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Chapter 2. Overview of the Save the Memory Project

(3)Photo Scanning = Digitalization

Cleanly washed photos were scanned using a digital copier and converted to digital images. The reasons for using a digital copier are as follows.

  • Ricoh manufactures digital copiers, so it was easy to obtain the equipment.
  • The color image scanner of the digital copiers can read image data at extremely fast speeds, and this made it possible to achieve a high level of operability.
  • Digital copiers can support a maximum image size of A3, so even large photos could be scanned.
  • The network function of the digital copiers was used to easily transfer scanned image data to a personal computer via a local area network.
    = “Scan to Folder” function
  • A function was established to enable a simultaneous printout of the “photo control number (unique ID number)” as the photo was scanned.
    More specifically, PC script (a simple program) was used to issue a control number for the image data that was forwarded to a PC as well as a print instruction.
    (Each original photo was stored with the printout of its control number.)

Photo scanning was done by hand one photo at a time by placing the photo on the contact glass and pressing the scan start button. After scanning was completed, the “#” key was pressed to complete the operation. The scanned photo was then forwarded to a PC, and at the same time, the control number was printed on an A6 size of paper. Image data was saved in JPEG format, and it was automatically given the same file name as the control number. After scanning was completed, the original photo and the printout of its control number were stored together in a reclosable poly bag. This makes it possible to easily find original photos arranged in numerical order, and to also easily and reliably manage the return of photos.
Photos that were found in an album were successively scanned using the start button on the digital copier, and when the final photo was scanned, the “#” key was pressed to recognize the entire album as a single block of data.
A major problem occurred when scanning the cleaned and dried photos because of the curling of the photos. The digital copier is equipped with a unit called a pressure plate that presses down on the document to be copied and is opened and closed from the front. However, it was not easy to press straight down on curled photos that were L-size or smaller. Therefore, we fabricated a fixture to press down on these small photos. The fixture is shaped like a large stamp, and the bottom surface is rubber. Because it was designed with an appropriate amount of weight, even after the volunteer let go of a curled photo, it remain properly pressed down. Large photos were scanned using the pressure plate of the digital copier as is.

Photos are scanned by Ricoh's multifunction copier

Photos are scanned by Ricoh's multifunction copier