What Do You Do with Your Photos?

Thesis Notebook and Notes by Natalie Parker

Three years ago, I became a graduate student.

I’m nearing the end of my journey to become an archivist / information scientist and I’ve shared small bits with you along the way.  I’m finished with my coursework and am working at how to top it all off so they’ll give me a diploma.  At this moment, I’m working on a research proposal.

Should I Write a Thesis?

A thesis isn’t mandatory to finish my program, but I found a topic that I’m really curious about.  I never ever ever thought I would be interested in original research.

A thesis is a lot of work.  That work would take me from this space more often and prevent me from doing other projects and things in my personal life.  Being constrained by school these last three years really makes me grumpy, no matter what I’m studying.  It hasn’t been easy — I am still working full time, pursuing my creative passions, and committing to writing here.

On the other hand, I am really interested in this topic and I feel like not pursuing it would be shortchanging myself.  Who knows where it will lead?  Not doing something because it’s hard isn’t the person I want to be.

What’s the Topic?

I’ve been studying personal digital archiving.  I want to study what people want to do with their photos.  I’ve done enough research to know that people are losing their digital belongings all the time.  But, research is starting to show that no matter how much we value these digital belongings and how much we know that we need to get organized so nothing gets lost, we aren’t doing anything about it.  In other words, you can’t shame someone into taking care of their stuff.  Saving everything doesn’t work either (at least not with current software).  I wonder if we can take a different approach and figure out what people want and taking that information to make the situation better.

What Does this Have to Do With the Blog?

I’ve been so amazed how everything I learn at school relates back to memory keeping.  You can even say my degree is in memory keeping.  I’ve shared what acid free paper means, the deterioration of paper, how the value of our memories is directly related to their accessibility, and more.  I’m going to keep taking bits and pieces and sharing them with you when I think they can help us learn how to be better memory keepers.

Plus, I’m trying to inject a little more of myself in this space.  I usually don’t talk about decisions until after they are made.  But, I figured I’d tell the internet so it would keep me honest when I decide.

Click here to read all of my archives-related posts.

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6 thoughts on “What Do You Do with Your Photos?

  1. What a cool thing to study! I also want to know what you finally decide on. In sort of related news, I’m about to launch a “guided project” starting January 1 for people to get a plan together to organize and back up their digital photos. Details here: http://papercraftlaboratory.com/getstarted/146pop-14-day-photo-organization-project

    If you want to chat more or it’s relevant to your possible thesis topic, let me know 🙂

    • Cool! I’d be really interested to see how the project turns out and the sentiment of people coming into the course. The helplessness feeling is pretty universal with this problem.

  2. I say go for the thesis…but that’s probably for purely selfish reasons in that I would be very interested to learn what you find out! Good luck with your decision. Whatever decision you make is the right decision.

    • Thanks Stephanie! Any and all encouragement is appreciated! I did just receive some good comments back on a draft proposal, so it’s looking promising.

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