How Will You Preserve Your Blog?

I am currently hanging out with my three-year-old grandson, Charlie, for the week. My next post will be about insights gained from this experience. Charlies is always a wise teacher!

In the meantime, I would like to reblog a post by Mike Nelson. Here, he explores the question of how to preserve your blog for your grandchildren (and theirs). Ironically, I had been thinking about the same question…in much less depth. My low-tech solution has been to print off key pages of my site (gasp here) and store them with other family documents in our fireproof vault.

After reading Mike’s post, I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Let’s chat!

We are living in the digital dark age. Wikipedia says: the digital dark age is a lack of historical information in the digital age as a direct result of outdated file formats, software, or hardware that becomes corrupt, scarce, or inaccessible as technologies evolve and data decays. Another way to say that: did you think […]

via The Digital Dark Age & Your Blog — Colin Michael Lucien Jonathan Nelson’s Blog

91 Replies to “How Will You Preserve Your Blog?”

  1. Hi Donna! This is such an interesting topic. I’m old school when it comes to preserving photos in photo albums that can be shared during the holidays when everyone is gathered together. I’m inclined to print my favorite blog posts and put them in a binder. Maybe you should compile your favorites into a self-published book for your grandchildren. Enjoy your Charlie time! That’s my father’s name. 🙂

    Like

  2. Hi Donna! Enjoy your time with Charlie. Being a grandparent is the best. I really do not care if alot of my digital work is preserved or not. Presently, I am working on my memoir which will hold everything that I want to keep for the next generation. My plan is to actually publish it in book format and then print off enough for family members who will want it. However, I did find the article interesting.

    Like

    1. Hi, Fran – Thank you so much for commenting. The future generations of your family (plus many, many others) will be very grateful for your memoir. I am looking very forward to reading it.
      Unfortunately for future generations in my family tree, I don’t have a memoir in me. I will likely pursue the suggestion to print at least part of my blog off in book form. I would love to have a diary or written record from my grandparents. Good luck with your writing. Please keep us posted!

      Like

      1. Hi again, I am sure that you have a very interesting memoir in you Donna! However, we all have to do what is right for us. I started off my memoir trying to record things that I remembered about my grandparents and parents. Then I stumbled upon an amazing resource that has information about where my greatparents lived when they first came to Canada. Our family tree is even in the book. I am so grateful that someone has recorded that piece of family history for us. Up until now, I always was feeling a bit unanchored about what happened before my ancestors lived in Wilno. I am now not only writing my memoir for my granchildren but also for myself!

        Like

      2. Hi, Fran – Thank you for your kind words. I forgot to mention that I no longer have the diligence needed to write a memoir.:) I greatly admire those who do. That is so cool that you stumbled upon information about your Great-Grandparents and that your family tree is in book form. Your comment of this helping you feel more anchored is a great reminder for us with personal blogs to save them.

        Like

    2. Hi Fran, thanks for your somewhat dissenting viewpoint. (Ie, you didn’t just say “yes, this is so important!”, but gave your honest perspective.) Yeah I can see how preserving a blog is less important if you have memoirs created.
      Just keep in mind though, that in 100 years, when one of your family members wants to get a hold of your memoirs, it would be ideal if it were somehow accessible online, not just in physical copy (although I’m starting to think a physical copy is important too, as a backup).
      My great-great-great grandfather kept a journal, and it’s in some historical archive somewhere, but I had a really hard time getting my hands on it. (I ended up getting some scans of its pages off my dad, who had to physically visit the “old country” to get them from the physical document).
      Similarly, your great-great-grandchildren, who never knew you, or where the physical copies of your book went, might be interested to know where they came from and your story. The question of how to get your book into their hands is the one that is especially tricky, and that really interests me.

