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Tips on digital preservation

From the Community Archives Conference 2009

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.

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