We once kept our own histories by saving photos, papers and letters in boxes and books. Now we protect them with #personaldigitalarchiving
While the campus activists of the past used paper fliers and documents to effect change, today's students use digital records and social media accounts to share their message and organize communities. UNC Charlotte's Special Collections and University Archives is developing methods that can be used to collect, preserve and share these "born-digital" records, including records created on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. UNC Charlotte's Special Collections and University Archives has also launched a program to teach digital archiving skills to individual students as well as clubs and organizations. Personal digital archiving workshops aim to give individuals skills and strategies for preserving digital records, so that they will be available for the historians, students and activists of the future.
Getting started with personal digital archiving can seem challenging. Here are four easy steps for managing and preserving your digital files.
1. Identify what you have and where it's stored. Take an inventory of what types of files you have and where your digital materials are stored, including social media platforms. Then figure out how much of it you have.
2. Decide what is important (and what is not). It's so easy to create lots of digital content, but perhaps only a small amount is good quality and unique. Deciding what you want to keep and what can be deleted is an important piece of managing your own digital records.
3. Organize your files! Create a folder called "My Archive" and start organizing your files there. Use descriptive sub-folders and file names to help you. Some files may need special software or will need to be exported from third-party platforms. This might take some research.
4. Save at least two copies of files in different places: one on a drive that you use often and the other on a backup storage device that you don't often access. You can use portable hard drives or cloud storage services, but make sure to check in every few years to make sure your files can still be opened. Remember, LOCKSS: Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe!