Managing Digital Content

The COVID-19 pandemic and the requirements of social distancing have led dance artists and companies to embrace the digital: offering remote classes or rehearsals, streaming archival or new performances. How can you take advantage of this moment to improve the ways you are saving and organizing your stuff, so that it can be even more useful to you?

Did you know? Just because something is digital doesn’t mean it’s preserved! All digital files are vulnerable to data degradation (also known as bit rot), hard drives can fail, web sites frequently disappear (link rot), and files on Cloud storage services can be changed, removed, or become unavailable. So, what can you do to make your digital files more secure?

LOCKSS: Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe. You should always have at least two copies of any file, one of which you never touch, and one which you use to stream, edit, or make additional copies. Ideally, have two archive copies that you store in different geographic locations, in addition to your access copy. If you use Cloud storage, have hard drive or server backups.

  • Check on your hard drives! If you notice any abnormal noises, files crashing or not opening, or other strangeness, take them to get looked at by a professional (once it is safe to go out!) Check them on a regular schedule, replace them every 5-7 years. 
  • Be careful about granting permissions to edit or manage files in your Cloud storage accounts to avoid having files inadvertently altered or deleted.

Did you know? Instagram is not an archive! Don’t assume that you will always be able to readily access your social media posts on their original platform. You should save posts you feel have lasting value for you or your organization.

  • Webrecorder and Archive-It are two easy ways to create copies of social media posts and websites; Webrecorder can capture embedded videos. 
  • Taking screenshots or printing things out may seem old-fashioned, but it is reliable!

Learn more about preserving digital files, websites, and social media on Dance/USA’s Artist’s Legacy Toolkit.

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