The Signalling Record Society
Guide Notes for Scanning Material
Material published by British Rail and its predecessors likely to be included in this archive was rarely in colour or shades of grey. Network Rail has introduced colour more recently now that their weekly and periodical notices are produced as Word documents and distributed in PDF form.
Members scanning material for donation to the Digital Archive are asked to follow these guide lines as far as possible within any limitations imposed by the scanner or PDF making software they use:
- Check whether the document is already listed on this web site as being available in digital format. Only sections C and D of some weekly notices is available - we would welcome complete copies of these.
- Please use Adobe Acrobat to create the PDF files if you possibly can as compatibility problems can arise if alternatives are used. If you don't have Acrobat available please let the webmaster know what software was used so that the files can be checked for compatibility before they are distributed. The scanned files should be Acrobat version 1.4 or earlier as this also reduces the risk of incompatibility.
- Please scan the entire document you have available. Complete copies can be used to enhance the extent of information available.
- If the original document is black print on a white (or plain coloured) background, set the scanner to operate in 'black print on a white background' mode. This will allow the resultant file size to be kept as small as possible both for storage purposes and to avoid excessive download times when the file is called up by researchers.
- Pages which contain images that rely on graduated levels of grey to be understood may be scanned in 'greyscale'. This produces larger size files so please confine scanning in 'greyscale' to those pages that actually need it.
- Pages which contain coloured sections may be scanned in 'colour'. This produces larger size files so please confine scanning in 'colour' to those pages that actually need it.
- Set the scanner resolution to 300dpi (dots per inch). Only increase this figure if it is necessary to overcome faint print on the original document or to avoid loss of fine detail. If the resolution is increased please confine usage to those pages which actually need it.
- Set the threshold to a figure low enough to minimise pick up of dirt, discolouration, crease marks etc and make the resultant copy as 'clean' as possible. On a flatbed scanner covering the white platen (under the lid) with black paper or card can often eliminate the 'print through' when scanning thin papers. Some experimentation may be needed in order to get the best result for each docment to be scanned whilst avoiding loss of information that is wanted.
- Similarly try different contrast settings if necessary.
- Set the scanner to 'deskew' (straighten) the scanned images.
- Set the scanner to avoid creating oversized borders round the scanned pages. Otherwise please trim off the excess of white (or black) borders by cropping the page size appropriately.
- Set the noise filter to eliminate spurious noise or dots.
- Set the image filter to remove halftones from black and white pages. If half tones are needed then use a 'greyscale' setting.
- If available, use the OCR (optical character recognition) setting to make the document searchable.
- If you combine multiple documents into a single file, index the start position of each document - Acrobat will do this automatically.
- Send the scanned document(s) to the Society - details of how to do this are shown below.
Following these guidelines so far as possible will enable the archive to present information in the best possible quality.
Sending Your Scanned Documents To The Society
The size of scanned files can be quite large - and can cause problems when sent by email. Please use the most appropriate method chosen from one of the following:
- Small documents may be sent to the webmaster by email.
- If the file is larger a number of options are available to enable you to send the files to the Webmaster:
- Use one of the free file transfer systems such as WeTransfer or Sendtransfer.
- Upload the file to you own web site and send the Webmaster a link for downloading the file.
- Copy the file to a CD, DVD or USB stick and send it to the Webmaster by post.