Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.
The word "scrapbook" is a noun typically referring to an album or notebook used to display and keep photos, clippings, and other memorabilia. In the past decade or so, the word "scrapbooking" has come into use as a verb, referring the act or method of preserving personal and family history through scrapbooks. The emphasis on preservation is key, and the use of archivally safe materials is encouraged to store and display items of memorabilia. Today, digital scrapbooking has come into vogue, using computers to scan (digitize) items of memorabilia, along with graphical design software and digital "materials" to create scrapbook pages and albums, bypassing entirely the need for physical albums, papers, etc.
For family history researchers, scrapbooks are one way organizing and preserving items of memorabilia that contribute context to a life story; items and information that may not be documented elsewhere. Historically, scrapbooks have been known to contribute valuable data to genealogy research, pinpointing individuals in time and place, establishing relationships, or resolving unanswered questions. There are pros and cons to both physical and digital scrapbooking, which researchers should carefully investigate to ensure preservation of data that can be handed down through the generations.