Everyone has digital files, but making sure they're still usuable in 5 or 10 years is a challenge. Based on the Digital Preservation curriculum from the Library of Congress, this presentation will illustrate ways in which we can ensure our files remain accessible. It breaks the process down into six steps with an eye towards long term, digital preservation of personal files. Though aimed at university faculty, the presentation is accessible to all.
Where are your documents?
Locate all of your photos, manuscripts, notes
Camera, computers, memory cards, flash
drives, web sites (Dropbox, etc)
What other kinds of things are important
E-mails, research data, portfolio
Which are important to save?
Pick the most important
Which things have long term value?
Do not keep everything
Space and time are limited
Metadata? What’s that?
Label your files
Descriptive file names are best
Tag photos with names, places, or other
Use meaningful folder structures
What kind of files do you have?
Lossy vs. lossless images
Open vs proprietary format
txt files vs. Word documents
Common File Types
JPEG – Compressed format, lossy but smaller
PDF – Stores all text, fonts, graphics, etc need
to display a file
TXT – File made up mostly of plain text
MP3 – Compressed, lossy format for audio files
MP4 – Common multimedia file format for
Other File Types
PST – Data file for Microsoft Outlook
PAGES – File created by Apple Pages
JPEG 2000 – Lossless, good archival format
TIFF – uncompressed & lossless but large
Get Things Organized
Create a meaningful directory structure for
Group like things together
How will you want to find things in the future?
Record the structure and a description of the
items in writing
Keep Things Organized
Start now and be diligent in the future
Gradually deal with your backlog
Make a commitment to yourself
Choose A Storage Medium
External hard drives
Cloud storage services (Amazon S3, Azure
Storage, etc) → requires third party software
What is NOT a Backup
Automated Cloud Backup
Package deal – storage and a program to
Allows for easy off-site backup
Many options to choose from
Protecting Your Data
LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe)
Where is everything stored?
Keep track of backup copies
Protecting Your Data (Cont’d)
At what intervals are backups made?
How are files organized?
Incremental backup or complete?
Store the inventory list with your important
papers in a secure place
Automated Cloud Backup
Test the system
Look at the details when signing up
Do you have access to the original files?
What about encryption?
The Bottom Line
Have a plan
Test to see if you can restore
Sharing your files
Create access copy, preserve original
CD/flash drive fine as a transport medium
Email not so great…
Can share large files via cloud service
Rights and Management
• Consider copyright issues
• May be a concern with manuscripts
Moving from analog to digital
Consider scanning old files for access and
Create directory structure before you embark
A little planning goes a long way
Scanning your analog images
Use appropriate resolution
Save as TIFF for an archival image
JPEG 2000 also acceptable as master
After you scan
Master files and derivative images
Do not do adjustments on your archival files
Work on a copy. Always.
Use precision controls when possible
Consider a Commercial Service
Ensures professional quality
Do research and compare services
Make conscious choices
Don’t keep things you don’t need
A little organization goes a long way
Think through process from beginning
• Library of Congress Personal Archiving;
• File Info Extension Database - http://fileinfo.com/
• US Copyright Office - http://www.copyright.gov/
• Cornell Legal Information Institute (Intellectual
Property section) -
Questions and Discussion