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Digital Archiving

Blanche Gregg Koutsky’s Children (My First Cousins Twice Removed)

How to Make and Store Digital Backups of Your Audio, Video, and Photography

As a geneal­o­gist and the family’s his­to­rian, you have prob­a­bly gath­ered, received, and in every way imag­in­able sim­ply ended up with boxes of video­tapes and audio­cas­settes. Almost cer­tainly you have even more pho­tographs. In addi­tion to archiv­ing and pre­serv­ing these records, you want to make them avail­able to your fam­ily and to other researchers.

In any archiv­ing process, it is impor­tant to deter­mine what is of value, what should be pre­served, and what should be rel­e­gated to the recy­cling bin. Once you have whit­tled the piles down to the genealog­i­cally and his­tor­i­cally inter­est­ing pho­tographs, film and video, and audio record­ings, you might ask your­self: “Now what?” This arti­cle will attempt to answer that ques­tion for the dig­i­tal archiv­ing of audio, video, and photography.

Since you want to both pre­serve this mate­r­ial and make it avail­able to fam­ily and other researchers, the best approach is to repro­duce it in a com­puter for­mat — to dig­i­tize it. You can do this at home, as a do-it-yourself project, or you can have some­one else per­form it as a ser­vice for you.
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