Preserve Your Personal Digital Files with the Wyoming State Archives



October is American Archives Month, a collaborative effort by professional organizations and repositories around the nation to highlight the importance of records of enduring value. Archivists are professionals who assess, collect, organize, preserve, maintain control of, and provide access to information that has lasting value, and they help people find and understand the information they need in those records.

Have you been wondering how you can securely save all those digital photos and documents on your computer, phone, tablet, and in the Cloud?As part of  this month’s observance, the Wyoming State Archives will offer a program, “Helpful Tips for Creating and Preserving Your Personal Digital Records,” at 6:30 p.m. on October 25 in the Wyoming State Museum Multi-Purpose Room located in the Barrett Building, 2301 Central Avenue in Cheyenne.

They’ll help you understand what questions to ask, what file formats and storage media to use, and how you can keep your memories alive for the next generation (or even for you in just a few years!)

Trying to save and access digital records over time sounds like a daunting task. The good news is that there are some basic steps that can help. In fact, saving digital/electronic records presents the same basic challenges as saving paper records — and then some.

Format matters
Digital records deteriorate over time, — just like old news clippings – and the digital medium they’re created on makes a difference, too.

Storage
If care isn’t taken with how paper records are stored — they could be lost, destroyed or damaged over time.  The same is true for digital/electronic records.  A flash drive is not a storage medium.

Description
You may have a box of photos with nothing showing the people’s names, where the photos were taken, and when. So, years from now family members won’t know who they are or why they’re significant. The same is true for digital/electronic records. Call it metadata or description, it’s meta important!

During the program, Digital Archivist Cindy Brown will address these topics and give you the tools you need so your precious memories and files won’t be lost or destroyed. You may shoot for the bare minimum required to preserve your digital/electronic records — or you may be an archivist at heart and go “all in.”  It depends on what you have, and how you want to use it.

Visit the Wyoming State Archives to discover the many resources available for family and local history, academic research, or just personal curiosity about our state’s history. Or visit virtually: their website (http://wyoarchives.state.wy.us/) and explore the has online resources to explore under the Find It in the Archives tab.

The Wyoming State Archives is accessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines. If you require special assistance, please contact the Wyoming State Archives at 307-777-7826.

For more information, contact Kathy Marquis, Deputy State Archivist at the Wyoming State Archives at (307) 777-8691 or kathy.marquis@wyo.gov.

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