The tips below were included in a presentation by Jack Latimer at the Community Archives Conference 2009. They are based on advice from Heather Needham, the Principal Archivist (ICT & e-services) at Hampshire Archives and Local Studies.
- Create more than one copy of your digital files
- Store the copies on more than one different carrier (CD, hard drive)
- Store the copies in different physical locations
- CDs need refreshing every five years, so copy all files across onto a new CD and carry out a spot check on (say) 5 files
- Give files sensible names – or organise them into folders with sensible names
- If you get new software, check that your existing files are still accessible
- If you wish to archive a website, there are free web archiving tools available (for example, from the from UK Web Archive)
- If you are preserving ‘born digital’ material (for example, a document that was originally typed into a computer), decide whether to keep only in digital form or print it out. In some cases, print-outs may have a longer shelf-life.
The presentation also introduced the Community Archives Cataloguing Guidelines.