How can a mobile scanner help you digitize, inventory and archive your genealogical research? We asked Diane Miller, technical marketing specialist for the Flip-Pal mobile scanner.
A. Flip-Pal is a compact, mobile flatbed scanner. With most other portable or handheld scanners, you’re tethered to your computer or a power source. Not this one. You can go to a relative’s house or sit on your own comfy couch and scan your photos. I’ve even known someone to scan photos while in the passenger seat of a car in motion. It’s also really fast: I once scanned 450 snapshots in a single afternoon while watching TV. It runs on four AA batteries so you can scan anywhere.
A. Because you can remove the scanner lid, flip the whole unit over and place it on whatever you’re scanning. It has a window on the back, so you can see through it to line up what you’re scanning. You can hold it upright and scan something on the wall. Or you can flip it upside down and scan images from a photo album or fragile book without disturbing the book. You can even scan across an old book that won’t lay flat. (Just tuck the far end of the scanner into the binding, then gently roll the Flip-Pal in sync with the scan bar.)
A. The Flip-Pal scans a 4×6-inch surface to a JPG at a resolution of 300 or 600 dpi. A 300-dpi scan will give you a high-quality print at the same size. The higher option, 600 dpi, is perfect if you want to enlarge that image up to twice its size. This is also good if you want just a part of the photo such as a specific face you want to crop from the photo. Either option is fast: 300 dpi scans in 6 seconds and 600 dpi in about 11 seconds. The first usually results in a 1.2MB size, and the second about 1.6MB. You decide whether to take the extra time and storage space.
A. Some photo archivers work with the TIFF format because it doesn’t degrade slightly in image quality every time you edit and resave it, but a JPG does. It is recommended that you save a copy of your scans as TIFFs and never edit these just in case you need to go back to the original scan. On the other hand, perceptual studies have shown that people cannot see the difference between a non-edited JPG and a TIFF until enlarged six times.