Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Personal Archiving: A Guide to Software and Tools: As a Consequence of the Growth of Personal Archiving, Libraries Are Experiencing an Increasing Number of Users Asking for Help with Software to Create and Manage Their Archiving Projects

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Personal Archiving: A Guide to Software and Tools: As a Consequence of the Growth of Personal Archiving, Libraries Are Experiencing an Increasing Number of Users Asking for Help with Software to Create and Manage Their Archiving Projects

Article excerpt

[This article is an abridged version of Chapter 4 of Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage (Information Today, Inc., 2013), edited by Donald T. Hawkins.--Ed.]

Although libraries and other cultural institutions have traditionally engaged in preservation activities, individuals are beginning to want to preserve their digital artifacts. We are seeing growing interest in personal digital archiving--the preservation of an individual's digital heritage--which is being driven by the widespread use of digital cameras (especially those integrated in cellphones), large collections of unorganized photographs on users' computers, heavy use of email and social media platforms, and a large increase in the number of born-digital documents. As a consequence of the growth of personal archiving, libraries are experiencing an increasing number of users asking for help with software to create and manage their archiving projects. In this column, I review some of the software products currently available for those who wish to undertake a personal archiving project.

Photo Archiving Software

Lifemap (milifemap.com), launched in 2013, provides secure private storage for photos, videos, and diaries (documents), as well as social networking postings. According to Lifemap's website, although tablet computers have reinvented the family photo album, its service is "reinventing how to retrieve and display a lifetime of memories." In contrast to Facebook, Lifemap concentrates on archiving and preservation of photos first, then sharing them. Some of the ancillary features currently in development include a shopping cart for other products based on users' photos (albums, calendars, etc.) and facial recognition for efficient tagging, as well as scanning services (in partnership with other companies). Lifemap concentrates exclusively on memories and has no plans to add music, commercial videos, or chat.

Lifemap has several unique features, including:

* eBeneficiary. By default, all stored user data is private, but an account owner can invite a trusted person to inherit the content after the owner's death. This unique feature removes some of the significant roadblocks imposed by many services in accessing and transferring a deceased person's account.

* Subaccounts. An owner can create a private subaccount and pass it on to someone else at a future time. For example, parents can create an account with milestones of their children's lives and then give it to them when they are old enough to maintain their own accounts.

* Timelines, milestones, and yearbooks. All uploaded content is first put on a timeline where a user can add a title, location, or other tags, and then the user can easily jump to a specific date or date range, or use search to recall memories instantly. Milestones can be created from the best photos or videos from an important life event where someone would typically take many photos and build an album. Yearbooks are a subset of the timeline and collect the best photos and videos from special and recurring events each year.

* Diaries. If photos from an event are not available, a private searchable diary can be created, tagged, and set to any date in the timeline. Adding a personal narrative to an event to complement the photos is also possible with the diary.

* Batch tagging. After uploading a batch of photos into Lifemap, all photos in the batch can be tagged at once instead of individually as many other systems require, which can be a significant time-saver.

The sharing capabilities of Lifemap include creating a slideshow of selected photos and sending the URL to anyone for viewing. (Recipients do not need to be Lifemap users.) Lifemap is also available for the iPhone and iPad, and an Android version is in development.

Lifemap's vision is to become a "family's digital attic box of the 21st Century." Its founder recognized that typical families cannot be early adopters of every new product coming on the market, but they would value a sanctuary for their memories that they can control, without worrying that they are at risk because of a change in business philosophy or because their data might become unreadable due to advances in storage formats or even death. …

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