Monday, July 8, 2013

How to preserve your digital footprint

This is a 2-minute audio file from the Marriage of Figaro, Mozart's opera.

The file is from Wikimedia Commons.  It came from a wax cylinder recording at The University of California, Santa Barbara. It is one example of digital preservation.

What is a digital footprint?  It is the zeros and ones of your social media accounts, emails, Wikipedia edits, ebooks, etc.  Maybe you have posted "I miss you" on the Facebook account of a deceased friend.  The links below might help you understand what your digital footprint encompasses, as well as plan ahead to help friends and family know what to find, look for, or close down upon death.

The US Library of Congress lists 50 (fifty!) activities to select for exploring your digital footprint.

If time and training are not part of your current plans, this link is a single page of minimal precautions anyone can be aware of when first considering vintage or extant items.

A Book Conservator at the US National Archives

The US Library of Congress is reliable resource for information on preservation.  Whether you are techno-savvy and ready to watch a video or want to print the PDF to share with a techno-avoider, try these resources.

This is a page of videos, how-to sheets, and webliographies (more websites):
I was impressed with the breadth of coverage, including how to preserve emails, digital videos, digital photographs, and other sorts of personal digital records.

This page is the launching point for three different aspects of preservation:
If you are visiting family, these provide useful talking points for heirlooms or activities to help younger generations connect with elders.  The three areas are
  • Collections Care, 
  • Emergency Preparedness, and 
  • Make a Family Time Capsule/Scrapbook/Album.  

AIC logo
If you are ready to jump into the deep end of the conservation pool, the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works has guides for you.
This list offers printable (or web-enhanced) instruction based on the type of material, format, media, or content, from architecture to fiber, furniture to glass.  This site also refers conservators to do the work for you.

Let us know if you have any questions about preserving your family history.

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