Personal archiving

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Personal archiving is a branch of archival science and genealogy, focusing on the capture and preservation of individual's personal papers and other documentary output, generally by the individuals concerned. It is often related to family history, when family historians are engaged in capturing their own living history to leave as a legacy for future generations.[1] This branch of family history is allied to the growth in activities such as photograph and record scanning which seek to preserve materials beyond their original life.

Modern personal archiving is often concerned with digital preservation, especially with collating individual's content from social media websites and ensuring the long-term preservation of this. This often deals with migration of digital content, as a means of preservation, rather than the tradition tasks of conservation of paper-based records.[2]

Form and motivation[edit]

Individuals involved in personal archiving consider all media to be relevant sources as long as this relates to the life, memories and experiences of a person, but a majority of the material is written, photographic, audio or video in nature. Those experiences can relate to their lives, those of living relatives or ancestors. Those engaged in this practice also see their life experiences as a potential source of historical and cultural record, as well as being able to re-live those moments personally. Many see the digital age as bringing an opportunity to leave a richer legacy for future generations.

Conducting personal archiving[edit]

  • Choose an online or offline repository to store memories, experiences and living history, where it will be secured for future generations
  • Gather existing material, files, documents, scans, photographs, into one a place and decide what you think is worth preserving and naming.
  • Choose a categorization or organization method.
  • Use preservation safe measures to secure your materials so that they last for posterity.
  • Invite other family members to join and add to the archive making a family repository. From materials that you have uploaded you can make interesting representations like timelines, timecapsules photo galleries for yourself and ancestors.
  • Begin capturing ongoing material, writing your memories, events and experiences, allowing you to leave a written legacy.

See also[edit]


Cox, Richard, Digital Curation and the Citizen Archivist (PDF) 

  1. ^ Barratt, Nick. Nick Barratt's guide to your ancestors lives. p. 272. ISBN 1-84884-056-X. 
  2. ^ "Why everyone has to be a historian in the digital age". BBC. 2010-09-17. Archived from the original on 2012-11-19. Retrieved 2012-11-19. 

Further reading[edit]