Digital Backup: Setting Up the Backup

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February 21, 2018

This is the third and last post of the introductory Digital Backup series. If you’re reading this post, make sure you’ve read Digital Backup: No More Excuses, and Digital Backup: Space and Infrastructure.

Now that you’ve determined the size of the digital space you need, selected a digital backup tool, and your files are organized, you’re ready to setup your backup mechanism!

The backup mechanism for many digital platforms are roughly the same. You can elect to have all of your files synched to your digital backup platform, and anytime you access the file the synched version will update within seconds of any changes you make. Automated synching anytime there’s a file change is ideal as it will guarantee every file change is documented. Other backup platforms can offer incremental backups and it depends on your individual needs as far as how often that should happen. I recommend you backup actively used files regularly, and backup archived files monthly to quarterly.

In any backup platform you consider, please make sure they offer a way to view version history. Having access to previous file versions can be helpful from a business perspective, and life-saving when future digital files become corrupted or destroyed.

Last, if you’re serious about the integrity of your digital files I recommend you employ a fixity check. Fixity is the state of being unchanged or permanent, and this is how pristine you want your finished digital files to remain. Whenever a digital file is touched – whether intentional or not – it has the potential to change. For those on a serious-level for digital preservation, such as repositories with digital collections, please choose a tool that will help you regularly assess, check, and manage the fixity of your digital files. For an example of this, check out AVP’s free and open-source Fixity tool. For more on fixity, please see this PDF: How, What and When to check Fixity  from the NDSA Infrastructure Group report.

For more information, you can dive down the digital preservation rabbit hole with POWRR: Preserving (Digital) Objects With Restricted Resources. For those seeking extensive digital preservation suggestions view POWRR’s Tool Grid, or visit the abbreviated POWRR resource guide for personal use.

If you have any questions on how to get started, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask me questions. I provide a free 30 minute consult call, or you’re welcome to email me: [email protected].

Rachael Cristine

Image courtesy of Martin Frey, via Flickr’s Creative Commons (, and follows the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License: Image downloaded for use February 2018, and was not purposefully altered.

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