Digital Curation and Preservation for Genealogy

Genealogy research often involves a great deal of digital records and documents. From scanned photographs and old census records to family trees and DNA test results, the amount of information we collect and store digitally can be overwhelming. This is where digital curation and preservation comes in – the process of managing and preserving digital content for future access and use. In this guide, we’ll explore the importance of digital curation and preservation for genealogy research, and provide tips on how to properly store and preserve your digital records and documents.


Why is digital curation and preservation important for genealogy research?


  1. Protecting your research: Digital records and documents can be easily lost or corrupted, making it important to back up your files regularly and store them in a safe place. Curation and preservation can ensure that your hard work and research is not lost in the event of a computer crash, natural disaster, or other unforeseen circumstances.
  2. Sharing your research: Digital records and documents make it easy to share your research with others. However, if your files are not properly stored or preserved, they may become inaccessible or difficult to use over time. Digital curation and preservation can ensure that your research is available to future generations of researchers.
  3. Improving accuracy: When conducting genealogy research, it is important to ensure the accuracy of your sources. Digital records can be manipulated and altered, and curation and preservation can help ensure that your records remain authentic and reliable.


Tips for digital curation and preservation in genealogy research:


  1. Back up your files regularly: It is important to regularly back up your digital records and documents to ensure they are not lost in the event of a computer crash or other disaster. Consider using cloud storage, external hard drives, or other digital storage options to keep your files safe.
  2. Organize your files: Proper organization is key to efficient digital curation and preservation. Consider creating a file naming convention, sorting your files into folders, and keeping track of important metadata like dates and locations.
  3. Choose file formats carefully: Not all file formats are created equal when it comes to long-term preservation. Consider using file formats that are widely accepted and have a long track record of reliability, like PDF or TIFF.
  4. Consider digitization standards: When digitizing physical records and documents, it is important to follow established digitization standards to ensure the quality and longevity of your digital copies. Consider using a high-quality scanner, following resolution guidelines, and selecting appropriate color profiles.
  5. Consider professional help: If you are working with particularly valuable or fragile documents, it may be worth considering professional help with digitization and preservation. Many archives and libraries offer these services and can provide guidance on best practices for preserving your documents.

In conclusion, digital curation and preservation is an important aspects of genealogy research. By taking the time to properly store and preserve your digital records and documents, you can protect your research, share it with others, and ensure its accuracy and reliability for future generations.