We are about halfway through the Personal Digital Archiving Series. That makes it a pretty good time for me to sit down and think back over what I've learned so far.
What's the point of all this?
My mission is to help creative people care for the long-term future of their digital possessions.
As an archivist, I could merrily write about folder hierarchies and digital decluttering until the cows come home. However, if I want to genuinely help you, then it is important to me to know what you actually need help with!
What have I been doing?
I started out by doing a lot of reading. Stuff by other people who have looked into this; stuff about how people care for their digital treasures in their real lives; stuff written by academics and professional archivists about managing personal collections.
Over the last few weeks, I have shifted towards having real-life conversations with people. I have been asking about what digital things they care about the most; what they are currently doing to take care of it; and what are their main concerns and priorities about their digital collections.
What have I learned?
I have learned that several things present common stumbling blocks:
1. lack of storage space
2. overwhelm by volume of material
3. prioritising creating new work, over spending time sorting old work or setting up systems to manage future content.
4. an over-confidence that sharing content over social media or other platforms will enable its preservation.
I have learnt that people want:
1. content management systems to integrate with the other tools they are using to create their work
2. an easy way to segregate content with long-term value from more trivial items
3. to feel in control of their content, without needing to invest a lot of time and effort in keeping on top of it all.
What is happening next?
I'll be getting back to some more reading, and so there'll be some more articles about what I've learn from that. In particular, I'm excited to have a book review coming up soon - so look out for that!
Thanks so much for reading, as always!
I had a lovely time working out in my garden in the sunshine today! Although I had to go back to pen and paper because it was too sunny to see my laptop screen (and there was no way I was going to give up and go inside!)
If you are facing an obstacle that is stopping you from being able/ making you not want to face your digital collections, please do drop me an email. This series is basically me "learning in public", so I definitely don't have all the answers. But I can promise to have a good think!
If you want to be kept in the loop with future articles, then drop me your email address. I'll ping you a monthly email, and you'll get a free copy of my How To Start Your Digital Archive Workbook!
Series Intro: Why Stuff Matters (to us!)
Previous Article: Chatting About Digital Treasures [Behind the Scenes]
Next Article: What we were doing in 2006!