Recently I had an opportunity to attend the Personal Digital Archiving 2014 conference co-sponsored by the Library of Congress, the Indiana State Library and Indiana State University Library, in collaboration with the Coalition for Networked Information. The PDA conference has been held annually since 2010, initially sponsored by the Internet Archive but now carried forward as a grassroots effort by a number of other institutions.
I attended the conference to learn more about issues in personal archiving, and in particular I hoped to find some inspiration for organizing and preserving my own documents and family photographs. The 2-day conference gave me a much better grounding in the theoretical aspects of personal digital archiving and the research being done to document archiving practices.
I was intrigued by keynote speaker Andrea Copeland’s dream of co-created community repositories housed in public libraries as a means of personal digital preservation. I related to the statement by one conference participant that people take so many more photos now (because of smart phones and tablet technology) that they value each one less. I appreciated Pekka Uotila’s description of his attempt to create a family archive and his conclusion that the archiving process is a never ending epic story. And I was challenged by Nick Krabbenhoeft to think about social media, text messages and wearable technology as life logs. (Hmm, yes, my Fitbit® is a form a personal digital archiving!)
If any of these ideas pique your curiosity to learn more about personal archiving, see Mike Ashenfelder’s report on PDA2014 for additional speakers and topics.
Although I did not come away with a step-by-step guide to preserving those family photos, I do know that there are resources out there that can help me get started. The Library of Congress has been a leader in promoting personal digital archiving, so for more information see this great site on preserving your own digital memories: digital photographs, audio and video; electronic mail; personal digital records; and websites. This is a great place to start for basic guidance on preserving personal and family memories.
The Signal is the Library of Congress blog on digital preservation, which is recommended reading for anyone interested in preservation generally. It includes a series of posts on personal archiving. There is also a new Facebook page for Personal and Community Digital Archiving.
The theme of Preservation Week is Pass It On. Whether you are preserving our legal and cultural heritage in your library or your personal family history at home, share this week’s stories and resources with others for the benefit of future generations.
Pass It On!
Margaret K. Maes Executive Director Legal Information Preservation Alliance