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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage - Comments and Review

Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage
Comments and Review

I rarely review the books I read, for my own use and pleasure. I do write reviews for LibraryThing books, but also rarely publish them here. I do write reviews for Book Tours, of course.

This situation is different. This book, and the process it 'introduces,' needs to be discussed by people like you and me. We each have material in our possession - a rapidly growing amount of material… that needs to be considered for preserving, for archiving, perhaps. Have you given this any thought at all? What have you done about it, to date?

Are you preserving photographs you take in a way that you can retrieve them - especially the important ones - in the future when you want to? How about content you create for your blog? Will your children we able to capture and preserve it when you are gone? Is it worth preserving? What are you doing to determine the value of your creations and how they will be preserved?

Do you agree this is important?

My Review:

Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage Edited by Donald T. Hawkins is essentially the first text book in the new field of Personal Digital Archiving (PDA).  It was largely informed by the presentations at three conference on the subject of PDA and subsequent conversations among interested professionals in a number of related fields closely related to this specific topic. I can certainly see this book used as a text as the basis for discussions in seminars and workshops, especially at the graduate level of study related to family history, library, archival activities, information technology and several other fields.

The first few contributed chapters would be useful to individuals actually wanting to pursue PDA on their own as well as for professionals. The middle chapters share several research projects that help define various aspects of the emerging PDA field of research and study. The final couple of chapters attempt to look forward and suggest the first specific types of research to be undertaken. The final chapter, in particular, encourage us each to broaden our view as to the many aspects of the PDA process that must be considered - some not even mentioned in previous chapters. As a retired academic involved during my career in attempting to develop a new field of study, I fully appreciated this presentation. It helped me read every word even though some of the middle chapters were more technical than I would have preferred.

As noted by earlier reviewers, most of us have much of our intellectual property in digital form, now, and are seriously wondering what to do with it. Does it have value? We certainly believe some of it does, but how do we handle it. What about the material created and held by political figures, corporation executives, writers and artists, other digital content creators. This book does a fine job of asking the right questions and beginning the long, tedious discussion, research and practice cycle that will provide the answers.

Note: This review originally prepared for LibraryThing as an Early Reviewer.

Dr. Bill  ;-)

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