How long will your photos last on a CD, a jump drive, on your computer? Does your new tablet read the CDs you stored photos on oh so many years ago. Do you make backup copies? Have you checked if the digital photos you took 10, even 5, years ago are still intact? Can you still access them?
How will you feel if you lost them?
Check out this information from the Library of Congress on what steps you should be taking to ensure your digital photos are archived properly and to prevent loss.
Identify where you have digital photos
- Identify all your digital photos on cameras, computers and removable media such as memory cards.
- Include your photos on the Web.
Decide which photos are most important
- Pick the images you feel are especially important.
- You can pick a few photos or many.
- If there are multiple versions of an important photo, save the one with highest quality.
Organize the selected photos
- Give individual photos descriptive file names.
- Tag photos with names of people and descriptive subjects .
- Create a directory/folder structure on your computer to put the images you picked.
- Write a brief description of the directory structure and the photos.
Make copies and store them in different places
- Make at least two copies of your selected photos—more copies are better.
- One copy can stay on your computer or laptop; put other copies on separate media such as DVDs, CDs, portable hard drives, thumb drives or Internet storage.
- Store copies in different locations that are as physically far apart as practical. If disaster strikes one location, your photographs in the other place should be safe.
- Put a copy of the photo inventory with your important papers in a secure location.
- Check your photos at least once a year to make sure you can read them.
- Create new media copies every five years or when necessary to avoid data loss.
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