Personal Archiving

A Monumental Personal Archiving Project

On the front page of yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer, there was a story describing what might be the largest personal archiving project ever. Mrs. Marion Stokes, who died in 2012, recorded all the TV news on all channels for nearly 35 years. Her collection filled nearly 140,000 videocassettes which weigh about 31 tons!

Stokes was a librarian at the Free Library of Philadelphia for over 20 years. She collected about 50,000 books during her lifetime as well as large numbers of newspapers and magazines. Her collection of TV news programs was given to the Internet Archive, which plans to digitize them and make them available for public use. Brewster Kahle, Founder of the Internet Archive (and who wrote the Foreword to my book, Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage) must be thrilled!

It’s not a digital archive (but it soon will be), and it makes my small photo digitization project (described in chapter 2 of Personal Archiving) pale into insignificance. Nevertheless, I intend to push on!



About Donald T. Hawkins

Donald T. Hawkins is a writer, blogger, speaker, and long-time information industry observer whose distinguished career included 15 years in the AT&T Bell Laboratories Library Network, where he was honored for his pioneering contributions in end-user searching. He is the author of hundreds of articles and a two-time winner of the UMI/Data Courier Award for excellence in writing. He is the editor of Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage.

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