Today’s tip is simple but effective. When we encountered faded or difficult-to-read documents in the archives, it could be a challenge to photocopy or even read the text or handwriting.

To increase the contrast on a faint or faded document, place it inside a yellow-tinted sheet protector when photocopying. (If the sheet protector you buy is only open on one end, slit the other side so that you won’t abrade your documents sliding them in and out of the sheet protector. And never, never store documents in this kind of plastic over the long term.)

The same principle works when you’re working at a downward-projecting microfilm reader. I always carry a sheet of yellow legal pad paper with me on trips to the library. Placing it on the image from the reader increases the contrast and not only helps you decipher handwriting, but also doesn’t fatigue your eyes as quickly.

I don’t know about you, but I got almost no research done in December and January’s been busy too, so I’m eager to get back into the genealogical swing. Happy searching to all my readers in 2012.