This post by the The Signal blog on the US Library of Congress website got me thinking about how we use storage…and if I am doing enough to preserve the content I create be it digital or even analog.
Today, we use local storage in our system for running applications, creating documents, editing videos or photos, etc., In addition, we may have additional external storage, or even cloud storage for:
- Organization: Categorizing storage device by member of the family, or content type: music, videos, etc.
- Mobilization: Having the ability to access files from anywhere at anytime.
- Protection: Backup…say no more.
What we don’t necessarily have is any storage dedicated to preservation.
The Signal blog describes the need as: “If we want any of these born digital objects to stick around, the ones created on a flatbed scanner or the ones created with a digital camera, we need to be thinking about digital preservation. Beyond the fact that digitization is not digital preservation, digitization always results in the creation of a new digital object. If we want to have any access to that new digital object in the future we need to be actively thinking about digital preservation.”
That goes for every photo developed and placed in photo albums (yes – 3 ring binders), every newspaper clipping of the Chicago Bulls run of 6 consecutive titles in the 90s, every report card, poem, drawing, painting, story, and book report my kids did in school. The scary thought is that I have not done any of this…most of this stuff in packed in waterproof plastic bins in the basement, or under some bed…not exactly the preservation we are talking about.
The challenge being…do I have the digital storage, much less the time to do it? I go back to the 12 months it took me to rip my CD collection one by one to MP3 years ago. I did it because, there was immediate benefit. Once digitized, I could access the music faster, and on almost any digital music device. But it wasn’t for preservation … I consider keeping the CDs my way of preserving my collection.
When it comes to the truly analog content…the report cards, artwork, newspaper headlines, etc. The benefit is not near term, it’s long term, and that is the dilemma. But if you think about what the future holds for making the effort, it sounds a whole lot more meaningful a project to start sooner. With digitally preserved content, we could give content a much longer lifespan…one that can be enjoyed by my kids’ kids. And that makes the effort and commitment worth it.
How have you digitally preserved your content?