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Ask the Organizer Guest Blog: Should I Be Scanning My Photos?

Today’s Ask the Organizer is from guest blogger Molly Bullard, founder of Seattle Photo Organizing. For over eight years Molly has been transforming diverse collections of archives into accessible memories.  Guiding clients through their photos, slides, film/video, and digital images she finds the set that best tells their story.

Q: How should I be scanning my photos?

A: If you are embarking on a large scanning project, the scanner software will run more efficiently if you are saving directly to the computer vs an external source. However, if you are limited with space on your computer you could purchase a dedicated external hard drive for the project. An online “Cloud” storage solution is also a possibility but I would only recommend it if you have smaller file sizes and a very stable internet connection. Once you have determined the best “Master” for your scanning project, define a backup solution before you get started. No scanning project is quick so make sure you don’t lose your work! Portable external hard drives are a great option for backup as it is very easy to copy and paste your project folders. An online “Cloud” storage solution would also work well if you feel comfortable with your internet connection. Lastly, you may have read the claims from CD and DVDs manufacturers that they have a shelf life of 100yrs (DVD) and 300yrs (CD)s for their archival gold brands. Unfortunately, none of us will ever be able to test this claim and perhaps more important is the reality that we may not have the devices to access these disks in as little as two years. Many new laptop and desktop computers do not have disk drives as manufacturers are emphasizing streaming and download options. Have fun!

Molly Bullard, founder of Seattle Photo Organizing can be reached by email at

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