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I have received many newspaper clippings, certificates, photos, and other invaluable family heirlooms from a relative who would like them returned. Another question has given me great advice about scanning or photographing the documents.

One thing that is not covered however are ways to deal with documents with hard creases or have been rolled. (For example, a rolled 16"x24" high school diploma from 1904, or a newspaper clipping from 1942 folded many times over.)

How do I digitize these assets without damaging them yet still obtain an authentic facsimile?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

For rolled images, follow the advice from the Preservation section on the Library of Congress website:

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I normally use an integral scanner/printer for making my copies. This works well for uneven or creased originals of up to A4 or US-letter size.

However, I had a problem with oversized originals such as diplomas, some certificates, and rolled maps. I purchased a small hand-held scanner and that worked very well. It is about 10" x 1" and runs on batteries. It does black-and-white or colour, and has two dpi settings (300 & 600).

This also proved handy when visiting relatives in case they got their family photographs out. One problem here was if they couldn't be popped out of the album (e.g. too fragile) since the presence of photo-corners could cause it to snag.

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Is any special handling necessary for folded or rolled documents? How do you hold them flat? – ColeValleyGirl Dec 17 '12 at 20:25
I simply held one end of the document with finger and let the scanner move over the surface. Hence, I never tried to pin it down with anything. This worked well for rolled documents. If a folded document had a pronounced crease then it can - like the photo corners - snag the scanner during its movement. I was surprised how little effect a non-smooth hand motion made to the scans. It just had to be kept perpendicular to the document edge. – ACProctor Dec 17 '12 at 22:30

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