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September 2011 Family Archivist
Learn how to preserve your online legacy and archive your e-mails.

Ask the Archivist: Preserving Your Online Legacy

Storing information online is easy for us -- but will it make our descendants' genealogy research difficult? Thomas MacEntee, founder of High-Definition Genealogy and GeneaBloggers, offers advice on making sure your online legacy lives on.

Q. What constitutes an "online legacy"?
A. For our grandparents, letters, telegraphs, greeting cards, invitations and other items could be saved in a box or a scrapbook. What's the appropriate container for someone whose main forms of communication are emails and status updates on Facebook? We're suddenly realizing the need for archiving our online communication in order for future generations to understand how we lived. The scope really depends upon how active a person has been online.

Q. How can I preserve my blog or website?
A. The nice thing about blogging platforms such as Blogger and WordPress is that backup options are built in (look for an Export function). Both will let you download your blog as an XML file. Save it to your computer, and burn a copy on CD to have multiple backups. The key is to back up on a regular basis -- in the genealogy community, the first day of each month is Data Backup Day. GeneaBloggers has resources for backing up your data.

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