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Pearl Document Scanning Blog

News and updates related to the document scanning industry.

Scanning archive files integral to preserving vital human history

The importance of keeping historic files safe is something that has been understood for centuries. As a result, there are many expansive libraries across the world that act as archives for these crucial files, manuscripts and photographs. However, in order to keep these ancient, delicate documents safe they must be stored in increasingly strict conditions. As this becomes more difficult, with these files becoming even more delicate over time, document scanning and digitisation could hold the key to passing this information on for decades, preserving such files forever.

Its potential is now understood by the masses, as was shown by a recent Kickstarter campaign by Stirling University. After an archive of books, photographs and notes taken by black rights freedom fighter, Peter Mackay - containing 30 large crates of documents he created during his time liberating people in colonial Africa - was gifted to the institution, it launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds needed to digitise such files. Noting them to be of ‘international importance’, and maintaining them seen as ‘invaluable’, storing them in digital format using document scanning is seen as the best way to keep such records safe, and available to be viewed by the public.

Naveed Ashraf, Managing Director at Pearl Scan said, “For many years, keeping historic files in dedicated storage facilities in a controlled environment has been the only option. However, as these files become older, the challenges increase when looking to preserve them. We find documents from hundreds and thousands of years ago fascinating now, imagine how incredible they will be to human civilisation a thousand more years from this day! In order to give them this privilege, we must adopt a new approach.

“Document scanning is capable of capturing information from even the most sensitive documents without causing damage. Once done, this data can be stored in virtual format, meaning there are no limits to who can view it. Rather requesting special permission to handle delicate files, using document scanning could make these important files available to anyone, anywhere across the world who wishes to view them – just imagine the possibilities that could bring!”

Scanning archive files is fast becoming the ‘go-to’ method for institutions and individuals across the world when faced with the responsibility of storing history-critical data. Document scanning experts such as Pearl Scan provide the facilities and capability to do so.

Fill in the blanks with heritage scanning


Filling in blanks and searching through family trees has always been an interesting past time, but thanks to technology, more people than ever now have access to their family tress in order to discover where they came from, why they look like they do and how they came to be born in a certain place.

Websites such as Ancestry and Family Tree attract thousands of visitors every day just looking to delve further into their past and perhaps come across long, lost relatives. As a result, more people than ever are searching through old family photos in order to upload them onto these sites and help others make the right connections. But old photos are obviously not easily found on mobile phones and memory cards. Instead they are usually tucked away in boxes and albums just waiting to be discovered and uploaded to such sites. However all too often people find that time has taken its toll on these photos and they are falling into a state of disrepair.

Pearl Scan has been a leader when it comes to the digitalisation of documents for many years, but it is also an expert when it comes to heritage scanning in order to preserve historic photos and documents forever.

Naveed Ashraf, Managing Director at Pearl Scan Group, said, “There’s no denying that people place a lot of meaning around photos – especially of people who are no longer with us. Websites which are designed to help connect the historic dots and help people discover their past rely on photos to help jog memories and add value to searches. However as photos didn’t become popular until around 50 years ago, often there may only be a few photos of these beloved family members in existence – and these are likely to be in poor condition due to age. This can be heart-breaking for people wanting preserve these memories and if the documents have particular sentimental, or even historic, value.

“Should this be the case, people can either choose to preserve hard copies in themselves through protective storage means or basic scanning, or they can choose to have their archive digitally conserved – which creates a much clearer result.”

The heritage scanning process follows the standard digitisation scanning process. It involves post-scan image processing in order to ‘uplift’ any lost or faint areas or information in order to restore images almost to their former glory. These can then be saved on clouds, computers and even used as device backgrounds – just like any digital photo. However often these images are uploaded to the internet and genealogy websites and used to help others discover more about their past and connect family members to one another – wherever they are in the world.

Keep memories alive by scanning old photos

If they say that a picture is worth a thousand words, then old photographs (from a time when photographs were in physical format), can hold so many phrases that an entire book could be re-written from just one handed-down family photo album…however, this tale can soon become faded as these old images disintegrate, get damaged or lost over time. Document scanning has a whole host of other uses that lie beyond the office environment, and whether you are interested in heritage scanning for an entire historic archive or simply have a personal collection to preserve, it is possible to keep memories alive by scanning old photos.

While books hold streams of information within their texts, we can only gather a certain amount of insight from this limited format. Could a family tree with only words and descriptions show you the origins of your subtle but distinguishing features? A photograph never lies (or it didn’t before the use of Photoshop was widespread), and heritage document scanning plays a part in ensuring vital, authentic moments in history are never forgotten, preserving our past in order to inform our future.

Choosing to scan old photos is safeguarding both sentimental and informative data and with the latest technology, it can even bring new life to historic images, enhancing the original to showcase details that were faded and dull previously!

How does heritage document scanning work?

