The Fine Art of Archival Science

Source: Library of Congress

Archivists keep records that have enduring value as reliable memories of the past, and they help people find and understand the information they need in those records. Archivists appraise, edit, and maintain permanent records and historically valuable documents. Many perform research on archival material. Determining what records have enduring value can be challenging. Archivists must also select records valuable enough to justify the costs of storage and preservation, plus the labor intensive expenses of arrangement, description, and reference service.[ The theory and scholarly work underpinning archives practices is called archival science.

Because archival records are frequently unique, the archivist may be as much concerned with the preservation and custody of the information carrier (i.e. the physical document) as with its informational content: in this regard, the skill-set and outlook of the archivist sometimes have a lot in common with those of the museum curator.

Archiving Tips:

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.
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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