Digital materials require active intervention if we want to be able to use them over time. Technology is constantly changing, digital files are at risk because of accidental deletion or disaster. Having a preservation plan can help avoid data loss. "Do what makes the most sense to you to manage your own digital materials. Even if it’s not practical for you to follow all of these steps, any amount of effort to preserve your digital material is better than none!"
- Identify: What digital materials do you want to save?
- Gather: Where are the digital files you want to keep? Gather all of the files you want to save onto one hard drive. Makes copies of them on other devices.
- Select: Decide what you want to keep.
- Organize: Know what the files are and where to find them. Descriptive information will help. Give the files meaningful names group files together.
- Back-up Storage: After the files are gathered and organized, back them up. Follow the 3-2-1 Rule: Make 3 copies and 2 additional copies of all the files. Use 2 different types of storage media, such as an external hard drive or in cloud storage. Put one of the copies in a different location from the other 2 copies.
- Check the files periodically to make sure they are still usable, especially right after you back them up.
- Update your long-term digital storage to a new storage device every 5–7 years, as significant upgrades in technology occur.