Ridiculously excited by the content of this webinar. It was designed for the regular person who has digital photos to keep long term, not for professionals. The webinar followed the outline available on the Library of Congress webpage on the topic. At the page, you can download the outline as a PDF.
I wasn't expecting to learn much I didn't already know and that was the case. I was still excited about it, mainly because I have been meaning to (someday) promote my small scanning business by putting myself out there to do talks locally on the topics of scanning and managing digital photo collections. It was one of many things on my to-do-someday list. (I am STILL trying to get a website up.)
But I have the problem of knowing way too much about the topic AND of being a librarian, a person who naturally overshares information. Narrowing down all I know into a short (45 minute) presentation with action steps for attendees to take was a big job and not something I was motivated to work on in my few hours of free time.
But the more I watched this webinar, the more I saw that I do not have to re-invent the wheel! The Library of Congress has done it all, already. All I have to do is follow their outline of ideas, with my own presentation.
Pulling together resources and re-packaging for new audiences is a very common thing for librarians to do. After all, we do not create NEW information. We simply provide direction to what already exists!
I also have some ideas to add in that come from my years of scrapbooking and actually working with my digital photos. From years of following the Library of Memories workflow too. The Library of Congress does not seem to know much about modern scrapbooking as a hobby and industry, but I sure do.
The webinar also included time for audience questions, and that was fantastic. I got to see the kinds of questions regular people have on the topic, and how the LoC would answer those questions. This gave me more ideas for what to include and how to adjust focus as needed.
Maybe not everyone wants to scan their physical photos. Maybe not everyone thinks it's a big deal. But a LOT of people have large collections of digital photos. The collections are now, after 10 years, becoming too large, unweildly and unmanagable. The time is coming to an end where you can just dump the contents of a camera into a folder on your HD and move on.
My brother emailed me just this week, asking if I had copies of photos I'd scrapbooked of his son's 1st birthday, which was in 2003. His wife's PC crashed and they lost all the photos she had on there, including most baby photos. No backup for her stuff. My brother works in the industry, and I am surprised he did not back up her stuff. So if he's not doing it, others aren't doing it either. I myself am very bad about it because I don't always have my external HD on me when I am carting my laptop around and taking time to work on it.
I am thinking this is a huge topic of interest, and many people would want to come to a free presentation on the topic at their local public library. I have been working on my own version of the presentation. I am even debating going on ebay to buy some visual aids - like some old floppy disks, and maybe a Beta tape, just to show people how technology changes and that data has to be migrated.
Within that large pool of people there will be a smaller subset of people who DO want to get their older pictures scanned and who would definitely want to hire someone to do it. that someone would be...ME. So if I provide a handout with the main points and some resources, people will take it, and that handout will have my website and information on it. SWEET.
I'm also just really excited at the prospect of traveling around the local area and doing talks on the subject, educating people. As a librarian, this is my mandate. I really REALLY miss presenting to groups and talking to people. My current job allows me none of that. I am excited at the prospect of making a name for myself locally as an expert on these topics. I am definitely AN EXPERT. There are many librarians out there who know something about digital archiving but they don't have 13 years of professional experience in digital publishing, which gives me a unique perspective.
The webinar also gave me great idea for my own personal project, because the speaker definitely emphasized a point that I have been complaining about in re: digital scrapbooking for YEARS:
The best way to preserve digital photographs is to print them out.
People think digital is the way to go for... forever. It's not, not at this point. I've had several people suggest that a good way to overcome my memorabilia issues is to scan the originals and toss them. Except that digital files are not stable, not secure, and not a good option long term. ONLY PRINT LASTS.
I've been digital since 2000 now. Over 10 years. So I am going through my digital archive and pulling my top, most important, favorite 300 photos from that decade. My LOM storage binders from Pioneer hold 300 photos. I can fill one of them up with prints of the most important pictures, and that one album will not take up nearly as much space as if I was holding on to all my photos in print form. This is an example of an idea that is MINE that I could share in a presentation. Most people, if asked to do so, could think immediately of a dozen or more photos or even events that have been vitally important to them. A photo of each of your children being born. Photos of that loved one who passed away. Graduations and weddings. Photos you would be devastated to lose. Even if you only print out a measly 25 photos and keep them in a little slip in photo album or a shoebox, those photos will last longer than the digital files will.
Of course, I'm only at 2006 and I have 400 photos already... I might have to cull some. :-( But I am liking this project. I am liking seeing the "highlights" of the previous decade, in my life, gathered together. Things and people and events that are important TO ME. Places I have lived. My dog. My nephews being born. My goddaughter growing up. My mom becoming a grandma. Trips around the country, relationships, friends, groups, communities, graduate school, this fantastic city I love so much. Scrapbooking, cross stitching, cooking, running, letterboxing, playing volleyball, road trips. Pieces of my life. The last decade was an incredibly rich time in my life, and this project is really helping me see that.
1. Photo bar from the Library of Congress.