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Remembering — and Preserving — our Past

Photo of John Borsch's Store in Delano, Minnesota

My great-grandfather John Borsch’s store in Delano, Minnesota (circa 1900)

One of my passions is taking old family photos, films and video, digitizing them and finding archival quality media and methods to preserve them.

Thought I’d take a moment this New Year’s Eve day to go through some old photos. I decided to quickly jam together a videoblog post too (this is still in beta, so the quality of the pristine DV audio & video didn’t come through) as it showcases an old 16mm film preserved as well as a few of the thousands of photos I’ve already done to date.

What are *you* doing to preserve your past? In a Scientific American, January 1995 article entitled, “Ensuring the Longevity of Digital Documents” (PDF) discussed were the problems of preserving digital media and hoping it can be played back at some point in the future. To illustrate what a problem we’re all facing, do you have a 5 1/4″ floppy drive? How about access to a Beta video deck? Got a 3.5″ floppy drive? How about a SyQuest removable hard disk drive? (..and SyQuest was *really* hot at one point). How about a Zip or Jaz drive to open all those old files?

You can see what we’re all up against. While it’s been a laborious and time consuming process for me to digitize several hundred family photos and re-touch them, what if they weren’t even available to me? With the explosion in digital photography, how many people do you think have thousands of digital pictures sitting on their un-backed up hard drive? Photos that may never make it to the point one of their children or grandchildren take up the family archiving cause and do what I’ve been doing.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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