Essential Care Tips for Scanning Old Books

Digitizing old books preserves them and transforms them into a convenient, space-saving format. Moreover, this process enhances the sharing and accessibility of knowledge. With advances in scanning technology, such as professional overhead book scanners and non-destructive techniques, minimal contact is required. Consequently, this ensures their longevity and integrity.

This article explores essential care tips for scanning old books. Additionally, it emphasizes the importance of a clean environment and atmosphere. Furthermore, selecting the right scanning equipment is crucial to preserving these treasures for future generations.

Initial Evaluation of Book Condition

  1. Physical Inspection: Begin by evaluating the physical condition of the book. Check for any damages such as tears, stains, or compromised bindings that may need repair or stabilization before scanning.
  2. Cleaning Process: Use a soft brush or cloth to gently remove any dust or dirt from the book’s surface, ensuring it is clean before the scanning process. Or alternatively, use a UV based disinfection machines such as MiTAC IDSmart Sterilizer that is designed to eliminate fungi, bacteria and virus that threaten the health through UV germicidal irradiation. It is aimed to create a comfortable and safe book use experience by disinfecting the inside and outside of bonded materials.

Scanning Old Books: Prepare your Environment

By meticulously preparing the environment and choosing the right equipment, one can ensure that the digitization of old books is done efficiently and carefully.

  • Workspace Preparation: Maintain a clean, spacious, and organized work table. Ensure hands are washed and dried before handling materials, and use gloves when dealing with sensitive items. Keep the workspace free of food and drink.
  • Sterilize & Disinfect: Disinfecting books is essential before and after scanning, especially after times like the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we need to remember that books are delicate, and excessive moisture or harsh chemicals can damage, so, no Lysol Wipes or Other Cleaners. So think about having MiTAC IDSmart UV-C Sterilizer that is capable of inactivating microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses and protozoa outside and inside of books.
  • Preservation Protocols: Follow guidelines from authoritative bodies like the ALCTS and IFLA for handling and digitizing rare books and manuscripts. These guidelines help in maintaining the integrity of the materials during the digitization process.

Handle with Care

When handling old books during scanning, it’s essential to take precautions to preserve their condition. Here are some care instructions:

  1. Clean Hands: Always wash your hands thoroughly before touching old books. Oils, dirt, and moisture from your hands can damage delicate pages.
  2. Disinfect Books: Disinfecting frequently used surfaces by MiTAC IDSmart UV-C Sterilizer is extremely important, since the Ultraviolet UVC light is very effective at inactivating pathogens like viruses and bacteria.
  3. Gentle Handling: Treat the books gently. Avoid bending, folding, or applying pressure to the spine or pages. Use a book cradle or support to keep the book open without stressing the binding.
  4. Surrounding Environment: Keep the scanning area free of food, drinks, and other contaminants.
  5. Book Cradle: If using a scanner like the Bookeye 5 that can accommodate the book without forcing it flat, ensure that the book cradle is adjusted properly. The self-adjusting cradle helps maintain the book’s shape and prevents excessive stress on the spine.
  6. Temperature and Humidity: Store books in a stable environment with controlled temperature and humidity. Extreme conditions can lead to deterioration.
  7. Environment Light: Use appropriate lighting during scanning. Avoid direct sunlight or harsh artificial light, as they can fade ink and weaken paper fibers.
  8. Scan Light: Check the Book Scanner before purchase that has no IR/UV emission. Our Bookeye scanners uses a White LEDs, tested according to IEC 62471, with no IR/UV emission. These LEDs in the Bookeye Book Scanners were designed together with two of the largest LED manufacturers and are produced by Image Access in high quantities also for other scanner vendors.

Remember that each book is unique, so assess its condition and adjust your handling accordingly. If you encounter rare or valuable books, consult a preservation specialist for guidance.


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