Storing and Preserving Family Photographs

It is important to consider the relative benefits of preserving your important family records in a digital or analog format.

While digital media has the ability to last very long durations, the software, operating systems, file formats and indeed hardware will become obselete very quickly or may simply fail. In other words, the readability of the digital media will expire relatively quickly without proper maintenance.

Therefore, take great care of your digital media.

On the other hand, the photo and it's container, the photo album do not require any special device to read them. They are accessible to anyone, can easily be shared or transported and are relatively archival. Witness any one who has the pleasure of looking at old family photos.

Personally, I am very concerned that there will be significant gaps in family histories that rely entirely on digital media, despite their many advantages.

This is a complex subject. One can argue the benefits of digital media, which are considerable. However, the "old fashioned" photograph still stands as a reliable archival document.

Here are some links to help you sort out the pros and cons...

The Canadian Conservation Institute

How to Care for Photographic Materials

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Institut canadien de conservation

Comment prendre soin des Documents photographiques

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Other Preservation Links...

Caring for Your Family Archives


Creating and Managing Digital Content - Canadian Heritage Information Network


Ensuring the Longevity of Digital Information by Jeff Rothenberg

In this article, Jeff Rothenberg discusses the fragile nature of digitally recorded information and the numerous factors, technological and otherwise, that must be addressed if we are to ensure the continued accessibility of this information over time. The article is an expanded version of the article "Ensuring the Longevity of Digital Documents" that appeared in the January 1995 edition of Scientific American (Vol. 272, Number 1, pp.42-7). (pdf format)

Jeff Rothenberg's Digital Longevity Papers

More articles exploring the subject of preserving digital documents.