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

Guidelines for creators of personal archives

Caring for your personal digital archive

Archivists often become involved with a personal archive after the retirement, or even death, of its creator. A paper-based personal archive can be left untouched for generations with little impact on its future viability; as long as the material is simply arranged and suitably stored it can be used effectively over many decades. The same cannot be said for the increasing amount of material that now exists solely in digital form. The long-term viability of unmanaged digital material is uncertain, and efforts to keep material accessible in the medium-term can be frustrated by hardware, software and media degradation and obsolescence.

Time is of the essence. The fragility of digital materials in our fast moving world is well documented. To ensure continued access to your digital materials in your own lifetime and to pass these digital materials on to future generations, you need to act now.

To maximise the chances of your digital material surviving for as long as you need it, it is important to learn new ways of managing that material. This document aims to assist you in doing just that, by providing practical advice that can be implemented by anyone.