Twenty-first century genealogists are, broadly speaking, 20th-century adults. They may be taking smartphone pictures of their youngest family members or have grown accustomed to searching databases such as Ancestry.com and FamilySearch, but they remember a time before iPhones and the Internet. In many cases, these family historians have created or inherited a mixed bag of meaningful physical and digital objects: scrapbooks, photographs, birth certificates, and videocassettes -- but also JPEGs, MP3 recordings, and MPEG-4 cat videos. Thanks to the plethora of blogs, magazines, and television shows geared toward the amateur genealogist, many have also inherited a sense of pending doom and a vague notion of the importance of preservation. Some even wrestle with a newer, headier word: digitization. Angela Stanley, then the head of archives and special collections, observed the need for public education in the field of what the Library of Congress has dubbed "personal digital preservation" and for individualized assistance in converting analog media to digital.
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