Sponsored by the Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach Historical Society 
Virginia Wesleyan College, October 27, 2002 

Types of Electronic Media Storage Devices

    Digital Cameras
    Fax Machines
    Tape Recorders - Cassette Recorders
    Camcorders-VCRS - Digital Video cameras

Types of Electronic Media

    Computer disc

      Magnetic Materials: 5 ¼” floppy, 3 ½” floppy, zip cartridges, backup devices, DAT tapes. 
      Discs:  CDR, CDRW, DVD
      Suggestion: Transfer any very important material to CD.
      Suggestion: When making CDs, don’t press with paper labels. Use an indelible marker for listing contents.        Suggestion:  Keep a hard copy of any really important material.

    Digital Cameras:  Most reusable disc media is durable, but you will want to download your photos to a CD or computer file anyway.

    Fax Machine:  Some Fax paper will fade in storage.  Make a hard copy.

    Tape Recorders / Cassette Recorders

      Magnetic tapes from reel to reel machines should be stored tail-out to avoid magnetic imprinting.  Suggestion:  Store the originals & transfer to CD.
      Cassette tape format is still widely used.
      All tape should be stored in cool location, away from light and MAGNETS.
      Always Store a master tape and use or lend a copy.

    Camcorders Etc.

      VHS, 8 MM, High 8, SVHS, Digital 8 are all magnetic tapes and should be stored away from heat, light, moisture & MAGNETS.
      CDROM & DVD disc are more durable
      Be aware that 8mm, High 8, SVHS machines are becoming rare.  Suggestion:  Store the original and copy to VHS.  Even though the resolution is lower, you will still have access to the information.  Or if you can, save the original video to a computer file, MPEG2.

Transferring documents & photos to computer media


    Types of Material to Electronically Archive: Documents, Photos, Audio/video

    Electronic Media to use: Suggestion: Store to CD if possible

    Methods of Transfer to Computer:  Scanners, Cameras, Video/ Sound Cards

    Which kind of computer file do I use?

Scanned photos and digital camera photo file formats

·        BMP – wallpaper pictures for computer screen backgrounds.

·        JPEG – Good for photo files. BUT, you lose data when resaving.

·        Gif – best for color graphics with blocks of color. Used on web.

·        Tiff – Best for saving important photos.  Large – no data loss.

·        Print photos at 200-300 dpi (dots per inch). Slow loading files.

·        On-screen or Internet 72 dpi – faster loading & smaller files.

·        Organize your photos with file folders & thumbnails

Scanner resolutions: 

·        Use 72 DPI for computer use: 300 DPI for photos to print. 

·        Scan at 100% for a scan the size of the original document.

Digital Cameras: Resolution & Pixels & Prints

·        The amount of pixels your camera can record will determine how large the possible final print. 3.3 Megapixel camera can reproduce prints at 5X7 or 8X10.  1.3 Megapixel can print 4x6 photos.

·        Use correct photo paper and ink when printing.

·        Place printed photos behind UV glass, & out of the light to prevent fading.  Keep away from water.

Sound Files:  Wav, MP3, RM

·        Most sound cards have program to record sound files.

·        Wav files are basic sound files on PCs.

·        Wav files can be ‘burned’ to an audio CD with simple computer software.

·        MP3 and RM (real player) files use audio compression and are used to play music on a computer and over the internet.  Wav files can be converted to these with minimal audio loss.  MP3’s and RM must be converted back to wav to burn to an Audio CD.  MP3 & RM files need special players to be played without a computer.

·        Save Wav files in file format or as an Audio CD.

Video – MPEG1, MPGE2

·        Images can be computer saved as MPEG1 for internet and computer viewing.

·        MPEG2 files can be burned to DVD. 

Archiving Current Documents & Photos

    Hardware, software programs and file formats are ever changing.  Keep your software fairly current.  Import and resave files in newer programs if your original software program is discontinued or a software company goes out of business.

    If you are saving a document you have created in a software program, make sure the file saved on CD or disc has all elements needed to open correctly on a different computer.  Include fonts, graphics, etc.  Some programs will have a “save for remote printing” setting which does this for you.  If you are unsure, try opening the file yourself on another computer.

    Possibly save a file in PC & Mac versions

In Summary

    Use the same general considerations for electronic media as for other types of materials.

    Good News – Data storage is smaller and more durable. Bad News - keep up with the technology or old media may be unreadable in new machines.

    Update old files versions in newer software programs.

    With software documents, save for remote printing. Include fonts & graphics on the disc.

    With important documents and photos, keep hard copies in files with disc.

 Outline created by
June Cooper
for The Princess Anne County / Virginia Beach Historical Society
Record Preservation Workshop, October 27, 2002.  

If you have any suggestions / additions etc. to this information

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