Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Research Help

It was interesting when researching for Little Lodges on the Prairie to see how various places treated their artifacts or old documents.
It used to be that white gloves were requisite for any handling of any old item, including paper items. This was done to protect the artifact from the residue oils left behind from human skin. No matter how well you wash your hands, and how dry (or even dried out) they seem, there is still oil that is left on anything you touch. There are many places where it is still the rule to wear white gloves.
Other places, however, have concluded that the tearing, fraying, and other damage caused by trying to turn pages with gloves on is far worse for the document than the skin oils. Some of those have tried to continue to protect the paper by still requiring gloves, but at the same time worked to mitigate the fumbling damage by using tighter latex gloves, like a doctor might wear. It is easier to turn pages wearing these gloves than those of cloth, but it is still not as easy as bare-handed.
After trying both types of gloves, some repositories have done away with gloves altogether. Asking for them earns a frowning look of disgust, and a lecture on the merits of oil over the damage of clumsy groping with gloves.
I say all that so you won’t have a fit when you see the picture below, which was taken at one of the no-gloves locations.

Here is how I got most of the copies used in the book:
The letter being scanned in this picture was written by David Swanzey, husband of Carrie Ingalls. You can see it in the book Little Lodges on the Prairie: Freemasonry & Laura Ingalls Wilder.
 I love my Magic Wand! Small and lightweight, it goes anywhere. It wirelessly transmits copies to my iPad automatically as I scan, so I don’t have to do that separately, later. You can scan books without having to press them flat like you would on a scanner bed, so there’s less damage. The only drawback is that is uses lots of batteries, especially if you scan in color and doubly especially if you use high resolution. But that’s a small price to pay for the ease and convenience.
I do not own any stock in whatever company makes Magic Wands, and I’m not getting paid to write about it. I just thought other researchers might like to know how much it has helped me. Maybe it will help you, too.

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