Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower



Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Oct 09

Survival Strategies for Personal Digital Records

Posted on October 9, 2015 at 9:35 AM by Elise Kelly

 Tomorrow is Electronic Records Day! E-Records Day is an opportunity to share information about how to manage and preserve digital records.
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With technology progressing at an exponential rate, it is imperative for people to migrate their electronic data. 

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Image courtesy of Raffaele Esposito via Flickr
 Just think, in five to ten years, you may not be able to access the photos that are saved on your cell phone because the technology has become obsolete.
Don't worry, with the help from the Council of State Archivists, we are going to learn what steps need to be taken to preserve your digital collections.
Getting Started
Electronic files are much more fragile than paper records, and their long-term survival requires attention and planning. These tips can help you better preserve your personal digital collections.

Personal Files:
Focus on your most important files. These files may include: resumes, school papers, financial spreadsheets, letters, maps, and family histories.

    o Decide which documents have long-term value and focus your efforts there.

Image to the right is the Piper Family Survey Map via Greene County Archives.
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• Print out your most critical files to protect them against loss. Doing so
increases the chances that your documents and images will remain
accessible and allows you to focus upon backing up and copying/migrating files that cannot easily be printed out (e.g., databases, video files).

• Create multiple copies of the files and manage them in different places. Doing so will keep your information safe even if your computer crashes.
        o Make at least two copies of your files – more copies are better.



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 • Organize your files by giving individual documents descriptive file names.
   Creating a directory/folder structure on your computer will help you organize your files. Write a brief description of the directory structure and the documents for future reference.

Check your files at least once a year to make sure you can read them. Every 3-5 years you will need to copy and migrate your files to a newer media. Storage media have limited life spans, and hardware and software changes can keep you from accessing files stored on media that hasn't deteriorated.
           o Use new, high-quality storage media. Avoid unknown brands.

• Convert important files to a universal output format such as plain text (.txt), Rich Text Format (.rtf), or PDF/A (a form of PDF designed to support long-term preservation).

Digital Images:
• Back up and copy/migrate your images as outlined above.

• Organize them as you create them. It is much harder to identify thousands of images as time passes.
 • In addition to facing the threats outlined above, image files are often compressed, which reduces file size but can permanently remove some visual information.
Save important images either uncompressed or with lossless compression.


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Image courtesy of Lance Fisher via Flickr

 Good format choices include TIFF (.tif), and JPEG2000 (.jp2).

• The resulting files are often quite large, so treat them as “master copies" and create GIF (.gif) or JPEG (.jpg) “use copies” to share via e-mail or the Web.

• You can also print out your images. To ensure that your images last for decades, order prints from a lab that will place them on an archival
medium.

Additional Resources:

• The Library of Congress is a great resource for information on personal digital archiving, found at:
http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/personalarchiving/records.html

Key resources include:
Why Digital Preservation is Important to Everyone: http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/multimedia/videos/digipres.html

Preserving Your Digital Memories:
http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/personalarchiving/documents/PA_All_brochure.pdf

• The University of Michigan Library publication entitled Preserving Personal Digital Files is also a great resource. It contains a wealth of suggestions for further reading as well. This publication can be found at:
http://www.lib.umich.edu/files/services/preservation/PreservingPersonalDigitalFilesGuide.pdf


Until Next Time!
This Week's Trivia Question: When was Electronic Records Day implemented?
Answer to Last Week's Trivia Question:
When was the city of Fairborn established? - 1950.

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