Keeping Personal Digital Photographs
Photos have rich personal meaning. And photos are unique: if they are lost, the information they provide can never be replaced.
- How to Transfer Photos from Your Camera to Your Computer (PDF, 213 Kb)
VIDEO: Phil Michel, Digital Conversion Coordinator from the Library of Congress's Prints & Photographs division, offers advice on archiving digital photos.
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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