Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday's Tips: Flip-Pal Tips

I was really excited to receive a Flip-Pal scanner for Christmas.  (Thanks, Santa!)  I had already started using it to scan some old family photos I had at the house.  Now it was time to take it along with me and see what it worked out in other situations.

I had to swing by our local public library to return some materials, so I decided this would be a great time to scan some materials in the Tennessee Room, our library's genealogy collection.  This way I wouldn't have to take books elsewhere in the library to use a coin-op copy machine.  I was also anxious to compare scanning pages with just taking page photos with my smartphone.

In the new materials section of the Tennessee Room was a book about researching your ancestors from Ireland.  The first chapter had a lot of basic information on various free websites that were good starting places for this type of research, pages I decided to scan.

Tip 1: Make your first scan information about the following series of scanned images.

Tip 1:  Rather than doing 3 or 4 scans just to have the cover and title page of the book, I wrote this information on an index card and made this my first scan.  This eliminated a few scans, plus I now had all the information, even the call number of the book, should I need to write a citation for this book.(1)  I also noted the starting and later the ending scan numbers done from that book on the index card.  Having the numbers made it simple to separate this book's scans from the magazine pages I also scanned.

I really found the scan numbers helpful as I was selecting scans to stitch and print.  I could see each scan's number as I opened it on my computer's photo viewer.  Then, I would check the number against my list, and I could be sure not a skip any of the scans.  Once I have a page printed, a website mentioned now bookmarked on my computer, or data recorded in my genealogy software, I can delete the scans and toss the card when I have finished with that group of scans.

That initial scan note card could also be helpful when scanning photos away from home.  It would be a quick way to note "15 family photos in Aunt Sue's house".  There would also be room to quickly note the names of the people in the photos for future reference.

Comparing the Flip-Pal with taking smartphone photos, the Flip-Pal was definitely the winner for me.  The weight of the Flip-Pal on the book kept the page open, so much easier than trying to hold a book open with one hand or another book, all while taking a picture with my phone.  I could also stay seated to use the Flip-Pal rather than having to stand up.  Trying to have good lighting on the page was also no longer an issue as the Flip-Pal provides its own light.  The nod, for me, definitely goes to the Flip-Pal.

Tip 2: A carrying case is helpful.

Tip 2:  My Flip-Pal did not have a carrying case, so I decided to make one.  I used a piece of upholstery fabric and quilted it to a polished cotton backing.  I decided to add a zippered pocket to my case.  Inside the pocket I have a lens cleaning cloth and have added a few blank index cards for future scanning sessions.  The Flip-Pal can now be carried safely in my genealogy tote bag.

I'll pass on future tips as I play around and learn more about using my Flip-Pal.

(1)  Grenham, John Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: the Complete Guide. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co, c2012.


  1. Your tip about creating an index card is brilliant! I always think I'll remember, but once I get home and life happens, it can be weeks before I have time to process the Flip Pal photos.

  2. Great ideas. I have a flip pal and did some scanning that needed to be stitched. It got very confusing. The index cards and numbers make great sense.

  3. I love the index card idea. I wish I had used that a few months ago, but now I know. Thank you for your post.

  4. I agree with everyone else! Index card tip is a great idea! Thank you!!

  5. Your homemade case is really cute, but for us less-crafty folks, I found an Ipad case at Dollar Tree that was the perfect size. I also purchased a screen protector and cut it to the size of the bottom screen to protect it from scratches.