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Traditional film and digital photographs of all types can acquire high financial or sentimental value, but they are all too easily damaged or destroyed by inappropriate or careless storage and handling. However, when stored and cared for in the correct manner, their lives can be extended well beyond the natural human lifespan.

The measures taken to preserve images inevitably depend upon the media on which they are based and the purpose and size of the collection. Most collections have large stocks of film-based images but may now also be accumulating digital material. Situations such as this raise numerous questions. While film-based images have a physical presence and well-established preservation regimes, digital storage techniques are still evolving and undoubtedly leave important questions unanswered.

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