My sister Jamie made a beautiful Windows Moviemaker memorial that celebrated the life of her husband through family photographs and a soundtrack of some of the meaningful songs of his life. Jamie saved the memorial on a bunch of DVDs. A year later, some of the DVDs work fine but others won’t play on any of our computers. Their content is already inaccessible.
I presented this situation to Tom Clareson , Senior Consultant for New Initiatives at LYRASIS, and Leigh A. Grinstead, Digital Services Consultant at LYRASIS. I’m sure everyone’s had the experience of unexpectedly losing unsaved material when there’s a sudden loss of power or other glitch. That’s to be expected (and a good reminder to save frequently). However, it is very disconcerting to lose material that feels like it has been permanently saved.
Tom and Leigh started by reminding me that DVDs were never built to be long-term storage containers. “DVDs, like CDs and flash drives, are all excellent media for the transportation of digital files from one computer to another. But any electronic file that you want to retain access to long term is something that should be put on a hard drive. That hard drive should be backed up, and for home use those files should be backed up in multiple places.
“So, another family member in a different region of the country, (at least on a different power grid) may also keep a copy on their hard drive at home. You should also consider a back up in ‘the Cloud’ – commercial services like Dropbox that truly store your data ‘off site.’ Now, any commercial system could disappear overnight, so having multiple copies in a stable file format is the best chance you have to preserve the data long term.”
© 2011 Lee Price