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Personal Digital Archiving : Home

Digital objects deteriorate and require consistent care. Learn how to take care of your born-digital materials through these resources.

Keeping Your Information Secure

This encryption software will help with your personal data.

The Basics

This list is compiled and adapted from information by Phil Michel, Digital Conversion Coordinator from the Prints & Photographs Division of the Library of Congress and Vassar Digital Library:

1.   Identify where you have your information.  

2.   Decide what is important to you.

3.   Get organized. Designate folders for certain types of materials or events.

4.   Make copies of your data.

5.   Understand the trade-offs of placing objects in various websites, etc., and what is helping you accomplish digital preservation.

6.   Embed extractable metadata whenever possible.

The 3-2-1 rule

  • Make three copies
  • Have at least two of the copies on two different types of media
  • Keep one copy in a different location from where you live / work

Storage options: Your BMC H drive, an external hard drive, cloud services (Dropbox, Google Drive). Getting into the habit of backing up your photos (and all of your born-digital materials) to different media regularly will be a lifelong skill.


Come up with a clean and consistent way to name your files. Filenames should never have special characters (%$*@) or spaces. Stick with underscores and dashes (_ or -) if you need gaps. Stick with the system. Check out this great guide to Cross-Platform Naming Conventions by Megan Clark at the Help Desk.


Tag or develop metadata (description) for your files so they will be easily retrievable later on. 


It’s good to manage things yourself. Storage in the cloud or a third party company has no guarantees. Make them one of the options for backups. Stay organized, save multiple copies in multiple places, and refresh your media.


Georgia Archivists Resource

Document includes:

Part I: The What and the Why of Personal Digital Archiving
Part II: The Landscape of Digital Records
Part III: Best Practices for Creating Personal Digital Records
Part IV: Ownership and Copyright of Personal Digital Records
Part V: Privacy and Security of Personal Digital Records
Part VI: Best Practices for Storing Personal Digital Records
Part VII: Best Practices for Access and Ongoing Management of Personal Digital Records
Part VIII: Best Practices for the Digital Afterlife
Digital Preservation Illustrations

Subject Guide

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Allison Mills
Special Collections, Canaday Library, Bryn Mawr College

Subject Guide

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Sarah Horowitz
Special Collections, Magill Library

(610) 896-2948

Subject Guide