A few weeks ago we spoke about Family History Month and asked you to consider finding and digitising your family’s precious photographic memories. The question is – now that you’ve found them, digitised them – what do you do with them?
The beauty of digital is that you can share them. One of the team comes from a small village in the heart of Leicestershire and one of her friends founded a group on Facebook to share such pictures. We can forget about all those people we grew up with. Friend’s parents who looked out for us, fed us and sometimes let us stay over so we could share sleep overs with our best friends. “The village was so small it seemed like we were being looked after by everyone – everyone was “family” regardless of blood ties.”
Facebook of course, alongside Instagram have become the premier digital image sharing sites, but that doesn’t mean to say they will always be there. If we want our digital history to remain active we need to start looking at ways we can store these for the long term ourselves. So what does that mean exactly?
Computers and laptops are particularly vulnerable to data loss. If you keep your information on your hard drive and that computer gets lost or stolen, we have effectively lost our digital memory. As computers age or the hard drive gets full you also stand to lose your digital memory. While some may be recoverable, not everything can be, so it is a good idea to have a backup plan. Bear in mind this applies to everyone who has a computer, be it desk top or laptop. Especially those of you who take laptops out of the house. Small business owners are especially vulnerable, so it is an extremely good idea to have a backl up plan in place.
- Purchase an external hard drive. The number of images and files you have on your computer will depend how much storage you will require, but the larger external hard drives are relatively cheap and it is better to have too much storage space than not enough.
- Copy your files from your computer(s) onto your external hard drive. Unless you are short of space on your main computer you do not need to delete these files.
- Back up your back up. What do we mean by that? If you need to delete the files from your computer because a) you are replacing your computer or b) don’t have enough space we would suggest purchasing a second external hard drive and copying the files again. This provides you with added security for your digital history.
- Replace the backup drives periodically. Now that you have your external hard drive backed up, it is important to remember this will need replacing on a regular basis as well. Consider purchasing replacements for your external hard drives every few years and copying the files from the old backup to the new backup drives.
- Then store your backup in a safe place alongside your other vital records.