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Seeking ideas for organizing, storing and preserving digital files and photos — The Grow Network Community
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Seeking ideas for organizing, storing and preserving digital files and photos

shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,461 ✭✭✭✭

I am of a generation that witnessed the rise of computers and digital information. I have incorporated digital media into my life and started thinning my book collection, etc. (I still have a large collection of books, CDs and DVDs.)

Hard copy books and photos are still easier to organize and will preserve the information that they contain. Digital documents can presumably be purchased or downloaded again; family photos that are digital can be lost forever if the storage device gets damaged.

I have burned lots of files to DVDs but keeping track of a digital world that changes daily can be near impossible.

Have any of you found a method to preserve digital information that is traceable, organized and easy to maintain?

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Comments

  • KarinKarin New ZealandPosts: 272 ✭✭✭

    I'm not sure there is one! As digital media keep changing as new stuff gets developed, and then anything you have stored on older types can't then be accessed. Remember the old floppy disks? As cumbersome as it seems, and it takes up a lot of room, paper will still survive (barring fire and beetle or mice damage) for hundreds of years. Not sure if a CD/DVD or USB stick will be able to beat that!

  • Vicky M.Vicky M. Posts: 74 ✭✭✭

    I hear you! Looking for a solution to this problem too as I have a bounty of valuable information on medicinal herbs & gardening that I don't want to lose & my pc is already telling me there is no space for more. Would love to find a way to keep my pictures and files safe & available for easy reference.

  • Lisa KLisa K Posts: 469 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I use two methods besides my C drive and that is OneDrive and I have an external Drive which is something like 1 Terabite.

  • Annie KateAnnie Kate Eastern Ontario, CanadaPosts: 398 ✭✭✭

    @Lisa K Yes, my daughter also said to use an external hard drive. But really important stuff goes on paper, for me. Just in case.

  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,461 ✭✭✭✭

    @Lisa K @Annie Kate I have used external drives in the past. We tried to keep to a monthly backup. How do you schedule your backups?

    I am considering using an online backup service, but I admit to having privacy concerns. I don't keep anything too personal, but possibly passwords or financial info could get captured by a backup service.

    I so have to get some of those digital photos printed!

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 416 ✭✭✭

    If you find a good system be sure to let me know. I am printing off anything that I would need in paper form as insurance if the grid goes down. You might look into some genealogy websites as they are always trying to come up with better systems to save their old family photos etc.

  • siobhanashmolesiobhanashmole Posts: 35 ✭✭✭

    My university is based online and we do online portfolios for our permaculture courses. We have a whole module on 'Resilient Documentation'. It covers online and offline scenarios (i.e. most convenient vs worst case the whole internet is shut down). More meant for work you produce yourself but could be adapted to books etc. Here's the basic guidelines:

    (this is a bit overkill, but it's basically what you need to do if you're writing a book or thesis and don't want to loose your life work)


    • Have at least the following storage spaces organised: Files on your computer, files on an external harddrive, files on a cloud service (google drive, one drive etc), offline print filing. For additional security have an SSD hard drive (resistant to drops and magnetic damage) or and a private server/safe in a separate location (so if your home burns down or is robbed you have backups in another location).
    • Save multiple copies of important work / essential documentation. At least one online and one offline, preferably one to an external hard drive. When work is completed have at least 3 print copies, keep 1 at a separate property/safe/storage unit.
    • Save files in neutral formats. Use ODF, PDF and RTF as opposed to Word.doc, Mac and propriety file formats. If Microsoft upgrades or goes under, your files may become unreadable on newer technology. Save photos in PNG and JPEG.
    • Use at least 1 cloud backup service. If all of your electronics crash, you will have the most important things saved. (I have Google backup installed on my computer and it updates my Google Drive daily based on the folders I specify. So if I'm working on some writing I will only loose max 1 days work even if everything crashes! For me it has to be automated or I don't do it. I don't store anything sensitive like ID docs there, only work and education things).
    • Print out what is most valuable to you. Printing and binding coursework is quite affordable really, you could make multiple copies and have one kept in a safe location away from your home. Also books are less likely to be stolen than electronics. (If the internet is down this is the way you want to have it, especially with herbal and survival books. If you have a bug out or family home you imagine you might go to in a disaster, have two copies of stuff for each location).
    • Email yourself and a few trusted family members anything vital. (Especially for books and writing this is a backup which has saved me as it's searchable and if I'm locked out of my accounts, someone else has access. Also important for copyright if we're talking about your own work. )
    • Download course content, articles and videos you use as references. If the website goes down you want these stored offline.

    In terms of actual organisation, I tend to organise first my media type (books, videos, audio) because in a squeeze I will delete all my video and audio before my photos and books. I then organise by topic so herbalism, homesteading, my work etc. My own writing is prioritised as it's likely the only copy whereas other books I could source again. Then if I still have lots of content, it's organised by year (photos especially this is helpful).


    Sorry for the lengthy post but I've thought a lot about this and lost too much due to theft and water damage. Hope it helps!

  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,461 ✭✭✭✭

    @siobhanashmole Thanks for the comprehensive information. I was pretty sure that I would need to treat my files like those of a business.

    I especially like the idea of copying the files to someone else, thus having a copy with another person and in your e-mail system.

    Maybe it is my age, but the old hard copy world was simpler if more bulky.

  • Lisa KLisa K Posts: 469 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2020

    @shllnzl once I finish or download entire course I then move & copy to OneDrive and the external drive, for recipes (which I have many) I keep them on OneDrive and keep my own creations on the C drive and external drive. Other than that I try at least once a month to clean and move old files. As for photos that I take most are kept on OneDrive and the ones I use for this Forum and my FB blog, once I post them they get moved to OneDrive and the external drive.

  • Annie KateAnnie Kate Eastern Ontario, CanadaPosts: 398 ✭✭✭

    @shllnzl @siobhanashmole @Lisa K

    Thank you all so much! I have recently gotten a new computer and need to schedule backups again, also for my new phone's photos.

    We homeschool and for years I've been emailing high school records to myself and the relevant child, just in case. And I'm writing a book (or was before garden season) and I send that to myself as well.

    I still have trouble with passwords etc; I write them down and photocopy them for another place, but they are all in our home; I've been considering a safety deposit box.

  • dipat2005dipat2005 Posts: 327 ✭✭✭

    There are back up drives available to store your files, documents and pictures. That is what I have used. Everyone seems to have different ideas and that is great. There are also family history websites that welcome pictures, documents and the like. You can share with your family and others. There are also privacy laws attached to these sites. I have my family stories, pictures and important documents and other tidbits stored on a family history website. To me it is important to share with my family and other cousins in my family.

  • Lisa KLisa K Posts: 469 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Annie Kate you are very welcome. when I went to work at one of my last jobs they had passwords for everything! So I created an excel spreadsheet and added a password now I only need to remember that one password plus I can make crazy passwords that are considered strong 😊

  • HearthForYouHearthForYou Southern CaliforniaPosts: 52 ✭✭✭

    @shllnzl @siobhanashmole @dipat2005 Thanks for your question and respective ideas! I'm happy to see this thread. I'm trying to figure out how to condense or get rid of my storage unit. This gives me some ideas I hadn't thought of.

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