These are some thoughts I had after reading:
Marshall, Catherine C., Sara Bly, and Francoise Brun-Cottan. ‘The Long Term Fate of Our Digital Belongings: Toward a Service Model for Personal Archives’. ArXiv:0704.3653 [Cs], 26 April 2007. http://arxiv.org/abs/0704.3653.
Lately, I have based my articles on strands I have pulled from my conversations with people about their digital lives.
I have learned about some of the stumbling blocks that we face when we try and care for our digital possessions. And I've found out some of the things that we want to help us care for our stuff. I have seen the kinds of things that people have in their digital collections. And I did this by asking people to give me a "guided tour" of their "digital spaces".
I was not the first person to do this kind of research. At all. In fact, a very similar project (only better!) was done in 2006. They also did interviews, and the article shares some of the strategies that people used to care for their digital belongings.
Strategies from 2006
What I like about this study, is that it doesn't just focus on the concerns that their interviewees had. It also describes what the people were doing to care for their stuff.
1. Copying material provides a valuable safety net
2. Culling to avoid valuable material being forgotten amid digital dross
3. Keeping things. Or deferring deciding whether to keep things, because keeping things is so easy
4. Accepting that loss is part and parcel of owning digital possessions
5. Replacing things (that you have not created yourself) is pretty easy. For example, you can re-download something identical or similar from the internet.
Twelve years later and things have moved on a lot, in the digital world. But...most of the things in this 2006 article sound familiar. Including the article's unsettling final sentence: "our everyday digital materials, as well as our important lifetime artefacts, have proven to be significantly at risk."Backing up is not enough to ensure something will last long-term.
Thanks for reading!
This article is part of my Deep Dive into Personal Archiving Series.
Series Intro: Why Stuff Matters (to us)
Previous Article: Mid-point Review (or what's the point!)
Next Article: When did people start writing about personal digital collections?
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