Skip to Main Content

Special Collections & Archives

Resources for Personal Archiving

There's a lot of advice on personal archiving available on the web. Library of Congress is a good authoritative place to start.

Edition of the Yellowknife Blade, mine camp newsletterGood Practices

  • Describe -- Create a record of your items. You can describe as much or as little as you desire. Options:
    • Inventory -- Maintain a basic list of your items.
    • Metadata (data about your item) -- Compile a list that includes specific information such as creator, date, location, and format. This is especially useful for photographs.Montage of images
    • Narrative -- Add your own narrative to bring a personal touch and more context to your collection.
  • Digitize -- Digital versions are easily shared, and multiple digital copies help keep your content safe. Check the Library of Congress recommendations and others on digitizing materials and how to manage your born-digital content.
  • Preservation -- Explore the practical actions you can take to preserve your materials (see Library of Congress links above). This could be as simple as storing items flat or keeping items out of direct light.

Personal Archiving & Donating to Our Archives

Interested in donating your time as well as your personal archives? You can help us with the accessibility and preservation of your items:

1) Include the embedded location and creator information in your born-digital photos.

2) Along with your original print photos, include digital copies scanned according to our Best Practices. This includes: TIFF format, 600 dpi, and no alteration of the original photo's appearance--don't crop, color enhance, or digitally "repair" the photo. 

3) Create an inventory (paper items) or metadata spreadsheet (photographs) of your donation

4) Write up a summary. This could include: Biographies, timelines, historical context, noteworthy or special items in the collection, your associations with the materials. 

5) Get advice from us on how to proceed, or collaborate with us on planning your donation. Questions? Contact us at Ask a Librarian.