By using state-of-the-art technology, this company has found a way to digitize, categorize, and keyword-search large collections of written, spoken, and photographed memorabilia.

Between 1960 and 2016, a woman in Sandy, Utah, created 73 scrapbooks documenting every year of her life from 1941 to 2016. The contents of these thoughtfully crafted books include photos, letters, memorabilia, news clippings, and ephemera – a total of 15,477 pages that, when viewed in their entirety, offer a unique and comprehensive snapshot of life and experiences at a specific place and time. It’s an incredible time capsule for her family to discover, posing a monumental question: What is the best way to preserve these pages for future generations to explore and enjoy?

If this woman was your relative and you inherited these scrapbooks she so painstakingly assembled, how might you care for and maintain them to stand the test of time? Could you digitize them adequately? And could you create a way to search this large collection of memorabilia for keywords the way one can search a document or web page – perhaps for names of specific locations, events, or people?

An Index of Kin

In 2008, Kimball Clark audio-recorded his interviews of more than 20 war veterans, and in 2013 Clark’s cousin Cathy Gilmore approached Clark to digitize their grandmother’s cursive letters written between 1917 and 1985. Once they’d succeeded in converting both the interviews and letters into digital form, the duo had nearly 200 GB of audio and PDF files — but no way to easily access specific words that were written or spoken. In 2015, Clark and Gilmore put their heads together to create Kindex, or the “Index of your Kin,” to do just that.

Kindex is a digital archive framework and transcription service where users keyword-search written or spoken data. Scanning printed material provides Kindex with the needed sources to create keyword-searchable archives. “These archives both replace printed histories and inspire them,” Clark says.  

From the Attic to the Cloud 

Kindex scans and digitizes material within the following four categories: volumes, documents, images, and audio-video. Their online archival subscription allows users to organize their records; make their archives public or private; collaborate to transcribe, describe, and upload records; keyword-search their archives; and download or print their archives at any time.

“Currently, families, societies, and business organizations use our service,” Kimball Clark says. “We are the only online archival service dedicated to the compilation and monetization of individual and family histories.”

Scanning Made Simpler 

Scanning this type of material poses significant hurdles. Because macro camera lenses can create an unequal depth-of-field across a surface and don’t employ powerful document-exporting software, Kindex looked elsewhere for their scanning technology. “Our Bookeye scanner digitizes and crops bound material such as journals, diaries, scrapbooks, photo albums, books, pamphlets, and large-format documents,” Clark says. “Hands down, it’s our favorite scanning tool.”

“We had a particularly difficult box of photo albums we began scanning with a flatbed,” Clark says. “Considering the differing types of cellophane and size, the job lagged as we tried to find ways to digitize them properly. Once we purchased the Bookeye, we completed scanning the entire box in a week.”

You can learn more about Kindex and its resources here. You can also view a sample archive with over 1500 individual records here.

Check out Large Document Solutions’ extensive selection of large format digital imaging equipment here.