What file format should I use to preserve family photos?

PNG. GIF. TIFF. PDF. JPG. When it comes to choosing a file format for images, the possibilities are endless. Like many genealogists, I am scanning my family photos. I have several reasons for doing so: I want to create a backup in case there is a fire or flood and I lose the originals I want to use the scans in my family tree, on my blog, and other publications. I want to share the scans with other family members. We may only have one copy of the original, but we can easily create … [Read more...]

Column – Digital Correspondence

"National Archivist wants to store emails and WhatsApp messages," was the headline of the Volkskrant newspaper on 2 January after an interview with National Archivist Marens Engelhard. The records that became public that day were all made of paper, but going forward, digital correspondence also needs to be preserved. Emails of civil servants working on important files—even the WhatsApp messages about the acquisition of Rembrandt paintings. Article 1 of the Archive Law defines archival records … [Read more...]

Column – Destroyed

"How many of you want your work destroyed after you're gone?" This question was asked by Thomas W. Jones during a lecture. The crowd laughed; of course that was nobody's intention. Still, this will be the reality for most of us. We've invested a lot in our research; in time but also in money. Books, subscriptions, memberships, travel costs, copies or scans we ordered: most of us have spent thousands of euros/dollars. If we don't make arrangements, not much will be left in a hundred … [Read more...]

Column: Receipt

The receipt of the Teeven deal had been preserved: we could reconstruct how much money had been paid; even fifteen years after the fact. The drama that followed demonstrated that archiving is more than just preserving things well; it is also a matter of being able to find information again.* In the Netherlands, the national government has a digital repository, a joint service where archives and government agencies can store their digital information. This system has been built over the last … [Read more...]

Column – Safe?

"My family tree is safe, I use Dropbox." Such cloud solutions, that automatically stores files online, are popular among genealogists. You don't have to remember to make a copy and can access the files from all your computers, tablets and phones. Your files are safe. Are they? Ensuring future accessibility of your files requires two things: the file must be available, and you must be able to open it. One problem with cloud solutions like Dropbox is that they do not make a back-up … [Read more...]

Column – The right to be forgotten

A new European guideline ensures that citizens have the right to be forgotten. They can ask search engines to remove results that are no longer relevant. That will prevent your drunk selfie from appearing on the first page of search results the next time a potential employer searches for your name. The guideline is primarily aimed at search engines, but wider regulation is in the works. As genealogists, we're used to personal information becoming public after enough time passes, even if the … [Read more...]