Personal Digital Archiving: Part Two – Policy

This is part of a series of posts which is based on a 3-hour hands-on workshop I offer on this topic. Be sure and check out the preceding posts:

Personal Digital Archiving: An Overview
Personal Digital Archiving: Part One – Strategy

Creating Policies

Based on what you decided in the Strategy phase, you will want to create personal policies that can be put into practice as new workflows that will help you achieve a robust Personal Digital Archive. These policies should guide how you deal with each type of digital asset that you create or download and will soon become second nature.

An Example Personal Policy

I’m a music lover and have quite a large collection of .mp3 files. It’s very important to me that this collection remains accessible to me over the long-term. I have a personal policy for dealing with these files each time I download, purchase, or acquire new music. First, I now only collect DRM-free music files as I have had the experience of being locked out of music I had paid for. Second, each time I download new music or rip it from a CD I save it to an “All Music” archive organized by Artist and then Album folders on my desktop computer, save it to an “All Music” archive on my external hard drive, and then load it onto my iPhone. I do this all before I even start using or listening to the files.

Creating Personal Policy

You can develop personal archival policies quite simply by using the Selection Strategy worksheets you filled out previously and making decisions as to where and when you will store your assets based on the rest of the Strategy section. You may choose to create these policies based on format, e.g. music files, based on field of study or interest area, e.g. all dance-related assets, or a combination of both. To get started here is a policy worksheet:

Personal Archiving Policies (Note: this policy worksheet is for developing a policy for how you’ll deal with Documents. You’ll want to also do this for your other digital assets as well).