Workbook on Digital Private Papers > Appendics > Guidelines for creators of personal archives

Guidelines for creators of personal archives

Eleven top tips for preserving your personal data

  ACTION KEY INFORMATION FREQUENCY
1 Name and file appropriately Develop meaningful and concise filenaming conventions.
Establish a version control system.
Make your files self-documenting.
Ongoing
2 Manage your emails Select your email client and webmail service carefully.
Follow guidelines on managing your emails effectively.
Ongoing
3 Select suitable formats and software Use formats that are open, published, standards supported by multiple applications.
Use applications that enable you to use these open formats.
Ongoing
4 Back up files Decide what should be backed up.
Design a simple backup routine.
Make copies on removable media.
Store a copy offsite.
If online backup/synchronisation services appeal, decide which to use carefully.
Weekly
5 Look after your hardware and media Replace your hardware before it fails.
Keep hardware/media clean and cool.
Treat removable media with care.
Invest in an Uninterruptible Power Supply.
Ongoing
5 year hardware replacement cycle
6 Administer your system Ensure files are backed up before updating hardware and software.
Ensure anti-virus software is installed and updated regularly.
Beware of badware.
Ongoing
7 Consider using passwords and encryption devices Use passwords or encryption devices to protect data on laptops and removable media.
Consider using a password safe to collate data about all your passwords and encryption keys.
At point of record creation - review regularly
8 Be aware of intellectual property and privacy Respect the intellectual property of others.
Look after your own and others' privacy.
Ongoing
9 Keep up to date Keep in contact with digital archivists who can update you on developments in digital preservation.
Stay aware of technical trends; evolve your digital environment but be aware of potential effects on your archive.
Ongoing
10 Handling legacy digital files Ensure records are readable and data is accessible.
Undertake background research and conduct a record survey.
Consult a digital archivist for advice on difficult material
Case by case as needed
11 Ask digital archivists for advice Don't just rely on generic guidelines; seek advice from digital archivists.
Think about where you might deposit your archive in the future.
As required