Personal Digital Archiving: Part Five – Stewardship

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:


Maintaining Your Archive

One of the most important points in the digital information process is the maintenance stage, the time when files have gone “cold” and creators become curators of their digital belongings.


Migration Awareness

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your PDA is preserved for the long term is to keep up-to-date on new technology trends and advances, as well as staying informed about possible pending obsolescence of either storage media, (e.g. floppy disks) or file formats. It is important to regularly check on your physical storage media to make sure it’s working properly, and keep abreast of developments with your cloud provider if storing your assets online, (perhaps by subscribing to their blog). To guarantee future access to your digital collection you will need to be aware that you should:

  • Periodically change/upgrade physical storage media
  • Regularly check on cloud storage providers – subscribe to their blogs!!
  • Periodically migrate file formats to updated versions




A well-maintained archive will let you rediscover items you forgot you ever had and wouldn’t think to search for, an experience like rummaging through an old cardboard box filled with items and memories from your past.



  • Marshall, Catherine C.. “Rethinking Personal Digital Archiving, Part 2: Implications for Services, Applications, and Institutions.” D-Lib Magazine March/April 2008. 13 Aug. 2010.
  • Williams, Peter, Jeremy Leighton John, and Ian Rowlands. “The personal curation of digital objects: A lifecycle approach.” Aslib Proceedings 61.4 (2009): 340-63. Library Lit & Inf Full Text. Web. 13 Aug. 2010.