Can I destroy my originals after I digitize them?

by Sally J.

in * How to PRESERVE Family History Treasures, Free Articles / Blog

Jill Hurst-Wahl has a wonderful blog called Digitization 101. It’s aimed mostly at institutions like libraries and historical societies, but it’s full of wise advice for the family historian, too.

If you work or volunteer with an organization thinking about a digitization project, I highly recommend you check out what Jill has to say. She has wise words on all aspects of digitization, including hardware/software, copyright, metadata and preservation.

This week she has a great post titled Can I destroy my originals after I digitize them?

Jill’s conclusion?

The bottom-line is that destroying the originals after digitizing them should not be taken lightly. Really think about the implications. Put yourself 10 – 20 years in the future and think about what the implications of your decision might be. Is destroying the originals a decision that you will regret (or that your successors will regret)?

My conclusion? See my earlier post: Why “Scan & Dump” Is a Bad Idea (I’m talking to you, Tuscaloosa!)

UPDATE: By some strange coincidence, DearMYRTLE has a post about an apparent change is policy in Tuscaloosa. Well, it’s actually no more than a verbal promise. Ol Myrt is too savvy to confuse that with an actual change in policy. Read Myrt’s post for the full story.

Sally J. October 9, 2007 at 1:00 pm

Whoa, Allyson. Thanks for sharing that wonderful cautionary tale. I’m adding it to my Digital OOPS! file.

Allyson October 6, 2007 at 12:55 am

Oh I will shout it. I worked with the archives of a design firm for several years. One of their European offices decided to scan & dump their slide collection (“Everyone uses Powerpoint now”). No sooner had the slides gone in the dumpster than they realized most of the scans weren’t high-resolution, or were poor quality. Making it worse, they were all saved onto double-sided CDs that no computer can read now.

Anonymous September 21, 2007 at 3:59 pm

Please, You need to answer this question very firmly as NO A THOUSAND TIMES NO!!! I’m not shouting just giving emphasis.

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