I have heard many strategies for preserving genealogical research over the years, and as this is an important topic in genealogy, I intend to write a series of posts on various aspects of preservation. But for now, here are a couple of in-depth papers on digital data preservation from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) web site.
The reality for all of us is that media will change over time and file formats will change over time. If you REALLY want your research to last:
- Store your data in simple, open, industry-standard file formats (nothing beats Plain Text)
- Avoid proprietary formats tied to a particular company (e.g., Microsoft Word) or tied to a particular computer platform
- Store your data on multiple media: acid-free paper, CDs and/or DVDs, hard disk(s), flash drive(s)
- Upload your data to a central server (like Rootsweb.com)
- Regularly verify your stored archives and refresh your data onto new media
And last but not least, the single most important way to get your research to last: SHARE IT !!