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Preserve Your Work! Academic Commons and Personal Digital Archiving

This guide provides information on depositing your work in Academic Commons and personal digital archiving practices.

Personal Digital Archiving

In addition to depositing your work in Academic Commons, or instead of depositing your work in Academic Commons, there are steps you can take to preserve your work for the future.

  • IDENTIFY: Take inventory of what you have. Identify all your digital photos, videos on cameras, computers, phones, and removable media such as memory cards; locate all digital document files on computers and removable media such as DVDs or thumb drives; locate all your content on the Web, including personal websites and social media sites and services.
  • DECIDE: Determine what is important for you to keep. If you have multiple versions, and it’s not important to record the process or development of the project, choose the version that is the highest and best quality. You can be as narrow or as wide as you want in your decision making process -- it’s YOUR personal digital archive
  • ORGANIZE: This is an important step to help you find and identify what you have! Make sure you utilize logical, descriptive, and consistent file names. You may want to include information like dates, capstone project title, and course title in your file name. For example: DancePerformanceB_DanceSeniorThesis_Spring2018.
  • MAINTAIN: Lots of copies keeps stuff safe! Make at least two copies of your selected information. Store copies in different locations that are as physically far apart as practical. If disaster strikes one location, the other copy of your important web content in the other place should be safe. For example, you can keep a copy on a hard drive, and upload a copy to a service like Google Drive or DropBox. Check your saved files at least once a year to make sure you can read and access them.


Why this is important:

  • You may want to save your work for a number of reasons:
    • To reflect back on your work, or share it with family and friends
    • To utilize your work for future publication or broadcast
    • To incorporate your work into graduate program or job applications
  • Digital materials are considered more fragile than physical ones. Machines and software used to read digital files can break or become obsolete. Also, the files themselves must be continually managed, and their longevity is unpredictable.

Barnard Archivist Martha Tenney is happy to talk with you about your personal digital archiving strategy!