9 Nov 2011

Preserving and sharing your digital stuff in the cloud

...is a straightforward job. There are plenty of web services out there with the honourable intent of archiving and sharing your digital memories on your behalf without charge (say photobucket, flickr or dropshots in the case of digital images and video).

However, there are certain imperatives to bear in mind if one wants do it in a safe and sound manner:
  1. The online service should be reliable (is it going to be around for the foreseeable future?)That’s hard to judge. No one can predict the financial future of any given business. The risk rests with you.
  2. Does the online service back up your digital artefacts (including metadata)? Check their terms and conditions carefully.
  3. Save and share access usernames and passwords with trusted individuals (in case something unexpected happens to you…)
  4. Make sure the service preserves any embedded metadata if you use it. Often services only preserve the image ICC profile 
The Library of Congress offers a very good online service, which details how to go about preserving ones digital memories in a sensible way covering digital photographs, digital audio, digital video, electronic mail, personal digital records and websites.

If you’re looking for more in-depth information concerning file formats, check out this site (also Library of Congress) on sustainable digital preservation formats.

Another question to ask would be what social media websites or other image sharing services preserve embedded photo metadata after upload. Controlled Vocabulary conducted a survey to look into this tricky matter. The results can be obtained here.

Controlled Vocabulary is a site that concerns itself with the question how to apply controlled vocabulary to describe images in an image-database.


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