Thursday, October 09, 2008

Lost Without You

We've become so dependent on our computers that when they go awry, as in infected by a virus, or break down due to normal wear and tear, we become lost without them. Yesterday afternoon, I received a phone call from the computer repair shop where I had taken my virus infected machine to be cleaned. The news was bad but could have been far worse.

It appears that all of my Microsoft Windows XP files had become fatally infected and corrupted. The entire operating systems was dead. A complete hard drive re-format and re-installation were required. Luckily, the repair shop, using a bit of techno-wizardry, was able to extract several personal and professional files (around 3 gigs worth), scanning and cleaning them in the process.

I am big amateur Photoshop user. You can see my handiwork across this blog if you are viewing this post at The DIGITAL Archive. The header and sidebar graphics, custom brushes, silhouette shapes, all mine. They took me hours, sometimes days to design. All lost, I feared as I witnessed the virus spread across my hard drive like fire in a pool of gasoline.

But, again, thanks to some fast-thinking on behalf of my reliable (and now $200 richer) repair shop, I have my personal and professional files back. Not all, mind you. I lost fonts. Yes, fonts that I had found over the past two years. All gone. But I will rebuild, this time bigger and better - and backed-up!!

Many of you reading this process and organize archives. We maintain original order, preserve records for posterity. For example, I researched, wrote and talked about e-records management and digital preservation.

But I wonder if we, individually, have taken the time to examine and insure the safety and security of our own personal archive, our digital archive, where we, using our PCs or Macs, create and store a multitude of files in a myriad of file formats in essence creating and storing memories in text, audio and video?

Are we making sure these critical files are safe, secure, backed up, either on external hard drives, CDs/DVDs, or perhaps even in the cloud using online storage services such as Google Docs or Apple's Mobile Me?

Think about it.

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about the author

I am an information professional, researcher, and writer with over eight years experience in the information services field with experience in information and communication technology.

I have a B.A. in History and a Master's in Library and Information Studies and working on a Web and Multimedia Design certificate.

I believe that empowering people with information can enrich lives and transform the world.