Many people are concerned about scanning their old photographs, but outsourcing your needs to a document scanning expert ensures that these delicate documents are in safe hands. At Pearl Scan, we have the latest technology to safely scan your old photos, as well as the tools for converting old slides to digital format. The original documents, photographs or slides will remain undamaged, while the images on them will be documented in a vibrant, digital image to be enjoyed forever.

What happens next?

If you own a particularly fascinating historical image collection, we also offer a service to help you utilise these charming photographs and share them with the rest of the world!  Interesting, insightful and unique old photographs are in high demand, and we can host your scanned heritage documents in our image sales website and produce high quality prints, ready to send it to your customer.

For those that simply want to enjoy your series of sentimental photographs, our flipping book conversion service is a popular choice. With this, your digitised images can be placed into a digital ‘flipping book’ enabling you to turn the virtual pages, as if you were flicking through the original album, making for a truly interesting way to keep memories alive.

Do you have a collection of old photographs? How are you preserving them? Find out more about our heritage document scanning service today!   

Can We Win the Race of Document Digitisation?

Throughout time and history, there have been many physical documents created such as manuscripts, photographs, newspapers and more that serve the vital purpose of informing present times about historic culture. We use this knowledge to form ideas about the past, in order to help to build the future. However, much of these documents dating back decades, centuries and millennia ago are made from delicate materials, gradually fading, disintegrating and growing fragile over time, meaning that soon this information could be lost forever.

Document scanning technology can help to preserve these historic files, capturing the data held in fragile, physical format and making it accessible in digital archives forever. While this technology is becoming increasingly widespread, the race is on to immortalise all of the world’s ancient documents before they remain part of history for eternity, crumbling to nothing but dust. What can we do to win the race of document digitisation? 

The early adopters

Luckily, many high profile museums, galleries, libraries and more understand the benefits that document scanning services can bring, and as such they have begun a document scanning strategy in order to preserve their historic archives. As well as ensuring that no information is lost over time, by choosing to store fragile documents digitally it means that more people can view these texts and photographs in their virtual forms, without needing to physically visit the museum or library where the original document is stored, in highly controlled conditions.

Large volumes of data

Although some of the most advanced archives have begun to scan and store their historic documents, a huge amount of important information still remains stored in formats that are deteriorating rapidly over time. In order to ensure that non of this is lost, awareness of the advantages of document scanning technology needs to be spread on a large scale, with preservation strategies put in place across the galleries, museums and libraries of the world.

While it may seem impossible, or too costly to invest in the specialised scanning technology that would be needed to scan and store these delicate files, outsourcing these document scanning services to experts in the industry could ensure that huge archives of historic files and scanned and digitised in the most effective and timely way.

At Pearl Scan, we believe that scanning of heritage files is the next step in document archiving, ensuring that vital resources are never lost over time. Learn more about our dedicated digital archiving service online, and help us to win the race of document digitisation.

Why Should We Keep Historical Documents?

Many of us will, or have relatives that, store letters, photographs and other artefacts of their families from the past. There is always a great fascination in discovering what there is to learn from these historic documents, using invaluable information and insight that can only be gained from the evidence found in this actual, original file. If you take the immediate value that can be gained from learning about ones family history and apply it to a worldwide, ‘family wide’ scale, then we begin to see why so many think that we should keep historical documents and preserve them forever, using document and heritage scanning as a way to do so.

On a personal level, historic documents can hold an incredible sentimental value. One family’s well-stored archive can connect future generations to relatives of the past, showcasing the remarkable resemblances and traits that continue to be passed down throughout a family tree. But keeping historical documents can also give us an important insight into bygone eras, showing us important information that affects the way in which we perceive the world to this day.

One such example of this is the Domesday Book, a manuscript record that was first completed in 1086. Compiled as a survey of England and Wales, by order of King William the Conqueror, many believe the purpose of this original text was to establish the outstanding tax that had been owed during King Edward the Confessor’s reign. The information that was noted in this book was widely accepted as being wholly factual, recorded permanently. This was the most extensive survey of its time, not to be matched again until 1873. Consequentially, the Domesday Book has been imperative in helping historians understand how Europe, and world, operated during this time.

The Domesday Book was first produced in a bound paper manuscript, now held at The National Archives, and has since gone through many methods of preservation using the technology available at the time of its conservation. Rather than being kept and stored away from public use in order to protect the important text from damage, the text has been accessible online since 2008. Without book scanning and document management technology, this wouldn’t be possible.

Although the Domesday Book is perhaps the most notable and oldest case of historic documents proving their importance, other key publications from the past include texts such as the Magna Carta, The Origin of Species and The Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank’s diary), all of which respectively have informed future generations of times long before them, helping to shape our views of history, science, culture and beyond.

It is imperative that we continue to preserve the primary sources of such invaluable information, and advances in document scanning and heritage scanning continue to make this happen using digital conservation methods.


At Pearl Scan, we have scanning technology that is capable of handling a wide range of formats including photographs, glass plate scanning, cine film scanning as well as audio and video digitisation. To learn more about the digital conservation solutions available at Pearl Scan, head online.