We all create digital content practically every day. We take photos with our digital cameras or phones, send email, use social media, fill out online forms, and create any number of other things using our computers and mobile devices. Some of this information may be important to us (or others) in the future. In fact, state employees have a special responsibility to maintain any content they create that is considered part of the public record in accordance with the applicable retention schedule. But most people are unaware that decisions they make at the time they create digital content can impact the accessibility of that content in the future.
What kinds of decisions you might ask? Well decisions about what software to use, what file format to save the file in, what to name the file and where to store it. All things you probably never give much thought to. You probably use whatever software happens to be on your computer that will work for whatever activity you are attempting, save the file in whatever format the system defaults to, name the file something that makes sense to you at the time, and put the file in the default location the system chooses. But not giving much thought to these decisions can lead to problems finding and accessing this content down the road.
To find out the potential impacts of these decisions and discover ways to prevent loss of content due to lack of attention in these areas check out the Department of Cultural Resources’ Digital Preservation Education page.