Saving Family Photos

When I was young, I was sitting in my parent’s living room and looking through the photo albums that my mom had created. They spanned generations, from my Great Great Grandmother’s family, to me when I was young holding a towel around me after swimming in a lake. My dad always seemed to have a camera around his neck when we travelled, and while we didn’t travel out of state often, we did try to explore different parts of Oregon, and every year we went hunting and my dad would take pictures.


Storage for personal photos has never been exactly up to archival standards. People use photo albums that have a plastic cover and a sticky back. While it does help to keep the photos from moving, over time the glue degrades the photos and yellows the glue and eventually the photos. Before that people would glue photos into a photo album, or in some cases even to paper that was then put into a binder. While even old photos were usually good quality, over time these storage methods can degrade and, in some cases, even destroy the photo.


Today, most things are digital, including hundreds of thousands of photos taken daily using cell phones and digital cameras. This is helping grow the collective history, whether people like the “selfie” generation style photos or not.  As a cultural historian, these photos show what life is like now, just as photos taken in the middle of the century showed what life was like then. The method may have changed, but the result is the same.


As our ancestors have passed away, many younger individuals are left with photo albums and are not sure what to do with them. Add that to our increased mobility and this history gets donated to thrift stores or sold at garage sales because there isn’t a place for large photo albums anymore.


This is how Schellinger Research and other digitization companies can help. When people think of digitization, they think large scale for businesses or libraries, but often, my clients are private individuals that want to digitize documents and other material to decrease physical clutter, while easily indexing and holding on to history.  Also, as time goes on originals may deteriorate, but the electronic copies will always be there. This can help create custom Christmas gifts like calendars with family photos or small photo books and framed images for the wall.


If you are someone who has photo albums laying around and you want to keep a digital copy for future use, please contact us. Our rates are affordable, and in most cases your photos never have to leave your possession, whereas other companies you may require you to send your photos away for them to be digitized.


If you have a collection of photos that you would like digitized and preserved, please reach out to Schellinger Research via our contact page.  We are still accepting projects.


Until next time, happy scanning 🙂

Personal Scanning

Over the course of the last two years I have acquired three different scanners, all with different purposes.  For both personal and professional reasons, I decided that I needed all three.


I have a Canon flat bed scanner. This is an older scanner, identical to the one that I used when I worked for the DOD. It’s great for historic documents, especially odd sized ones from World War II.  I use it for anything that is fragile or could not be scanned through the feeder scanner. The computer application I use is basic, like the scanner, but it is works for certain things.  However, it is not good for books or things that are thick because of the way that the top flattens to the glass.


I have an HP feed scanner. This is great for copies of records or records that are newer and can be scanned. Receipts and personal tax records for instance are prefect for this type of scanner. When  working on my book, “Men Beyond the Stones” I used this scanner to digitize all the files that I received from the National Personnel Records Facility (NPRC). That way I could put the paper records away while still using the information I needed from the scans.


Realizing that I had documents that I couldn’t scan using either my flatbed or feed scanner, and moving forward with my digitization business, I decided I needed something more robust.  Also, I wanted to use some of the records that the local museum had in their archival collections. That meant that I couldn’t check the documents out, but I didn’t want to write at the library. I decided to purchase a larger scanner that has the capacity to scan books and larger items.


in the box


As a collector of military books as well as antique books, I immediately wanted to test this scanner’s capabilities.  I have a submarine book that I have been looking at for a while, trying to figure out the best way to preserve it while also using it as a reference. I decided this was the perfect place to test the scanner.  Something odd shaped, old, and somewhat brittle to preserve.


Sub Data


I set it up in the living room on the coffee table so I could watch tv with my daughter and scan. It worked perfectly, and I now have a full scanned copy of this book on my hard drive, waiting for me to use. As I am using this for my personal use, while still maintaining ownership of the original, I am not violating copyright law.


Scanning Sub.jpg


Not all scanning has to be important, or even immediately useful.  For example, I have used my feed scanner and my Canon scanner to scan recipes.  Were they old?  No.  Were they important?  Not specifically.  But was it convenient for me?  Absolutely.


Over the course of two years I acquired many food magazines, from my mother, my aunt, and personal subscriptions. I decided that I didn’t want the magazines just cluttering up my house and so I went through them and tore out all the recipes that I am interested in, or that my family would eat.


After I took them out of the magazine, I had a stack of papers. Scanned, saved, and put on my computer for future use.  Just like that!


If you are interested in having documents, images, or recipes scanned, please reach out to us via our contact page to see how we can best assist you.


Until next time, happy scanning!

The importance of digitizing historical documents

When I was working on my book Men Beyond the Stones I went into the local library to look at what archival documents they had. I was hoping to find images of the individuals who I had not yet been able to track down. While I was unable to find the images I needed, I discovered something almost as important. The library had an entire wall of documents, books, and binders full of newspaper clippings and manila envelopes full of documents, all unable to be checked out.


At the beginning of 2020, I decided not only was I going to push Schellinger Research forward, but I also planned to volunteer more in the community. My volunteer opportunities outside of the time Schellinger Research donates includes being part of Home Fires Burning which is a local group dedicated to helping caregivers of military veterans, I also am currently the secretary of Friends of Girl Scouts(FOGS) The Dalles, a local organization that supports the local Girl Scout troops.


Deciding how I can put my knowledge to use, I approached the library director about scanning the documents in the glass case. I believe that archival documents should be widely available, and by scanning them, hopefully more people will be able to view and make use of these important documents. It will also make it easier for researchers such as myself, who may be interested in the documents.


Historical documents, be it photos, newspaper clippings, or written accounts of historical events help to enhance our understanding of events, culture, how people thought and behaved, and most importantly, how documentation of events occurred.  Today, people create vlogs, or take pictures and create a social media or blog post. Even 20 years ago the technology was not to that point, so history was documented differently.


This difference is what I thrive on. It’s piecing together elements of the past to make a cohesive picture for modern historians and everyone to see. To like history does not mean you have to be a historian. To understand what people from the past went through does not mean you have to have a degree or be related to them. Just as sitting down and reading Anne Frank’s diary takes you into her life, so does looking at photos and reading accounts of what life was like for those before us.


Living in the Columbia Gorge has surrounded me with Lewis and Clark history, and the history of the Oregon trail. Personally, my interests tend to go towards post 1900 culture, interesting pieces from the past have still pique my interest. While for me it may only be a passing glance, others live for that history that was previously sitting on a shelf in a library.


Specifically, for me, digitizing history is important to ensure that it exists after the paper breaks down. After the people who lived during that time pass away. And ultimately after their stories have ceased to be passed down from generation to generation.  Just as we work to preserve ancient history, we must also work to preserve recent history, as it can serve as a reminder of where we came from.


Reach out to us for all of your digitizing needs.


Until next time, happy researching!