A most useful initiative has been undertaken by Library of Congress under the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program. As part of this initiative, they have provided a guide on how to preserve your digital memories.
So many people have their correspondence, photographs , tapes and videos stored digitally at this stage, and each an everyone of us will know somebody who has lost digital data. It is very helpful to have a system in place to create a personal secure store for your digital memories in an era of rapidly changing technology and in the face of a reality that the medium you choose for storing images could become outdated.
As we each have so many pictures and so much information on a computer, we need to have a personal archiving system and take our tips from the experts. This is what this initiative has done. The step by step procedure is outlined here. There is an amount of work involved in doing this, but it is time well spent and it will be worthwhile to know that you have a system in place for storing your digital memories.
The steps to be undertaken are:
1. Do an inventory of your photographs:
Identify where you have digital photos, include all your digital photos on cameras, computers and removable media such as memory cards, also include your photos on the Web.
2. Select the most important ones:
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, select the one with highest quality.
3.Catalogue and Describe the Photographs:
Give individual photos descriptive file names, Use a picture management program such as Microsoft Picture Manager (available for download) or Iphoto to tag photos with names of people and descriptive subjects,.
4. Store the Photographs:
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 in a word document and save it in the same folder.
5. Duplicate your work for protection:
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(e.g. Flickr, Picassa, ICloud). 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.
6. Review your system and check for redundancy:
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.
The full set of guideline contain information on how to archive a number of types of digital data, such as sound files, emails, and are available at http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/personalarchiving/documents/PA_All_brochure.pdf