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Organize Your Digital Academic Life

A guide to help students start getting digitally organized, and stay that way.

Resources For Preserving Other Data

Preserve This Podcast comic

Image by Mary Kidd / Preserve This Podcast Zine

Different forms of digital media come with different preservation challenges, and trying to keep up with the changes to ensure your files are accessible in the future is not easy. But it isn't impossible! Many of the tips on organization and preservation are the same no matter the media, so if you start systematically naming your files, you're already off to a good start. For detailed specifics on how to preserve the other kinds of digital media in your life, these resources provide comprehensive information. 

Digital Photos

Four Easy Tips for Preserving Your Digital Photographs
By Butch Lazorchak
Published October 11, 2011 in The Signal

A blog from the Library of Congress that explains how one should go about identifying, deciding, organizing, and making copies of digital photographs. The blog specifically talks about tagging your photos with information and locating the EXIF data.

He Shoots, He Stores: New Photographic Practice in the Digital Age
By Jessica Bushey
Published Spring 2008 in Archivaria 65: p 125-149

A study of professional photographers and their archiving and preservation practices, including a number of considerations such as size, file type, and more. It also includes a section that explicates the differences between traditional photography and born-digital photography.

Audio & Podcasts

ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation
Edited by Sam Brylawski, Maya Lerman, Robin Pike, and Kathlin Smith
ISBN 978-1-932326-50-5
Published May 2015

A comprehensive resource from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, the Council on Library and Information Resources, and the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress, this is designed for professional librarians and archivists but has information that is presented in a language that is accessible to all.

Sound Directions: Best Practices for Audio Preservation 
By Mike Casey and Bruce Gordon
Published 2007

Section 3 provides an extensive overview for preserving digital audio files, including best practices for file naming, storage, backup, and more for numerous file types, based on real-world institutional examples from Harvard and Indiana Universities, as well as recommendations from national and international audio industry professional organizations and standards groups. Other sections include information on metadata and workflows.

Preserve This Podcast Zine 
By Dana Gerber Margie, Molly Schwartz, Sarah Nguyen, and Mary Kidd
Published 2018

If you'd like to ensure your podcast is safe if your computer ever has a meltdown, or you want more digital preservation tips—but this time with illustrations—check out this zine, and its associated podcast.


Activists' Guide to Archiving Video
Published 2013

Specifically designed for activists documenting human rights issues, this is also a useful resource for those maintaining personal video archives. Even though it gets pretty technical, the workflow provides clear instructions for creating and maintaining a video archive, and it outlines the advantages and disadvantages to various options.

Digital Video Preservation and Oral History
By Kara Van Malssen
Published 2012, Oral History in the Digital Age

By addressing the whole life cycle of videos, from pre-production to archiving and access, this article shows how preservation is a part of the decision-making process throughout. You'll learn exactly what digital videos are comprised of, and how you can combat corruption and loss of your files.

Web Pages

Save Page Now
This tool, which can be used through the link above or via a browser extension, lets you capture a web page and archive it in the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. This can be useful for your personal work on the web, but also for work you are citing that may not have a permanent URL (i.e., a DOI or PURL).

If the web page you want to save contains dynamic content that may be challenging for the Wayback Machine to capture, Webrecorder may be the better option. You need to register for an account or download the app, and then you can create an interactive copy of a web page, capturing scrolling, video and audio, and other interactive features.

Social Media

To download and save a copy of your social media content, you may end up with files that are more or less useful to you depending on your needs. The links below provide instructions from the social media companies on how to download your data from those platforms. If you're more interested in saving a copy of your content in the way it originally looked and functioned, Webrecorder may be a better option. 

Log into your Facebook account and go to the Help Center. Under the tab Managing Your Account, navigate to Accessing & Downloading Your Information, look under Tools & Resources, and then see "How do I download a copy of my information on Facebook?" and follow the instructions.

Log into your Instagram account and go to the Help Center. Under the tab Managing Your Account, navigate to Delete Your Account, and then click on the option "How do I access or review my data on Instagram?" and follow the instructions.

Log into your Twitter account and go to the Help Center. Navigate to Account Settings, then click on the option "How to download your Twitter archive," and follow the instructions.

Text Messages

How To Save Your Text Messages 
By David Nield, Popular Science
Published April 27, 2017

This article outlines the pros and cons of different apps available to backup text messages from iOS and Android mobile phones.