Sunday, May 30, 2010

Preserving -- and hiding -- your personal e-records

Just in case you missed them, here are a couple of relatively new resources for people interested in preserving or securing their personal electronic records:
  • The Library of Congress recently added a new Personal Archiving: Preserving Your Digital Memories section to its Digital Preservation Web site. The section explains -- succinctly and in non-technical terms -- how to identify, organize, and store images, audio files, video files, e-mail messages, Web site files, and other types of personal electronic records. Although it touches only lightly upon the preservation challenges posed by file format issues, people who follow its advice will be well on their way to ensuring that their important digital files are preserved. Strongly recommended.
  • A couple of months ago, a Gizmodo post outlined how to minimize the chance that certain types of records become part of one's readily discoverable digital legacy. Thanks to the enhanced search capabilities of modern desktop operating systems, the time-honored practice of hiding files in innocuously named folders no longer works. This post outlines how individual Mac and Windows users can hide materials they would rather keep secret by changing file names and extensions, setting up encrypted personal archives, or using modern Web browsers' "private browsing" settings. None of these techniques will withstand forensic analysis, but they will hide files from other casual users of one's computer. Also strongly recommended -- and be sure to check out the comments, some of which contain detailed and knowledgeable technical advice.
Update, 2010-05-31: I should have specified that the Gizmodo post focuses upon concealing materials of an, um, mature nature. However, the advice it dispenses could be used to manage all kinds of other materials (e.g., surprise party plans, financial records) that a person might want to hide from other users of his or her computer.

1 comment:

Bovina Historian said...

Bonnie, I'm going to share the Library of Congress website in an upcoming entry on my blog - I want to encourage people to not just think about saving the old photos but the new stuff.