Our digital lives are as much a part of us today as our physical lives. The most fundamental impulse that drives collecting institutions like archives, museums and libraries: memory. How do societies document evidence and information about the past in such a way that will be useful for their members in the present as well as for anyone at anytime in the future? How do families pass down their knowledge, experiences, histories and legends from one generation to the next? People have been successful at this endeavor for centuries and centuries. Different groups in different times have employed a diverse set of available technologies to communicate to future generations, including oral traditions, written traditions and documentary recording media (still images, sound recordings and moving images).
“We need to share stories; we need to write to each other, and about each other; and we need to record our voices and our likenesses. We cannot preserve everything. And not everything needs to be preserved. But the more we talk, the more we write and the more we document, the better chance some fragment of our expressions and experiences will make its way to our descendants.”
◉ Audio, Video, photos, emails, websites, documents
◉ Identify all your media – consider cameras, computers, phones and removable media such as memory cards. Include your videos on the Web.
◉ Identify personal e-mail accounts. Within each account, find all folders or other separate groupings of messages; include any "archived" messages.
◉ Personal websites and social media sites and services.
◉ Resumes, school papers, financial spreadsheets, presentation slides or other digital documents.
◉ You might also have digital copies of original hard copy documents such as letters, maps or family histories.
SELECT and unify under one roof
◉ Decide what is most important to you, which information characterizes you and what information has enduring value or information that has long-term value to you and your family.
◉ For information that may have enduring value. For this type of information it is important to decide which documents to save. Think about different versions, such as drafts and earlier copies. Drafts, for example, can provide important details that do not appear in final versions.
◉ If there are multiple versions of the same file save the highest quality version
◉ Digital audio save recordings in an open format.
◉ Digital Photos DO
◉ Use TIFF
◉ Save the highest possible resolution
◉ Digital Video Technical file quality is an important consideration for digital video. Save the highest quality versions of your videos along with good descriptive information about them.
◉ Videos that are posted on the Web are often grainy and have less information than the original version.
CREATE a consistent organizational structure.
◉ Metadata is information about the what, who, when, how, why and where regarding any given object, idea or event. Therefore, metadata plays an essential role in the personal/family archive.
◉ Create a main archive folder and title it something like, “My Archive.” If you want to organize your files further, create other folders inside the master folder and name them with simple titles such as “video,” “photos” or “documents.
◉ Label media properly and keep in secure locations (such as with important papers).
◉ Give individual videos descriptive file names.
Tag videos with names of people and descriptive subjects.
◉ Write a brief description of the directory structure and make at least a preliminary inventory of your files. Use a spreadsheet instead of a text document so that the data is standardized and can be imported into other formats
◉ Create a directory/folder structure on your hard drive that allows you to organize your images in a way that makes sense to you. Some examples are:
o Date-based: 2010/05
o Event-based: Vacations/New York City 2009
o Combination: 2010/05/New York City Vacation
◉ You cannot write on the back of a digital file, as we all know. But you can write in the digital file. And you can keep supplemental information about the digital file in spreadsheets and databases and other electronic forms. I think it is important that we all independently think about the methods through which we will share essential information about our digital collections with future generations.
NOT FORGOTTEN WILL MAKE COPIES IF YOU INCLUDE THIS
◉ Have at least two separate copies of your content on separate media—more copies are better.
◉ Use different kinds of media (USB, Cloud, DVDs, CDs, portable hard drives, thumb drives or Internet storage); use reputable vendors and products for the media
◉ One copy can stay on your computer or laptop; put other copies on separate media such as DVDs, portable hard drives, or Internet storage and store the extra copies in different geographic locations.
◉ Manage them in different places
◉ Store media copies in different locations that are as physically far apart as practical.
◉ If you are doing it yourself, give the copies to different people – or put one copy in your physical time capsule and copies to other people
◉ Create new archival media copies at least every five years to avoid data loss
◉ Set an opening date
◉ Get someone to apply password you don’t know