What do I keep? How do I sort?
There will come a time when you have to decide what of your memories, or your parents memories, to digitize or dispose of. As a general rule, my attitude is to digitize as much as you can. There are several reasons for this. First and foremost is that you need to keep the “long view.” Recognize that you can’t predict what will be interesting, important or meaningful to someone in your family one hundred, or two hundred years from now. But, it you make the effort to have your memories digitized, it is almost certain that someone in the future will, at least in their own mind, thank you for doing so,and implicitily or explicitly remember you. However, if you cannot resist the urge to purge, then follow two rules: 1: Eliminate duplicate or similar images. If you have three photos of Baby Jane in her high chair, taken at the same time with the same degree of cuteness, get rid of two. 2: Get rid of photos without people. All those photos of Mount Rushmore? Unless there is something significant about it, it can be pitched. You can find better photos of Mt. Rushmore on the Internet.
Should I still have my stuff put onto DVD?
More often these days, people want to know if they should put their stuff onto DVD, or some other form of digital media. There are two good reasons for still doing so. First, a DVD is still the cheapest and most permanent form on which to store your family memories. You can’t accidentally delete things off of a DVD. And with good labeling, no one will mistakenly throw your DVDs in the trash. DVD players will still be around for more than a few years, and even though your laptop may not have a DVD tray anymore, you can buy a good one for dirt cheap at most electronics stores. Second, for videos, the DVD format is still the easiest and most enjoyable form of a group experience. You can pop it in, watch it on your TV abd use a menu to navigate to the parts you want to enjoy. You can still do this with other media, but it is a bit more challenging, and no one wqnts to crowd around a computer screen. Other media–particularly external hard drives- are also recommended as storage devices. They serve other purposes better– mainly that you can easily copy files from it, and you can edit those files to make your own creations. But beware– external drive can break more easily, and if you are not careful, you can accidently delete a file that you only meant to copy. Solid state hard drive are coming down in price , and would eliminate most of the fear of drive failure. Still, for the tech savvy person, having your memories on an external hard drive is an absolute necessity. I recommend that you stay away from jump (for “flash”) drives, for one good reason– you can lose them easily.
Why should I digitize my family’s memories?
The answer is not always obvious to people. The simple answer is that once your memories are digitized, they can be shared more broadly. So if you have four brothers and sisters, you dont have to fight over who gets what. And neither do your children or your grandchildren. There is, however, a deeper reason. In this day and age when its hard to trust what you seen in the media or history books, isn;t it important to pass on to your progeny something that gives them an independent point of view? Something that shows them where they came from and what the journey of theiir family was like. This reason is more than mere entertainment. It is valuable, and it is necessary.