the all-seeingeyeProtecting Family Photos: Handling Proxies

Handling proxies made on a photocopier with handwritten notes.

If you plan on working with your photographs-entering the information into a database or letting family members order copies-you should have what I call a handling proxy. The more you handle the original, the more likely loss or damage will occur. A handling proxy is a copy, either physical or electronic, of the photograph and preferably the information you have gathered about it. A physical proxy can be made using any copier. Just copy the photograph and the information block from its envelope side-by-side. Make two sets, one of which you should store offsite, the other to use as a reference for tasks like writing family histories or building a database. At this point, you've managed to organize the photographs, and connnect them with what you know about their history, but your collection is still at risk. The next step in the process is creating a backup set.

Next step: Making a backup.