Managing a digital photo collection

Related to my post :”| Managing an (historic) analog photo collection

Currently I am working on a corporate ‘photo collection’. A project that is about sorting out analog and digital photos.

The first phase is the inventory of all photo/media files (analog and various digital formats) that sit on hard disks or sit in albums in cupboards or lie in banana boxes. It involves structuring thousands of photo files and adding meta data to the files. The second step is selecting analog photos and digitizing them. The scans and the digital photo files will eventually go into a database and be shared online.

Digitizing is mainly done for the purpose of online sharing and preserving the analog originals.

But what about preserving the original digital files? How to preserve all digitized material? That is of course the big question for all that want to preserve a collection.

In the news came a WIPO workshop. Here’s what we read :

Unlike analog materials, digital works do not ‘self-preserve’ if left alone in a stable environment. Digital materials tend to degrade and lose their integrity quickly, and without warning. As a result, content can effectively disappear without the possibility of recovery. In addition, the formats and hardware necessary for accessing and rendering digital works in a perceptible form are becoming obsolete faster than ever, as new technologies emerge. Thus, digital preservation now requires that multiple copies of a work be made over the course of its “lifetime,” in different formats and in different storage locations.


Digital preservation can involve the exercise of one or more of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights, especially the rights of reproduction, distribution, communication, and adaptation. Because copyright exceptions pertaining to digital preservation are not uniform throughout the world, copyright law has different effects upon digital preservation in different jurisdictions. The copyright-digital preservation interface also varies depending upon the nature and source of the content, whether it is in the public domain, and whether cooperative agreements between rights holders and preservationists can be achieved.

More on the WIPO website

I think I need to put forward the suggestion that we print the best digital files on the best archival paper and add the new prints to the archival silver gelatin prints and color prints and file in proper acid free boxes and proper filing cabinets. All for the sake of preserving/ managing the collections. Oef, a though cookie this project….

And as for the copyright, another challenging layer is added to this.

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