* How to PRESERVE Family History Treasures

Photo by Joe Nangle I’ve been having some trust issues lately. There’s a popular archival supplier whose products seem to be slipping in quality. Then they sent out an email with claims about CD longevity that were misleading at best, utterly false at worst. This is a HUGE dilemma for me. If I can’t trust […]

Hard drive failure. It’s a nightmare, no doubt about it. And it will happen to you eventually. Here’s a quick tip on what you should never do if your hard drive crashes: Restart the machine. Why? Because accidentally deleted files could be overwritten. Permanently, irrevocably overwritten.Below is a peek at a damaged JPEG file. The […]

I worry a lot about the fate of old sound recordings. Although recorded sound has only been around for a little over 100 years, our archives, basements and attics are bursting with a legacy of multiple obsolete formats. To add insult to injury, each time you play an original recording you destroy some of the […]

I love it when the challenges of digital preservation hit the main stream press. It shocks me how few people understand how fragile digital files are. Which reminds me, before we get to the TV clip, I want to thank the New York Times for tearing down their pay wall. Now I can post links […]

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 […]

You probably know that scratches on a CD or DVD can make them un-playable. If you have young children or work in a public library, you know this only too well. I’ve safely cleaned smudges off of pre-recorded DVDs using a soft cloth dampened with a little water, but I’ve never attempted to remove scratches. […]

There are two types of cased images you might find in your family collection: ambrotypes and daguerreotypes. The quick and easy way to tell the difference between the two is that a daguerreotype will look like a mirror when you move it in the light. An ambrotype will not. I was thinking about this today […]

A while back, I took a first stab at answering a reader’s question about flash drives. He wanted to know if they were safe for long term storage. Here’s what I said (cue time machine music):——————————– I got an email from a new subscriber to my newsletter. He was asking me to update my free-with-subscription […]

After reading the following shocker in Dick Eastman’s email newsletter, I’m tempted to ask: Does anyone out there know of a complex digital archiving system that has actually improved access to government information? Anyone? Anyone at all? GRO Chaos: Local Registrars are told to Abandon Computer System The (London) Times newspaper has reported that hundreds […]

When I was in library school in the mid 1990s, the Internet was just taking off. There was some content online, but very few graphics and zero advertisements. I spent a lot of time gawking at Young Ones scripts using the Mosaic browser. It seemed miraculous at the time, even though nothing looked as fancy […]