Interested in Preserving Your Writing?

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  • #199028
    Wandering Author
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    • Topics - 34
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    I’ve spent the past few years thinking about, and working on, a problem which has bothered me ever since, as a professional genealogist, I discovered just how fragile electronic data really is. I’m not going to go into excessive detail here, but even following the recommendations of major archives, and being what almost anyone else would consider absurdly paranoid, I lost data. Not my writing, I’m happy to say, but data I didn’t want to lose. It could have been my writing. And the most paranoid tech savvy people I know are, when it comes to archival standards, shockingly careless.

    Since then, I’ve been working on ways to preserve my writing through just about anything short of nuclear apocalypse. I’ve developed a (relatively) easy to maintain system – although setting it up takes a fair amount of work. And if implemented in all its facets, it is not what I’d call convenient. It is far from the worst method ever suggested, but not what you’d call “simple”, either. It does have the advantage of being (mostly) inexpensive, with alternate choices you can make if money isn’t an issue.

    I know a lot of you have discussed this sort of thing before and said, basically, “I won’t bother doing this or that, so I just do what I can make myself instead.” That’s reasonable, if that’s how you feel. I’m not trying to argue with anyone. It’s your work after all, and your loss if you lose it. But, I’m wondering how many people here would be interested in the ‘anal paranoid’s’ guide to preserving your work.

    Why am I even asking this? Because writing up an explanation most people could follow of what I do – and why this or that change or shortcut would be bad in terms of the ultimate goal, despite what you think – would take a lot of work. If most people on here don’t care, are satisfied their solution is good enough (it almost certainly isn’t… but that’s your business), or otherwise won’t bother to read it, then I see no reason to go to all that effort. On the other hand, if there are enough of you who have worried about this and would be interested in seeing what can be done, I hate to think of any writer losing their work simply because they don’t know enough to be able to protect it in (almost) any circumstances.

    (If I do go ahead, I can’t say how long it will take me to write it up, and I probably wouldn’t post it directly here, since it would be long, but rather put up an HTML file or PDF on some site where you could download it (free) and put a link in this thread to the file.) But I just want to know if many of you think you might be able to use this.

    #209053
    Seleane_Gray
    Participant
    • Topics - 1
    • Replies - 36

    I’d be interested in seeing what you do. I’ve lost enough writing over the years that it literally makes me sick thinking it might… could… will… happen again.

    #209054
    silvara
    Participant
    • Topics - 5
    • Replies - 48

    I worry a great deal about the best way to preserve my electronic data. Not just my writing, but photographs, for instance. I have lost quite a few digital photographs when an ex got drunk and spilled a glass of water on the laptop they were on. Things like that are very sad. The other thing is that I have these files spread out in a very disorganized way (things backed up in several places, but with no real rhyme or reason, just a sort of, oh I should back this stuff up, so here is a flash drive so I’ll copy it). If your system helps with the organization of backed up data I would be doubly interested.

    #209055
    Wandering Author
    Participant
    • Topics - 34
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    Well, organising any set of data really depends on what it contains. And – although you can use most of my ideas to help protect photos – any type of file other than text is inherently more difficult to keep safe.

    Still, I’ll see what I can offer in the way of hints. I don’t know how long this will take – someone on another site I hang out on has just landed in an unusual mess where my genealogical expertise comes in handy, so I’m trying to offer them advice on finding the records they need. Sooner or later, I will write this up, though. And I’ll try to cover other situations and issues, even though the system is primarily developed for my manuscripts.

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