Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Photos for the Future

I recently came across an interesting blog by Heidi Glenn of All Tech Considered on NPR, In The Digital Age, The Family Photo Album Fades Away.  I am in-between when it comes to preserving and presenting photos.  I have used technology to scan in old photos to save, share and in some cases improve them, as well as printing them out.  I have been sent computer files of old family photos.  I have found a few old family photos online.  However, I'd like to have a physical scrapbook of the photos to be able to look at when I want.  Part of it is because I want to savor these photos that took many years of persistence to obtain. Sometimes my aging eyes wants to get away from the computer screen. 

I like the fact that Glenn addresses the fact that outside, digital repositories on the web are not infallible.  For a number of reasons, someday you may go to the web site to see that the site and the photos are no longer there.  Or your computer may one day just die. When my desktop computer had been turned into a zombie and I didn't have it for two weeks, I realized that I never printed out any reports of my genealogy. 

I would never rely completely on an outside source to keep my information.  It's just not good practice.  If you wouldn't trust an outside company to keep your family medical records and legal documents, then you shouldn't trust them with the genealogy that you've collected through the years.  However, in light of almost losing my computer and the 500-year flood that my area experienced, it's a good idea to store copies of your complete information somewhere else, as printed out reports, with relatives in a different area, on an external hard drive, on CDs, even in Google Documents. 

Since I hadn't had a camera for a long time, my photos are somewhat organized.  I haven't had time or the money to post many online so I've saved myself some trouble in that respect.  I can't say the same for my research papers.  Keeping those in mind, it's never too early, nor too late, to develop an organizational plan and put it into action.

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