16 Comments

  1. lentigogirl
    June 13, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Bill, you are an inspiration! I attempted with no success to crowdsource my photometadata among family members on Flickr — obviously I’m just going to have to pay the next generation if I want to get this done.

  2. SWJenn
    June 13, 2011 at 11:17 am

    This is basically the same advice we give our students – back everything up in layers – multiple platforms and locations.

    But as anyone knows who’s dug through grandma’s shoebox of unidentified photos, the best way to pass on your photographic legacy is to interpret them for future generations.

    Hence, we scrapbook. Taking the time to curate the photos, journal about who’s in them, what’s happening and how you/they felt at the time will be far more valuable than even a tagged archive over time. Moreover, you can print these pages on photographic paper and have a stable, preservable record.

    So while the digital archive is valuable, don’t forget the interpretation!

  3. Bill LeFurgy
    June 13, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Great advice!

  4. Bill LeFurgy
    June 13, 2011 at 11:21 am

    That may be the only recourse! Thanks for your comment.

  5. http://onwardtoourpast.blogspot.com
    June 13, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    I think I am going to need 36 hour days for this! :-)

  6. Denim Smith
    June 13, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Great post! I have almost completed the development of a consumer cloud storage app that maps user’s personal content (photos, videos, diaries) onto an interactive and intuitive timeline that can be further organized by categorizing the richest content of one’s life into life Milestones (grads, weddings, births, etc.) and the richest content of a given year into Yearbooks (holidays, vacations, birthdays, favorites, milestones). All content will have searchable metadata and sharing abilities (P2P & email notifications) and user’s can connect their accounts to their most intimate and meaningful long-term relationships (family & close friends) to view the shared content discreetly (ie everyone’s view of another account is unique based on sharing at the individual asset level).
    Last but not least there is an e-beneficiary that the user selects and provides a trigger mechanism to allow for the account to pass to future generations posthumously. So excited to unveil our product very shortly. Apologies if this comes off as self-promotion but it ties in to your post perfectly.

  7. Jennifer W. Hanson
    June 13, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    I guess I’m not the only one who has this problem! I am trying to get a handle on my digital photos (a constant stream from late 2006) by going back through my photo archives and describing the subjects of each day’s photos in a spreadsheet; the photos themselves are on a standalone hard drive, but I should have an offsite backup for all of them too (not just the ones I’ve posted to Flickr, which are effectively backed up by Flickr…as long as it exists). As someone who has bought interesting old photographs in antique shops and regretted not knowing who the people in the photos were, this is very timely advice. Thanks for this post!

  8. Janis Martinez
    June 14, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    What suggestions are there for doing the “advertising” within your circle of people in the digital photos to make them aware and get them interested in the collections that you have preserved?
    We are all familiar with those seemingly precious photos albums that get put out w/the garage sale stuff because no one in the family, other than the compiler, had the opportunity, or maybe the desire to look at those photos.
    In addition, with the proliferation of digital preservation by everybody, will there just be too much of all this to handle?

    Reply:

    Janis: Thanks very much for your comment. For my family’s 35mm slide collection, I created a set of CD-ROMs complete with a custom-printed label and case, which I then distributed to my siblings, my kids and others. At least those photos are now duplicated six or so times, which increases the odds of them persisting into the future.

    Ultimately it comes down to one or more people per generation caring about family photos and other memories enough to hand them off to the next generation. But you hit on a key point–their are now so many personal digital files that “archiving” them all for the future is getting harder. Maybe the best thing is for us to be highly selective and only keep the most important items. Not that that is easy either!

    Bill

  9. amy
    June 17, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    If you are willing to share this information, I’d be very interested in hearing what your file naming conventions are and how you organize your metadata (and whether that metadata is embedded or housed separately in a different database). Thanks for a great post!

  10. Bill LeFurgy
    June 17, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Amy: My file naming approach is very relaxed (maybe too relaxed). I try to capture the general subject, such as “Baltimore trip Hotel Belvedere 1″ (the number is used when I keep multiple shots of the same subject). I do feel that embedding metadata into the photos themselves is definitely the way to go, and use editing sw to enter IPTC details. There is a really good website, http://www.photometadata.org, that provides lots of great tips about metadata–check it out!

  11. Peter Gailey
    July 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Re: Denim Smith post. I am interested in your stated efforts. How do I contact you?
    Regards,
    Peter

  12. C. Cuillier
    July 6, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Which web-based file hosting service did you use?

  13. Bill LeFurgy
    July 6, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    A great question, but one that unfortunately I can’t answer here, given our policy at the Library. You might plug the phrase “web-based file hosting service” into your favorite search engine–the top results should give you the names of the leading providers.

  14. Buffie
    July 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Do you print any pics? It’s actually not a bad way to preserve the best of the lot.

  15. Bill LeFurgy
    July 12, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Your are quite right–printing is a great way to preserve some selected photos, and I’ve done that. I’ve had a couple of issues: first, I can’t print out everything, as I just have too many digital pictures. Second, some of the prints (not all) tend to fade over time. It must have something to do with either the paper or the ink.

  16. JL | http://www.jgen.ws/jlog/
    September 14, 2011 at 12:10 am

    I don’t understand the idea of putting metadata into spreadsheets. There are perfectly good programs around for exactly that purpose. Photo Mechanic, GeoSetter and XnView, for instance; the latter two being free. There are fields for captions, keywords, addresses, sources, copyright, etc; more than most people will ever use. They also handle GPS co-ordinates.

    Amongst the advantages of using dedicated software are Search functions including Search & Replace, printing to pdf in various formats, slideshow creation with chosen fields. It goes on.

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