Today I have started to scan a collection of slides for my cousin David. I estimate there to be about 2000, dating from 1960 to more recent times. My strategy is to do the oldest ones first and work my way through by date.
Box 1 was dated 1960 and on inspection it was full of sand. Well, the plastic of the holding case had started to decompose into a sand like layer where it was in contact with the slide cases. This type of decay is potentially toxic if the plastic is ingested.
My immediate solution was to use a filter and vacuum clean to extract the decomposed plastic and to cover the base of the slide case tray with a strip of paper. The slides were also vacuum sucked to extract debris from the surface. As all of these slides are in glass cases, this was not an issue.
The slides are individually mounted in thick plastic cases which will not fit into a modern slide scanner. However, I was able to adapt a spare scanner feeder to take a single slide at a time. With a bit of fiddling I was able to set the position of the slide at the focal length of the scanner and off we went.
Quite pleased with the initial results. I should be able to do a slide in 2 minutes including the file and copyright info., so that's about 2000 slides in 4000 minutes plus a couple of hours for cleaning and sorting the boxes and another batch of time for arranging a hard drive file. - about 120 hours of work. The work may become faster as I move onto the more modern slides (I hope).