Friday, April 25, 2014

Archiving Your History

In celebration of Stafford County’s 350th Anniversary, the Central Rappahannock Library System is sponsoring a series of lectures from March 27 through November 5, 2014. 

I attended the second lecture on April 23 titled, “Archiving Your History: Preserving Your Digital Memories.”  I think everyone would like to find the perfect format for preserving our photos, videos, email, Facebook posts and more.  Unfortunately there isn’t one. Yet.

I felt the presentation was far too basic for the audience gathered. People attending a program titled such would already understand how quickly technology changes, how to organize documents and files, and not be intimidated by terms such as JPEG, TIFF, and DPI.

Having said that, there is always something one can take away from any presentation, either new information or good reminders and here are some:

  • The more pixels in a photo the higher the quality. Tiff format captures all info and are the largest, highest quality files.  For most photos JPG format is fine. Scan slides and tiny photos at 1800 DPI.

  • Rule of Thumb - Technology changes every 5-7 years. If you have photos, documents, etc. saved on CDs, transfer to new ones at this time.  Purchase highest quality CDs – you get what you pay for.  Back up computer files on CDs or thumb drives. It is always good to keep these backups in a location other than near your computer in case of disaster.

  • Organize and label photos. Put into appropriately named folders on your computer. For your ease and for others if they need to access your files.  Also, keep a list of needed passwords with your will.

  • You can purchase a transfer box, a digital converter for videocassettes that connects your VCR to your computer.  These can be found on Amazon.

  • Family movie files (VOB) can be transferred to your computer.  He suggested to Google for instructions.

At the end of the presentation he provided the Library of Congress link to personal archiving.  And it may be that last piece of information will make the hour spent worthwhile.

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