From electronic journaling, to digital scrapbooking, the world of recording memories is changing.
Nothing can capture the power of a memory better than a picture. Just 20 years ago, none of us had the technology to get Grandma’s immediate approval on our latest DIY sewing project for the school play or instantly share great pictures of our tiny tots. Now, through the digital magic of Pinterest, Skype, Facebook and dozens of photo-sharing websites, we can stay connected with our loved ones no matter the miles that separate us.
As enchanting as digital technology can be, its ability to preserve pre-digital-era memories is often overlooked. Most of us still have yellowing shoe boxes of old prints and slides sitting under our beds and in our attics. Those memories connect us with our past, and it’s about time we linked our pasts to our future by digitizing them.
Organize Old Media: A Trip Down Memory Lane
Most of us have probably cataloged our memories the old-fashioned way: via prints, slides and/or VHS home videos. Take a Saturday off to pull them out, look through them and organize them. It’s not only an important trip down memory lane for you, it’s a chance for your family to get to know your past.
- Start organizing by year, era or event (i.e., “birthdays”). This makes it easier to parcel out themes for your digital scrapbooking projects.
- Make sure to store old media in acid-free boxes and albums.
- Do not keep your media in warm or bright places; even attics can cause dry rot and expose precious memories to rodents and deterioration.
- Carefully wrap and designate which photos, negatives and slides you want to digitize, and wrap them carefully.
Digitize at Home or Professionally
Although many people opt to scan and digitize old prints at home, this can be time-consuming, and the purchase of a high-quality scanner may not be worth your while. (If you think it is, PCMag.com recommends the Cannon CanoScan because it uses an LED source that eliminates warm-up time and can be purchased for around $200.)
Although scanning at home has its pros, many busy moms aren’t aware that your old media can easily be sent to a professional service. For example, slide scanning at Dig My Pics allows you to simply estimate the amount of media (slides, negatives, prints, even 8mm and VHS) in your box, send it in, and let the professionals handle it for you. They will size, color correct and restore and retouch your precious images for you, for about 39 cents per slide. You can follow the project online in real-time as it is being completed.
Once you’ve decided which route you want to take, it’s time to . . .
Let the Scrapbooking Begin: Endless Ideas
Although Pinterest seems to be one giant digital scrapbook of amazing ideas, there are plenty of places around the Web where you can find inspiration. Scrapbooksetc.com has a host of wonderfully creative ideas and layouts that you can use online or print and add to a book. The best part about digital scrapbooking is that your book can be multimedia; you can add home movies, old slides and converted VHS tape. Preserve your family’s precious, unique history in one creative place, and add to it as your family grows. The sky is the limit.