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  • Writer's pictureAnne Alagna

DIY my photos: Where should I start?

Managing your photos has become a much bigger task than the old shoebox in the closet we used to have. With the rapid advancement of technology and the addition of cameras, we now have the constant ability to snap photos with very little consequence to our cellphones. And we often take many very similar photos until we get the perfect shot. Gone are the days when we only got 24 chances and then had to wait while someone developed the film for us before we could see if we were successful at all. Consequently, most of us have thousands of photos made up of old printed photographs and digital images.

So, where do you start if you want to organize and backup all of these photos?

Start with digital.

Mike Ashenfelder, Digital Preservation Project Coordinator at the Library of Congress, in a webinar to ALCTS in 2013, said, "Technology changes rapidly. If you don't actively care for your digital possessions, you may lose access to them as some technologies become obsolete."

We've already seen floppy disks, CDs, DVDs, and old formats fall by the wayside with our digital assets on them, unable to access them because our OS or computer hardware moved forward faster than we did or because the lifespan of our storage vessel timed out. At the same time, we looked the other way, and our files became aged and corrupted.

What steps can you take now?

GATHER - Find all your devices and your storage mediums and gather them into one location.

IDENTIFY - Go through and find what you want to save, what is essential to preserve.

ORGANIZE - Organize your collection in whatever manner works for you, chronologically, by event, theme, or type.

BACKUP - The most widespread theory on backup standards is to save three copies onto two different types of media and keep one in a different location than the others.

And make sure to:

MANAGE - Keep track of your collection by updating your storage medium at least every five to seven years, or well before your current technology becomes obsolete. If you use a storage device frequently, upgrade it much sooner.

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