For awhile now, I've been studying and thinking about how our memory keeping books (and library) are organized. There is a lot to consider, really. But, I'm up for the task and committed to spending time on it. Even if I do find myself getting distracted by the albums—after all, these books are so much more than the photos+words within them. They are about who we are to each other and what our family and friends mean to us. There is a lot of love captured in these books and it has a way of capturing my attention!
At this point, I'm still making lists about format, storage, and what's in—and what I want to be in—the collection. I'm capturing what I think I want to do and why. One problem that I've had is that when I learn new information about archiving and how archival-safe things are or are not, I keep changing my mind about storage. So my storage plan is still a little nebulous for me.
Even so, the following details what I'm thinking I'll do, and why.
Format: A mix of printed digital materials.
I enjoy playing with color and design online, but when it comes to assembling my pages I prefer a hands-on approach. Likewise, my family prefers a more analog experience when revisiting our stories. So, I'm leaning towards the following formats:
- Original photos and designs are/will be in digital psd, jpg, png, and pdf formats
- Original words are stored in digital .doc or .txt formats (mostly, I do have more recent words kept in Evernote and I'm not sure about the format of those notes)
- The photos will be printed by Walgreens, Persnickety Prints, or me on one of my home printers
- Pages/layouts and all artsy materials will be printed on my home printer
Storage: Digital hard drives (and, possibly, a cloud service) and printed/hard copy albums.
We've been using two external hard drives (one is kept off-site) fairly successfully. This means the hard drives are in keeping with how we organize and store our family photos already—the process is both established and simple. But, the hard drives are aging and I worry (plus the transfer rate is pretty slow on them). So, I've been considering extending how I use Dropbox (a cloud service I like) to optimize archive age. In addition, I plan to include SD cards within each hard copy album (though, the SD card idea is a new one, too). However SD cards require an "electronic refresh" of sorts every so often to maintain the viability of the data stored on them. So, that's given me pause.
I've been a little less careful with the words. They jump from computer to computer desktop and some of them have a home in Evernote. At times, some of those words where stored in a blog. I've never settled on a permanent way to manage these files. It's time that I do.
As for the printed albums, they are the natural outcome of the project and I want them where the entire family can enjoy them. And, if protected, these have a great shelf life. However, I'm not a fan of plastic page protectors. This means it's likely that I (or the next caretaker of these albums) will be called upon to reprint things. Which takes me back to my digital storage dilemmas.
It's at the point where I have to decide how much shelf-life matters to us and what kind of commitment I'm willing to make to refresh or reprint original files and album pages.
Content: Under construction.
I'm in the process of understanding what is already in our collection of albums, what I want to add to them, and pruning what I don't want to keep within them. Likewise, I'm thinking about the different types of information I seem to collect and how to present it in the future. So far there are: Observations, photos that just need a few captions, story arcs that span years, routine celebrations and events, unique events (Covid 19, for example), personal reflections, and lists (of favorites, friends, places, etc.). On the camera roll, there are instructional collections, as well—images of how things fit back together, brands to try, notes for later study.
I'm still thinking and feeling my way through it all. As I figure it out and start planning how to organize it all (e.g., the design, the schema, and what I plan to do to make it easy to search for and retrieve it all), I'll follow up with Part 2 of this series.
Meanwhile, I'm wondering about your situation. Have you ever done, are you currently doing, or do you plan to do something similar with your photos and words?
I'd Love to Hear from You 🙂
Since I see us on this journey to master memory keeping together, I'd like to hear your thoughts. So, let's chat about:
- Your thoughts and feelings about the post
- What your're doing this week related to memory keeping
- Your take on the One a Month Projects