FamilySearch has a great post on Digitizing Techniques for Old Documents and Books by James Tanner. All summarize it here but follow the link above to get all the details.
The first thing to keep in mind about old books and documents is the difference between old and valuable. The key is not to confuse old with rare or limited edition books. This will affect how you go about digitizing it. If the value of a book is the information it has then the best way to scan it is to take it apart so the pages can lay flat. But if the book has value it might be best to get professional help to digitize its pages without damaging it. James Tanner has the following links to sites that discuss how to build you own book scanner.
- DIY Book Scanner
- Gadget Lab, DIY Book Scanners Turn Your Books Into Bytes
- Hack N Mod, How to:DIY High Speed Book Scanner
- UberReview, DIY: Build Your Own Book Scanner For Less Than Twenty Bucks (As Long as You Have a Camera)
The trick is to keep the pages flat and the camera at 90 degrees to the page. You will always get the best quality image by making sure the pages is at a 90 degree angle to the imaging device. Flat bed scanners are designed for this. If you use a digital camera it is much more difficult to get a good quality image. Thanks James for the great article. I’m filing it away for future reference.
I’ve learned some of this by trial and error but I’ve never thought through the intrinsic vs. extrinsic value before. The best tip I have is when the print is showing through from the other side of the page place a sheet of black paper behind it before scanning. What tips and tricks do you have when digitizing books and documents?