Introduction to Personal Digital Archiving

Organizing your digital life one file at a time




Amid stay-at-home orders, many people have used their downtime to start organizing their collections of family photographs and documents. Everyone goes into these endeavors with the best intentions, but planning and executing these projects can wind up being a daunting undertaking.


To assist with these efforts, The Feminist Institute is launching a new series on personal digital archiving to help individuals properly scale and manage their digital information management projects. 


The term personal digital archiving refers to the methods in which individuals collect and manage their digital materials. Maintaining digital files is not as simple as throwing them in a shoebox and placing them in a closet. Digital content is inherently ephemeral: easy to create but even simpler to lose or destroy over time. Evolving technology makes digital files obsolete and unusable on an increasingly quick timetable.


Throughout this series, we will be covering the entire personal digital archiving records lifecycle, including:

  • Digitizing analog photographs and documents with long-term preservation in mind

  • Archiving websites, email, and social media data

  • Working with analog and born-digital audiovisual media

  • Organizing and describing born-digital content

  • Proper digital storage practices


Our ethos throughout this series is to present actions that are simple and manageable for a home archive. From file formats to storage options, we want to ensure that our recommendations are accessible to all.


By tackling this process throughout the records lifecycle, your digital content should be able to pass the test of time. 



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