Digitizing Family and Historic Photos
Did you know that there’s Internet access to nearly half of the Library of Congress’s 13.6-million-plus images from its Prints and Photographs collection? Just imagine—Ansel Adams' World War II photographs, Mathew Brady’s Civil War photos! What a mind-boggling digitizing project and also an incredible opportunity for the world to see them. I learned those tidbits from First Monday’s new article, Digitizing Old Photographs for the Web by Ruth Garner, Mark Gillingham, and Yong Zhao, one of the many fascinating articles in First Monday’s January issue. They’re finding how digitizing old photographs is changing our interaction with photos and opening up limitless possibilities. Whether for family or for the Library of Congress, the sentiment behind digitizing them is the same: preservation and dissemination. The article also goes into the digitizing process a bit and provides many interesting and helpful links.
I volunteered to be my family’s digitizer, although another family member has nearly all my parents' old photos and slides, and I’m not sure when we’ll actually get started—we’re all so busy running businesses, working, and caring for our families. Newer photos, such as snapshots of my children as they’re growing up, are already showing age from not being put in archival quality albums and storage boxes. Hopefully surrounding the originals in archival materials this year will help them last as we work on digitizing our family history.
Speaking of digitizing photos, First Monday’s May 2002 issue included an article by Clifford Lynch, Digital Collections, Digital Libraries and the Digitization of Cultural Heritage Information. Based on Lynch’s keynote address given at the Web-Wise 2002 Conference on March 20, 2002 at Johns Hopkins University, you’ll find issues about copyright, public domain, digital rights protection, legislation, funding, and more.