Keeping all those digital files organized can be quite a chore. Thousands of photographs, hundreds of movie and audio clips will take up a LOT of hard drive space. How are your media files organized? Are you storing them on numerous USB Flash devices? (NOT a good thing) Where do you store them? Are the USB Hard Drives well labeled?
Organization: Think about the old metal file cabinets with the file folders and subfolders. Most people may just stuff papers into any drawer in no particular order. Later, those people need to pull up information stored in those file cabinets / drawers. Where do they start looking? Those papers are in there, but are not easily retrievable. How do you organize your digital files? Are they scattered all over your hard drive? Are they kept in many different folders? By not keeping your files more centralized, and in searchable folders, they will not be easy to find, nor can you be assured that they are being backed up.
What file types are your files saved in? Microsoft Word, Rich Text Format, WordPerfect, or other? Realize that software companies come and go, as will be the ability to open their proprietary saved file formats. It would be a shame to not be able to open your files 10-20 years from now. Years ago, WordStar was THE premier word processing program. Within about 10 years, it ceased to exist. Today, you would no longer be able to open up the word processing documents.
It is always the best preservation practice to use the current day standards, which for example is Microsoft Word for word processing. However, ANY program that will also allow you to EXPORT to a PDF format is also an option. PDF files, also called Portable Document Format, is a format that can be opened and read by a host of different PDF type applications. The Church also allows you to upload these PDF files. If, for example you wrote the original document in a Word file, and later down the years wanted to correct or changes some items in your document, you would have to use Word (or similar apps that can read Word files), to create these changes and then export the file again to a PDF.
DVDs were once thought to be a great archival media for saving files, after all you could store a "whopping" 4.7 gigabytes of information on them. However, they can deteriorate quickly and become unusable at some time, even after the first year. Hopefully you are not storing your backups on USB Flash Drives. They were never meant to be used for storage of file backups. Hard drives of 500 gb size are now considered small in size. How are you going to store all of your files? Are you prepared for a hard drive crash?
The odds are that most of your digital photos & documents will never be seen by your grandchildren, if you are the typical person. There is an interesting article on this written by a man whose grandfather was Popeye. That is because this process of "BACKING UP" is not well managed or is forgotten. It is not an issue of "IF my computer crashes", but "WHEN my computer crashes". Even new hard drives can crash within a month of use, though most will last for a few years. Storage devices wear out and have to be replaced often.
• Have you developed a plan to keep your files always backed up?
• Is it an automatic backup?
• Have you checked to see that the backup service is actually backing up? (the system services can just shut off)
• What if your computer and backups are stolen, or destroyed in a fire or flood?
• Do you have an offsite backup?
• Do you have a family member that is responsible to be the "backup person" in your family? How are you going to make sure that the photos continue to be maintained after you are gone?
"Cloud Drives" are a great way to SHARE information with others. By simply sharing a "LINK" with others, they can view the photos, stories, videos, audio recordings, histories, etc, that are located on your cloud drive. "Permissions" such as "view only", or "editing" can be assigned to different people. You may have some family members also contributing the photos, etc to the cloud drive, and so, would give them permission to "edit" or contribute to the files.
"Cloud Drives" are also a great part of your BACKUP strategy.
How you organize your files is important! Can you imagine having your files scattered all over your hard drive, or stored on different flash drives? How do you ensure that they are safely backed up?
Find a strong filing system strategy for your files. An example is shown below.
Tip: If you place the YEAR at the front of the folder names & filenames, these items will be sorted numerically.