By Barry J. Ewell
You may have many digital audio files with music, lectures and other sound recordings. Some of these have personal, financial or other value that leads you to keep them for a long time.
You should make sure that the audio files you select for saving are in an open file format. This will ensure the greatest flexibility for future use. Continue reading
By Barry J. Ewell
The following table is intended to help you develop guidelines for preparing files for digital archiving. It is not intended to provide full preservation for formats listed under Low Confidence Level. Unfortunately it’s not possible to provide a single list of file formats that are appropriate for all use cases. The best formats to use for each of an object’s files will vary depending on how those files will be accessed and used, how they were captured or created, and their relationship to other files in the object. Continue reading
Like paper letters, your e-mail messages document important events, transactions and relationships. You might want to save some e-mails—or perhaps many of them.
Saving an e-mail involves keeping it separate from your e-mail program. This is because e-mail programs are not meant to keep information for a long time: they can change or stop providing support at any time. Continue reading
If you are using a camera or other device to record digital video, you are following in a long tradition of making personal and home movies. You may want to keep some of these videos for a long time.
Technical file quality is an important consideration for digital video. Videos that are posted on the Web, for example, are often grainy and have less information than the original version.
Digital preservation can be viewed as a set of concurrent processes. If you are just starting out, however, it helps to adopt a sequence of broad actions to get into this loop.
- Evaluate the digital records you have, or are likely to receive to identify formats and potential volumes.
- Identify records held on removable storage media (such as memory sticks or floppy disks) with a view to transferring them to a more secure storage environment, such as a server. Continue reading
As genealogists and family historians the main reasons to digitize are to enhance access or share information and improve preservation. We are able to take bits and pieces of our heritage that are scattered among family members and put them together in a collection that can be shared via CD/DVD and Web.
Digital preservation and long-term maintenance of your digital files is a very serious matter. With technology changing so fast, there are no absolutes about the exact formula for digitally preserving our family heritage—which will be a combination of artifacts that include text, data, and images, audio and video. However, there are some best practices of archivists that have responsibility for preserving our national and cultural heritage that we can learn from.