail messages. Best of all, these tasks can be done at home, using modestly-priced hardware and software. In fact, making electronic improvements and photocopies often can be done for prices that rival or beat older methods.
This week I thought I would describe the process of preserving old documents and making them easily available to anyone who wishes to view them.
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