SaveMyMemories.org has a handy-dandy crash course on preserving digital photos. The “quickstart” overview promises: “Protect your photos with these 4 easy steps!”

My quick review: Marvelous tips, worth a read.

Here’s a sample from the hardware overview:

  • If you get a new computer, check all of your previous storage media to make sure the new computer can read them before you dispose of your old computer.
  • If a medium is becoming harder to find in the stores, make sure you transfer your photos to a newer medium. Most likely, you’ll be able to use a program like Windows Explorer or a backup program to make the transfer. If you use a backup program, make sure that it stores your files in a format that can read by other programs such as Windows Explorer. Some backup programs store files in a format that can be read only by that program.

They also have a trade-off table which is all kinds of fabulous. Wish I had thought of it, actually. Bookmark this one for sure, and pass it along to your friends. One caveat, though…I noticed that two formats got to duck the longevity question. Every other format includes an estimate of how many years it will last. Except CDs and DVDs. Instead, it says: Use ‘archival or photo grade quality’ only.

Huh? As I’ve explained before, terms like “archival” and “photo grade quality” are unregulated and therefore completely meaningless. How come these formats didn’t have to cough up an estimate in years? Hmm. Made me wonder who/what I3A is. So I visited the about page and wouldn’tcha know it — Kodak is a major sponsor. Kodak manufactures CDs and DVDs, yes? Just askin‘…

I was going to recommend that you bookmark the Additional Resources list, but after a closer look I’ve decided against it. First of all, they are guilty of one of my pet peeves: Links that start a file download that aren’t labeled as “pdf” or “doc” downloads. I prefer to know ahead of time if it’s not a link to another website.

Secondly, what the heck is going on with this blanket disclaimer?

Please note that the websites listed here are intended as additional references for your use. They can be a good starting point for further exploration. Nevertheless, I3A does not necessarily endorse any of the contents of these sites, and we are aware that material on any one website may stand in apparent contradiction to material on other sites. Industry knowledge about long-term photo preservation is evolving, so it’s important to keep your own knowledge up to date.

Listen, if they’ve actually read them and can’t endorse them then I’m certainly not going to send you there. On the other hand, I appreciate their honesty regarding the likelihood of future updates to the list. Ahem. Skip this part, or take whatever you find with a grain of salt. And remember, you can always do a fact check using the Preservation Answer Machine.

Overall, a great resource…despite all my snarky comments.

A tip of the hat to Family Matters “Tech Support for the Family Historian.” Great blog, check it out.
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