Personal Digital Preservation
5.0 (1 rating)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
9 students enrolled
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Personal Digital Preservation

Keeping your files safe and usable
5.0 (1 rating)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
9 students enrolled
Created by Gary McGath
Last updated 1/2016
Current price: $11 Original price: $20 Discount: 45% off
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 3 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Manage computer files to minimize the risk of losing data and maximize their long-term usefulness.
View Curriculum
  • Reasonable familiarity with OS X, WIndows, or Linux should be enough to get started.

Where will your computer files be in two years or twenty? With a little care, you can give your important data the best chance of staying useful for your future use and your family's. This course covers three general areas: avoiding file loss, recovering unusable files, and keeping your data organized and understandable. The course includes PDF reference materials to supplement the lectures.

You'll learn about:

  • Backup strategies, local and online. The 3-2-1 rule.
  • Saving data from mobile devices and Web services, with specific advice for iOS, Android, and several popular websites.
  • Recovering files that break or that software stops recognizing.
  • Effective ways of naming and organizing files so you know what you have.
  • Avoiding file obsolescence from proprietary formats and ecosystem lock-in.
  • Working with metadata so your files are self-explanatory.

You don't need a lot of computer experience to benefit from this course. If you're concerned about keeping your data for the long run, this course will help you.

Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone who's comfortable working with computers and understands the basics of file systems can benefit from this course. System managers and archivists may find it too basic.
Curriculum For This Course
14 Lectures
Avoiding file loss
5 Lectures 25:43

Files can die in many ways, from losing either the actual data or the ability to use them. Find out what some of these are, and get an overview of what the course will cover about avoiding data loss, recovering from it, and maximizing your files long-term usefulness.

Preview 03:17

Backup is central to preservation. You'll learn about options for on- and offsite backup, the difference between cloud services and backup services, how to choose a backup service, and the 3-2-1 rule.

Preview 05:06

Your data on the Web needs backing up too. Many online services help you to archive your content. Specific information on archiving GMail, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter archiving.

The stuff that's not on your computer

Backing up mobile devices is harder than backing up desktop computers, and mobile devices are at more risk. This lecture will present ways of getting data to safety from your iOS and Android phones and tablets.

Backing up your mobile devices

Having off-the-Net copies of your data gives them extra safety, but it's important to use media that won't go bad or go obsolete. You'll learn about what media are best and what mistakes to avoid.

Offline copies

Review questions for the first section.

Questions on avoiding file loss
3 questions
File Recovery
2 Lectures 08:43

There are several reasons files might fail to open. This lecture talks about some of them before getting into the ways to recover.

Introduction to file recovery

If your file won't open, there are many things you can try. This lecture presents a series of actions you can take, from simple fixes to disaster recovery.

How to recover files

Questions on file recovery
3 questions
Maintaining file usefulness
6 Lectures 28:09

Learn about the three main aspects of keeping files useful: Being usable, findable, and identifiable.

Preview 03:45

Find out how to avoid being locked into proprietary formats that may go obsolescent, to use interchange formats or PDF to let other applications use them, and to avoid getting stuck with useless files after a software upgrade.

Preview 03:44

Learn techniques that support preservation such as using lossless compression while editing, avoiding applications that take control away from you, and keeping files in proprietary formats (if you have to use them) up to date.

Using applications wisely

Learn about the best ways to keep your files meaningfully named and well-organized.

File naming and organization

Good metadata lets you remember and other people learn what your files are about. Learn how to manage metadata effectively, with demonstrations in several different applications.

Using metadata

Email is especially tricky to preserve. Learn how to make sure you really have your mail on your computer, to get attachments to safety, and to avoid "archiving" that isn't.

Keeping your email safe

Questions on maintaining file usefulness
4 questions
1 Lecture 03:09

A review of the main points of the course, and a reminder that while it isn't necessary to do everything, whatever active maintenance you can do will help give your files a longer lifespan.

Review and final thoughts
About the Instructor
Gary McGath
5.0 Average rating
3 Reviews
35 Students
3 Courses
Software Engineer

I'm an experienced software developer with a strong background in Java, library software, and digital preservation. For eight years I was a software engineer for the Harvard Library. I wrote the bulk of the code for JHOVE, a file identification and analysis tool widely used by libraries and archives. My written work includes the e-book Files that Last and the blog Mad File Format Science.