Considerations for Storing Digital Files
What to Store
- Unique, irreplaceable files
- Files that constitute a personal record
- Files you will want to refer back to or use again
- Files you created and own
How to Store
- Multiple copies in multiple locations
- Files are less likely to be lost if there are multiple copies on different storage media. Suggested number of copies ranges from two to six.
- In the event of a disaster, having copies of files in multiple physical locations can prevent permanent loss.
Where to Store
- External hard drives - spinning disk or flash memory
- Cloud storage services
- Network attached storage
Questions to Ask
- How many files do I have?
- How much storage space do I need?
- How many copies do I want?
- How much am I willing to spend on storage media and services?
- How much technical expertise do I need for the storage media or service I'm choosing?
- Do I need to be able to access these files frequently and easily, or only every now and then?
- Are these files required legally or for a specific length of time?
Considerations for Protecting Digital Files
Threats to Digital Content
- Everyday loss - accidental deletion, losing a flash drive, computer crash, etc.
- Content degradation - damage to digital materials over time, "bit rot"
- Security and privacy
Considerations for Protecting Digital Content
- Know where content is located - onsite and offsite; online and offline
- Know who has (or could gain) access to it
- Write-protection for your files
- Protecting your files from physical theft
- Clean up your digital footprint
- Full deletion of disk when changing storage media
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Guide to resources and archival concepts discussed during IAPril presentation by Kari Smith, Digital Archivist, MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections. 27 April 2012.
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Resource companion to the IAP January 2013 presentation and demonstration of Tagging and Finding Your Digital Files, presented by MIT Institute Archives staff Mikki Macdonald and Kari Smith.
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