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Digital Preservation

The Library of Congress > Digital Preservation > News Archive > Personal Archiving Day at the Library of Congress
Library experts asnwering questions about Sound recordings. Credit: Richard Herbert

Library experts answering questions about preserving and archiving recordings. Credit: Richard Herbert

May 19, 2010 -- If you have a Facebook page, digital camera or other means to create digital items you are also building a rich collection of personal information. At least some of these items should be passed on to your family and perhaps others along with—even in place of—letters, photographic prints and other traditional sources.

While information that documents the lives of people and their families has value, keeping it over time is hard. Paper documents get moldy; home movies fade; photographs are lost through fires and other calamities. The problem grows even bigger for digital information, which depends on layers of highly changeable software and equipment. And, as digital technology is still new, there is currently limited information available about preservation practices for non-specialists.

On May 10, 2010, the Library of Congress held its first Personal Archiving Day to help people keep their personal information, whether in analog or digital form. About 200 people visited with Library staff at to get expert suggestions for preserving photographs, documents, recorded sound and other material. Advice came in the form of group lectures and one-on-one conversations at information tables.

Library experts provided tips about safeguarding analog and digital photos. Credit: Abby Brack

Library experts provided tips about safeguarding analog and digital photos. Credit: Abby Brack

Several Library units collaborated in the event, including the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, Information Technology Services, the Preservation Directorate, the Prints and Photographs Division and the Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division.

NDIIPP used the event to highlight a newly expanded personal digital archiving section of the program website.

The Library was pleased to hold the event in celebration of the first national Preservation Week (external link), sponsored by the American Library Association and partner organizations.