Happy Friday! While you all are reading this newsletter, I'm gearing up to go camping this weekend with my son for his first Cub Scouts camp out! It's all very exciting, and I'm hoping he learns a few skills and learns to appreciate the great outdoors. Just crossing my fingers that the weather holds up.
Now to figure out some methods Philip can use to future-proof his digitally archived documents, photos, etc., so that they can be retrieved and referenced by future generations.
I often have the same question: how should I preserve my files in a file format that will be retrievable by future generations? For example, if I save my digital documents today using Microsoft Word .doc file formats, will Microsoft be around a few decades later for others to retrieve my files and read them? What about my photos that are saved as JPEGs? Is it safe to say that the format will remain the standard for many years to come?
When my grandparents passed down photos and documents to me, they were tangible (all on paper). Today, the majority of files, from my documents to photos/videos, are digital. How do we guarantee that our kids will have the necessary programs or even hardware to read those file formats in the future?
Although there are no guarantees for future-proofing methods of archiving digital data formats for retrievability, this week we received a lot of well-thought-out, informative, and truly insightful recommendations from our members. People offered things to avoid and what to take into consideration for file saving. I know it is impossible to know what the future holds in technology, but I will say that after reading your advice, I definitely have a better idea of some ways to hopefully preserve my files for the future generations, and I hope you all learn a few things, too. Good luck, Phil! If any of you have any additional advice to share or would like to discuss this interesting topic, please join us in this week's discussion thread. Have a great weekend everyone, and thank you for your contribution to this community!
How do you future proof your digitally archived documents?
Hello, over the years I have accumulated a lot of data in
various forms. I have written documents, my own and those
sent to me by others; I have photos in many different file
formats; I have videos in several formats and I have
converted tapes to digital; finally, I have a large
collection of audio recordings. You might also say that I
have a large software collection--it begins with DOS 1.0 for
the OS family and MS Word 1.0 for the word processing family.
My question relates to archiving all of this material. What
format(s) should I use for each to future proof my
collection? I may need to access documents 10 or 15 years
from now and who knows if the future word processors will be
able to open today's .doc files. Will PDF always be
universal? Photos, video, and audio all have efficient
compressed formats, but which ones will survive 50 years from
now? What do we need to do today so that future generations
are not left with a useless alphabet soup of file formats?
-- Submitted by:
C. Philip C., M.D., J.D.
Featured member solutions for last week's question:
Help! DVD drive doesn't recognize music CDs anymore Until recently, when I put a music CD in my D-drive (DVD
RW), I could play the music or rip the music to my hard
drive. About a month ago this became more problematic, and
now it will not even recognize a music CD (regardless of the
program I choose to play it on: Real Player, Windows Media
Player, etc.). Data CDs are no problem, whether they have
documents or photos. DVDs play, as well. My question: is
this a hardware problem or a software problem? The drive is
a LITE-ON DVDRW LH-20A1H and I cannot find any indication
that there is any driver or other software that could be a
problem. If there is a problem with the drive itself, I can
certainly replace it, but if it's software, I don't know
where to begin. Any ideas? Running Windows XP system.
What about for digital photos?
(Please click on button to vote)
.bmp (bitmap image file) (Why?) .gif (Graphical Interchange Format file) (Why?) .jpg or .jpeg (Joint Photographic Experts Group image file) (Why?) .png (Portable Network Graphic) (Why?) .pdf (Portable Document Format file) (Why?) .raw (raw image data file) (Why?) .tif of .tiff (Tagged Image File) (Why?) Never digital--I would use photo paper. (Why?) Other (What is it and why?)
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