Michael Church, Digital Initiatives Coordinator for the Kansas State Historical Society, spoke on the importance of managing and archiving personal digital content. Michael Church earned an undergraduate degree in English Literature, but it was a love of history that took him to a master’s degree and an archivist job with the State of Utah. His work at the Kansas State Historical Society includes the Kansas Memory photo archive and the nationally recognized digital collection of Kansas newspapers.
Paper records often require less preservation attention, but personal records are particularly vulnerable if steps are not taken to preserve them. Digital records must be located and identified, with the most important being tagged for preservation. Files should be constructed and saved with multiple copies. Files should be identified by name, date and other pertinent information. Multiple copies should be made for the computer, CD, DVD, thumb drive or internet storage. Check those files once a year and copy to new media every five years.
Michael Church recommends using an extended drive that can automatically back up your records to the cloud. There are numerous sites that identify and evaluate cloud services. Various resources on digital preservation are available through the work of the Kansas State Historical Records Advisory Board, of which our own Audrey Coleman is a member. Individuals may also obtain assistance from local computer businesses. Protecting your valuable digital records can be accomplished with some planning and diligence.