What every genealogist needs to know about digital content and preservation (100+ resources)

Digitizing contentBy Barry J. Ewell

As a genealogist and/or family historian you are ever increasingly faced with the need to better understand how to create, evaluate, manage, organize, and preserve content that include audio, photography, video, film and more. I’ve learned that even the simplest decision like which format to scan an image can have far reaching irreparable consequences if not done correctly.

The following article includes links to over 100 resources covering a variety of digital topics you’ll need to jump start and successfully get on your road to developing your digital awareness and skills one project at a time.  In preparing the articles, slideshows, and video resources, I focused on sharing my personal lessons learned from the thousands of hours I have spent working with digital content as well as best practices from industry experts. Some of the topics covered will include:

  • Audio and Editing
  • Digitizing 101
  • Film and Video
  • Managing Files
  • Photography and Image Editing
  • Scanning
  • Tapes
  • Vinyl LP Records
  • Voice Recognition

Simply click on the desired topic and you will be taken directly to the resource.

Audio  and Editing

  1. 75+ Introduction to Audacity Tutorials (Audio Recording and Editing)
  2. Digitizing records and tapes with Audacity
  3. Keeping personal digital audio
  4. Audio recordings

Digitizing 101

  1. Which file formats to consider for digital migration strategy
  2. Personal websites, blogs and social media
  3. Keeping personal digital records
  4. Keeping personal electronic mail
  5. Keeping personal digital video
  6. Keeping personal digital audio
  7. How to preserve your own digital materials
  8. Two-tier digitizing and archiving evaluation
  9. How do I start in understanding digital preservation?
  10. Why digitize?
  11. How long will media last?
  12. Regularly back up data to digitized archives
  13. Long-term maintenance of digital image files
  14. Digital image file types explained
  15. 30+ Tutorials for Digitizing Genealogy, Family History and Heritage
  16. Webinar: Digitally Preserving Your Family History and Heritage

Film

  1. Photographing slides and film
  2. How to convert 8mm, Super 8, Single 8 and 16MM to DVD
  3. So you don’t have a variable speed projector?

Managing Files

  1. Emergency rescue for critical data
  2. Digital media life expectancy
  3. Digital media storage requirements
  4. Optimizing your computer’s performance
  5. Tips for organizing pictures
  6. What information should I use for my Metadata?
  7. Introduction to metadata
  8. File formats and preservation
  9. Best practices for file-naming
  10. Which image file format should I use?
  11. Personal websites, blogs and social media
  12. Keeping personal digital records
  13. How to preserve your own digital materials
  14. Two-tier digitizing and archiving evaluation
  15. How do I start in understanding digital preservation?
  16. How long will media last?
  17. Regularly back up data to digitized archives
  18. Digital image and folder naming strategy
  19. Color-coded Genealogy Research Filing System

Photography and Image Edigin

  1. 100+ Introduction to Photography and Scanning Tutorials
  2. 50+ Introduction to Photoshop Elements Tutorials
  3. Webinar: Use a Digital Camera to Cut Your Research Time by Half
  4. Ancestor photographs are important links to the past
  5. Use your camera to document your research
  6. Editing your photography
  7. Photographing at the cemetery
  8. Photographing museums and archives
  9. Photographing in the libraries
  10. Photographing a walk in the city
  11. Photographing scrapbooks and artwork
  12. Photographing family gatherings
  13. Telling a story with your camera
  14. Photographing buildings
  15. Photographing landscape
  16. Photographing babies
  17. Photographing children
  18. Photographing people
  19. Photographing slides and film
  20. Photographing microfilm
  21. Photographing photos
  22. Common experiences (challenges) of photographing photos
  23. Photographing oversized pages
  24. Photographing bound pages
  25. Photographing unbound pages
  26. The digital advantage versus film advantage
  27. Digital photography is all about lighting and location
  28. Tips for organizing pictures
  29. Which image file format should I use?
  30. How to preserve your own digital materials
  31. Long-term maintenance of digital image files
  32. Choosing the photo lab to print your digital photos
  33. Where to use your camera for research
  34. Downloading images from digital camera
  35. Digital Camera Checklist for Research
  36. Making a photograph look good—Rule 1: Get close, real close
  37. Making a photograph look good—Rule 2: Photographic composition
  38. Taking better digital photos overall tips
  39. Taking better digital photos close-up
  40. Taking better digital family portrait photos
  41. Taking better digital outdoor photos
  42. Taking better digital travel photos
  43. Wet-weather photography

Scanning

  1. 100+ Introduction to Photography and Scanning Tutorials
  2. 50+ Introduction to Photoshop Elements Tutorials
  3. Choosing the photo lab to print your digital photos
  4. How to get better scans and images using the histogram
  5. Being organized for a large volume of scans
  6. Archiving resolutions for film scans
  7. Archiving resolutions for print scans
  8. Scanning recommendations by image type
  9. Scanning with archiving as your priority
  10. What is the right scanning resolution?
  11. Print scans vs. film scans
  12. Scanning digital images

Tapes

  1. 75+ Introduction to Audacity Tutorials (Audio Recording and Editing)
  2. Digitizing records and tapes with Audacity
  3. Keeping personal digital video
  4. Keeping personal digital audio
  5. Why digitize?
  6. How to buy blank cassettes
  7. How to fix cassettes
  8. Step by step instructions—How to maintain a cassette deck
  9. How to care for magnetic media (Reels, Cartridges and Cassettes)
  10. How to digitize cassette tapes to CD
  11. Converting videotapes to DVD
  12. Transfer and edit your video
  13. Create your DVD
  14. Other options for transferring video to DVD

Vinyl LP Records

  1. 75+ Introduction to Audacity Tutorials (Audio Recording and Editing)
  2. Digitizing records and tapes with Audacity
  3. Copyright issues to remember about music
  4. Cleaning vinyl records
  5. Care and cleaning of 78s
  6. How to convert your vinyl LPs and singles to CD

Voice Recognition

  1. Using voice recognition to digitize your family history