Monday, October 10, 2016

Happy Electronic Records Day

10 reasons why electronic records need special attention

In recognition of Electronic Records Day 2016, here is a list of reasons
why everyone should be thinking more about electronic records.

1. Managing electronic records is like caring for a perpetual toddler: they need regular attention and care in order to remain accessible.

2. Electronic records can become unreadable very quickly.  While records on paper have been read after thousands of years, digital files can be virtually inaccessible after just a few.

3. Scanning paper records is not the end of the preservation process: it is the beginning.  Careful planning for ongoing management expenses must be involved as well.

4. There are no permanent storage media.  Hard drives, CDs, magnetic tape or any other storage formats will need to be tested and replaced on a regular schedule.  Proactive management is required to avoid catastrophic loss of records.

5. The lack of a “physical” presence can make it very easy to lose track of electronic records.  Special care must be taken to ensure they remain in controlled custody and do not get lost in masses of other data.

6. It can be easy to create copies of electronic records and share them with others, but this can raise concerns about the authenticity of those records.  Extra security precautions are needed to ensure e-records are not altered inappropriately.

7. The best time to plan for electronic records preservation is when they are created.  Don’t wait until software is being replaced or a project is ending to think about how records are going to be preserved.

8. No one system you buy will solve all your e-records problems. Despite what vendors say, there’s no magic bullet that will manage and preserve your e-records for you.

9. Electronic records can help ensure the rights of the public through greater accessibility than ever before, but only if creators, managers and users all recognize their importance and contribute resources to their preservation.

10. While they may seem commonplace now, electronic records will form the backbone of the historical record for researchers of the future.

Remember, archivists are here to help you tackle these difficult problems.  Contact your state, local or college archives to find out what they are working towards and what they need in order to make sure that electronic records remain accessible for generations to come!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Google Calendar: Goals launched

Announcement from the Goolge blog:

An article about Google Goals on Fortune:

Apparently Goals haven't hit my device yet, but I look forward to testing them out. Are you using Google Calendar Goals yet? If so, what do you think?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Happy World Backup Day

Don't be an April Fool.

Be prepared. Back up your files on March 31st.
harddrive failure
(image: Jon Ross)

What is backup?

A backup is a second copy of all your important files — for example, your family photos, home videos, documents and emails.
Instead of storing it all in one place (like your computer), you keep another copy of everything somewhere safe. 


see also:

World Backup Day highlights importance of protecting data

Friday, March 25, 2016

When We Are No More: How Digital Memory Is Shaping Our Future/Washinton Post

Interesting Washington Post opinion piece by Nicholas Carr about the book "When We Are No More: How Digital Memory Is Shaping Our Future" by Abby Smith Rumsey.

When our digital memory is lost in the cloud, what becomes of our human history?

I'll post this here now in hopes of developing more of my own commentary soon. Please feel free to comment with your thoughts on the article.

A couple parts that interest me:

“A physical connection between the present and past is wondrously forged through the medium of time-stained paper,” she writes. But that “distinctive visceral connection” with history may be much diminished, if not lost, when our cultural heritage is stored in sterile databases rather than in actual objects.
Rumsey is clear about the dangers of our “ephemeral digital landscape,” but she isn’t a doomsayer. She believes that we can protect our cultural legacy for our descendants, even if that legacy ends up mainly in the form of immaterial bits. But, she stresses, we’ll first need to overcome our complacency and start taking the long-term protection of valuable data seriously. We’ll need a reinvigorated system of libraries and archives, spanning the public, private and nonprofit sectors, that are adept at digital preservation.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Do your Digital Records have an Expiration Date? (from

Came across an article today. Nothing new for those in the digital preservation trenches, but a good reminder or wake up call. 

Do your Digital Records have an Expiration Date?

from the article: preservation is now moving up the corporate agenda as senior executive stakeholders realize that storage on its own is not enough. As more “born digital” content is produced every day, requirements get more complex, and the need for organization-wide digital preservation strategies becomes greater.

The article mentions the "tipping-point” for accessing digital data is around 10 years.
   I would suggest an evaluation of the state of your digital media/data every two to three years, if it has become inaccessible in 10 years then 10 years is too long to wait.