This article appeared recently in the electronic newsletter published by the Allen County Public Library's Genealogy Center.
More "Care" of Photographs by Curt Witcher
"We know how important photographic images are to our family stories, and we all have a strong interest in making sure those images survive long beyond our lifetimes. In addition to caring for the physical photographs, there are ways of employing technology to assure the images are well preserved and available for future generations of family members.
"Digitizing and sharing photographic images is an important 21st century way of preserving photographs. Many are familiar with the acronym LOCKSS, which stands for "lots of copies keeps stuff safe." Today it is relatively easy and virtually free to digitize photographs and make them available in a number of formats and places. First, if several family members are working on the genealogies of related lines, suggest that all researchers make a digital copy of all their photographs and share those on DVDs or flash/jump drives with all other interested family members. Doing that helps protect against a disaster wiping-out a valuable collection.
"Next, look for opportunities to contribute photographic images to virtual web sites. If you have pictures of tombstones, contemplate contributing them to the "Find-A-Grave" website. Consider creating a family page for yourself on WeRelate.org--it won't cost you a cent. Create a family photograph album for yourself on Flickr, and then invite family members to view and contribute. Investigate contributing photographic images to a virtual community album that the local library or historical society might be hosting in the area where your family lived. There are many ways we can employ ever-advancing technology in the care of our photographs."