Archiving and Migrating Digital Files

RootsTech 2015
2:30 Saturday in Ballroom B
Tony Hanson

This presentation discusses the importance of organizing, preserving and updating digital files accumulated by today’s genealogists by selecting appropriate file formats, maintaining multiple copies on archival media, and periodically migrating both file formats and media to guarantee future usability.


PDF Version of the Presentation

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References Mentioned in the Presentation (and a few extras)


Preserving Your Family History Records Digitally

Article by Gary T. Wright on the FamilySeach website. This is a really great introduction to the topic: it provides a lot of useful background and information.

Sassy Jane's Guide to Organizing Your Genealogical Research Using Archival Principles

Nancy E Lowe, MA, MLS. $4.99 for a 40-page PDF file. Very practical and useful advice: well worth the cost (Use Coupon Code JANEHELPS for a 10% discount).

Personal Archiving: How to Preserve Your Own Digital Materials

Library of Congress. Has specific recommendations for:

Perspectives on Personal Digital Archiving

Library of Congress.  A collection of articles from the National Digital Preservation Program blog

Sustainability of Digital Formats Planning for Library of Congress Collections: File Formats

Great source of information, especially about formats for Video, Audio and Email archiving

Sassy Jane's Guide to Cataloging Digital Family Photographs & Records

Nancy E Lowe, MA, MLS. $8.99 for a 38-page PDF file. New publication - had good info on managing Metadata (Use Coupon Code JANEHELPS for a 10% discount).


What is Metadata?

Article - Understand Metadata: The Hidden Information in Photo Files

International Press Telecommunications Council

They developed the metadata standard for information that can be embedded into a digital photo.

It is used by Adobe as the foundation for their Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) open standard.

XnViewMP (Metadata Software)




Adobe Video: "Working with PDF/A in Acrobat 9"

A must-see video if you are planning to create or work with PDF/A files

PDF/A-2 Overview

Good PDF/A-2 Overview

The Benefits and Risks of the PDF/A-3 File Format for Archival Institutions - An NDSA Report

Good PDF/A-3 Overview

Hidden Data and Metadata in Adobe PDF Files: Publication Risks and Countermeasures

Good Overview of PDF/A and related formats (PDF/X, PDF/E and PDF/UE)

An overview of the most important differences between PDF/A and PDF/X

callas software gmbh

M-Disc/Archive Media


Emerging as the new archive media standard

Scanning Guidelines


University of North Texas. University Libraries - Scanning Standards by Type of Material

Great reference that suggests scanner settings for different types of documents


Wikipedia: Wordstar

Everything you never wanted to know about Wordstar

Related Videos

I have recorded several videos for the Dallas Genealogical Society Technology Special Interest Group that may also be of interest....


Backing Up Your Data

Determine what your priorities are and understand the alternatives you can choose from to protect your digital files, images and pictures.
View Part 1 (22:07), Part 2 (22:18), and Part 3 (16:30) on YouTube and a PDF version of the Powerpoint Presentation

Personal Digital Security and Privacy

We are all becoming increasingly dependent on computers, tablets smart phones and wireless technologies. In this session well discuss how you can protect yourself and your information from identity theft or malicious damage.
View the Presentation(1:01:46) on YouTube and a PDF version of the Powerpoint Presentation