As many longtime readers have known, I have posted several times on the need to preserve your digital files. Well, it turns out I was not practicing what I preached. Two weekends past, I was looking through my computer files and realized I had not backup up the content of my blog since October, 2013. Massive fail. Epic fail. Massively epic fail.Each week as I downloaded the images I used to my computer to upload to WordPress I had saved those in a special folder. However, as most of my typing was done directly in WordPress, I failed to have Word files of those posts. This was a mistake. What if all the online files were lost? What would I have done? All of that content would take days worth of work to try to recreate, if I could even manage to remember all I wrote about. All I may have been able to save were those older posts and the book reviews, as pared down versions of those were also posted on Goodreads (usually sans any questions and some personal correlations). The books reviewed from Blogging for Books would have also been saved as those are on that website. But what about the rest of that content?
Therefore, after realizing this, I sat in front of my computer for several hours manually copying and pasting those blog posts into Word files. Since I now have nearly 200 posts and over half needed to be saved, that was a long process. I also had to reorganize my file folder to have subfolders for each year in addition to the existing one for images. Otherwise, the files would have been too hard to search through (who wants to scroll through that many files to find the correct one? And yes, I could use a file search, but what if I can’t remember the file name I used? I visual scan of the files may prompt my memory). This was a boring, tedious process. Going forward, I am going to have to do a better job of remembering to save my posts as a Word document as well.
Making this error worse, my external hard drive no longer functions. It needs to be replaced. Somehow it turned mildewy while in my lockbox, which was not even stored in a location where it could get damp! I’m not sure exactly what happened unless it was the lack of air circulation (anyone have other thoughts on how this occurred?). Until that happens, I only have my flashdrive.
Moral of the story? It all goes back to that old saying “You have to practice what you preach.” Therefore, take this post as a lesson: even those with the best of intentions can make a mistake. And consider reviewing those older posts where I wrote about digital preservation: “A Digital-Age New Year’s Resolution” and “More on Photo and Digital Preservation.” I admit I did wrong on this issue.