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I've wanted for a few years to now to digitize all the old family photos. Having started doing some work on it this week I'm starting to see the huge amount of work that it will be. Over part of Friday and all of Saturday, I was about to scan and index 3 boxes (40 each) of slides. That works out to about 1/2 days work per 40 and I think that I have somewhere in range of 100 times as many slides in the family. Maybe double that. I think that I'm going to have to be selective in the slides that I scan in order to finish in my lifetime. :-/
One thing that I think will be important is to make sure I can somewhat cross reference the original physical media. The reason for this is that if I want to be able to go back and rescan a selected slide because I want to blow it up for a print or something, that would necessary. Hopefully just scanning them at a quality that will look okay in a digital picture frame will be good enough at this point. I'm not trying to get these published in National Geographic or anything, I'm just trying to get them out of boxes and be enjoyed while people are still alive. It's all well and good to be scanning all the pictures, but if no one is alive that was involved in any way, it's somewhat less important.
One thing that I am really impressed by is my great-grandmother (GGM). I think that she died in 1987 (?), so it's been a while. All of her slides have written on them 1) who's in it 2) the year 3) the place (most of the time) 4) sometimes the event (e.g. Christmas, Dee's visit, etc) and the month. Then it's all crossed referenced on a little folded piece of type written paper with the slide number and the same information again. That's crazy organized. I don't think that our flickr tagging is up to that standard. It sure makes the archiving easier and more interesting though.
Some of the slides I've come across my GGM marked as "old slides" - without a year on them. They are studio pictures of my dad and his brothers. I think that my dad's about 10 or 11. So weird to see these pictures for the first time.
It's funny when I think of it. The current generation being born is probably the first generation where every detail of their lives from before they were born until they die will be captured electronically. Photos, videos, facebook status, emails, etc. Nothing new about having access to those of your parents, but now it will cost practically nothing to keep, index, replicate and search those. I mean that my whole picture directory on my computer is only about 15G right now. I've had a digital camera for about 4 years now, so let's say 4 G per year, doubling file size every 3 years (which I think is too liberal an estimate, but whatever)... That comes out to 163828 G which is 163 terabytes. That seems like a huge number now, but I've bought a 1 T drive for like 125 $. How much will it cost to store 163 T in 40 years? The price of a coffee? Less?
So, I hope that my work of converting from a physical medium to a digital medium will be worth it. Any future conversions should hopefully only cost computer time and disk space: both of which are practically free. What am I going to do with the pictures? Scan everything and put it on digital picture frames to be enjoyed by people who know who's in the pictures while they are alive. The thing that saddens me is that I know that I won't be able to complete my task in that time. I'll just have to choose my pictures carefully.Posted by jim at November 30, 2008 12:16 PM