Erin’s post “Digital Materiality and the LoC” about her experience talking with local librarians and her find on the Library of Congress’s site “Why Digital Preservation is Important for Everyone” became my springboard. I went in search of a resource about “digital materiality” that helps individuals (and very small groups) learn the nuances of archiving. I particularly wanted to find something that was designed for beginners, non-digital natives, and people who have slipped through the digital divide.
The Library of Congress, in their Digital Preservation initiative, has a Personal Archiving section. (I found all this thanks to Erin’s post mentioned above.) The Library of Congress breaks their how-to down into five basic steps on their “Preserving Digital Memories” poster:
- “Identify what you want to save”
- “Decide what is most important to you”
- “Organize the content”
- “Make copies and manage them in different places”
- “Manage your archive over time”
The last two steps about making copies and managing the archive are simple, but I argue only “common sense” to people at home in digital culture. (The visual design of the poster is not as effective as possible, but the content is very useful.)
One reason personal archiving is important on a larger scale is libraries, nonprofits, and museums heavily rely on them for things such as genealogy and local history. In academia, when personal archives disappear we loose an important resource.