It is important that all web site files be as small as practical for two reasons:

  1. Small files download (appear on your screen) quickly.
  2. We have a limited amount of space on our web site.


If you know how to create web pages as .html files, then please submit them in that format.


Text takes up relatively little space if it is submitted as a word processing file, like MS Word.  Scanning a page of text and converting it to a graphic file (like .jpg or .gif or whatever) makes it take up a lot of space.  So, whenever possible, send a text file.  "Send" means as an email attachment.

Sometimes, you will want to submit text as a graphic file.  For example, a birth certificate, marriage certificate, or newspaper article will usually be more interesting if sent as a graphic file.  Signatures, for example, lose a lot when they are written as: /s/ John Hancock


Photos (and other documents) can be mailed to us directly.  We will scan them and return them.  However, many people are reluctant to send cherished photos through the mail.  You will probably prefer to send an extra copy.  If you send a photo, please include stiff cardboard in your envelope to reduce the chance of folding or other damage.  Photos can be sent to Howard Langley Hoffman, 3402 Waverley St., Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA.

We prefer to receive photos electronically as graphics files.  Many photo stores can take a photo and give you electronic versions on a floppy disk or CD-ROM.  If you have a scanner, then you can scan photos and create your own graphic files.  Files can be emailed to Howard Langley Hoffman


The Internet uses two kinds of graphics files .jpg and .gif. Both of these are compressed formats for faster downloads.  Generally, a photo should be converted to a .jpg file.  A black and white document usually will work fine as .gif file, which should create a smaller file than a .jpg file.  However, for reasons I do not entirely understand, .gif files sometimes are larger than equivalent .jpg files.

If you have a photo or other document in a file format other than .jpg or .gif and you are not sure how to convert it to .jpg or .gif, then send it to us in the original electronic file format.  We can convert most graphic formats to .jpg or .gif.


The Internet is not very high resolution.  The photo of Valda Victoria Ottolangui in the Ottolenghi Archive was scanned at 200 bpi (bits per inch).  Sorry for the antiquated US units, but that is the way my software works. This would be equivalent to 8 bits per mm.  A lower resolution reduced the final Internet photo quality.  A higher resolution produced negligible improvement but made the file much larger.

The original photo was 18 cm x 24 cm.  It was scanned as a black and white photo, with 12-bit grayscale depth. The final image size was set to 25% (I don’t know how it will be on your scanner).  The resulting scan file was 320 kilobytes (KB), in size.   When I converted it to .jpg format, it shrank to 44 KB.

Since scanners vary and the software that they use varies, you may need to experiment.

The way to do a final check on any scanned file is as follows:

  1. Save the .jpg or .gif file on your hard disk in an easy to find directory.
  2. Use your browser (Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, etc.) to look at the file directly.  You do this on IE by going to the menus and do File, Open, Browse and then go to the file

Try to make the final .jpg or .gif file so that it "fits" your computer screen when using a video resolution of 800 x 600, since that is the resolution that most people use.

If all else fails, please mail photos and documents to me.  I will take very good care of them and will package them well before mailing them back.

If you have any questions, please send me an email.

Howard Langley Hoffman

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