      Like

      1. Hello Michael, Thanks for your thoughtful reply and for your experiences with your ancestors. Just to catch you up on my weekend. I just spent the weekend in Wilno as I said earlier in my comments. The experience was even better than I thought it would be. I found my grandmother’s brother’s letter that he wrote to his parents when he fought for Poland shortly after WWI. Even though he was born in Canada, the parish priest convinced a small group of those boys to go back to Poland to fight for a country that they had never lived in. I found my great great grandfather’s records of when the government had promised this group of immigrants 100 acres of land in Upper Canada. I found more than that. All of that was in the local mueum and the National Archives which had been documented and written up in a published book of these immigrants. I walked the local graveyards with my husband and photographed all the gravestones with a link to the family names of both of my grandparents. My plan is to upgrade the memoir I had been writing to inform my son and my grandsons of where they came from. I am going to sit down with them to instill the importance of that information so it isn’t just a matter of handing them a book. I also plan to donate a copy of the book I produce to the heritage museum which is already rife with documentation and books of the local early pioneers and their families. That’s about all I can do, but it is more than has been done. My ancestors were too busy getting food on the table to worry about writing a memoir. I admire them greatly for the hardships they endured and am thankful for the records that were kept. Most of all I am overwhelmed with the fact that someone compiled all of this in a book which documented the first pioneers for this area. Having said that, there will be a digital copy of my book somewhere. However, with the way technology moves I am not sure if my digital copy will be of much use to future generations. For me, the physical book is the primary item of importance and the digital on is the backup! BTW I do plan to visit the “old country” to discover further primary sources. It is a tenacious search for family identity that I find fascinating. You are so lucky that your father gave you this information. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to think more deeply on this!

        Like

      2. HI, Fran -I greatly admire your dedication to uncover more about your ancestry, to add to this information and to preserve it further. I am incredibly envious of what you have discovered so far. For me, I would barely know where to begin!
        Thank you for adding to the depth of this discussion. This is a fascinating topic. I have loved watching thoughts on it unfold.

        Like

      3. Hmm thanks Fran! That is interesting too.

        > I am going to sit down with them to instill the importance of that information so it isn’t just a matter of handing them a book

        That’s a good point too. Although there is no guarantee the next generation will preserve your story, teaching them about its importance will help. I suppose oral traditions made it through centuries doing only this, so it’s a viable strategy too (in addition to everything else you’re doing).

        Like

  3. Hi Donna – This is a very interesting topic. I’m thinking of my visit to Egypt where paper was first produced from the local papyrus plant. Look where we are today with paper? Thousands of years later and we still use paper to a large extent, especially for important documents like birth certificates, etc. If you’d like to preserve your blog for your grandchildren, perhaps preserve it a book format, both paper and e-book. Perhaps your file can be saved using open source format, to avoid proprietary software. Once your grandchildren have a copy, they can reproduce it in the new format, whatever it is in their lifetime. Enjoy your time with Charlie! I’m sure he’ll remember the time he shares with you. I look forward to reading your next post. BTW, did you do a blog make-over?

    Like

    1. Hi, Natalie – Thank you for this comment. I had never thought of each generation saving family history documents in an updated format (when necessary) and passing them down that way. A bit like old family 35mm movies that I had transferred to videotape and now need to transfer again! It makes sense — at least for those interested in exploring their family history.
      Good eye on the website make-over. Before giving self-hosted the heave-ho, I thought I would give it one more try. (It is on a very short leash). I switched my theme (to ‘The MInimal’) and also updated my Gravatar photo. Let me know if you have any other tips. I am very open to suggestions.

      Like

    2. Hi Natalie. Yes preserving your blog (or memoirs) in a printed version has the advantage that you don’t need any tool to read it– you just need to be able to read. Also, it doesn’t need to be updated.
      The downside is, of course, there’s just one copy and so it can be difficult for people to get their hands on that copy. My great-great-grandfather has a journal that’s out there somewhere, but it was difficult to get a copy of it (and then it was a digital copy).
      So I think you’re right to also make an e-book. 👍

      Like

      1. Hi, Mike – Thank you for generously allowing me to reblog your post. It is excellent food for thought. I appreciate the comments that others have added as well. Now I simply need to quit stalling and DO something about it! 🙂

        Like

  4. I have been of the mind that since my own family rarely reads my blog, my future grandchildren aren’t going to give a hoot. I’ve taken a few screen shots and have even taken a pic with my phone of a post. I do save my photos in Dropbox but that is digital storage too. I have a few old photo albums but haven’t saved anything physical in quite a few years. If the world gets to a point where the digital age disappears, then we probably won’t be around anyway, and everything will be gone in a puff. This is certainly thought provoking, Donna! Enjoy your precious time with Charlie and keep him away from technology 😉

    Like

    1. Hi, Terri – Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Sometimes things skip a generation, so items that our children tend to ignore may be of interest to our grandchildren….or great-grandchildren. You never know! 🙂
      BTW – Charlie is currently a big outdoors kid, and not much of a screen guy. I think that you would like him!

      Like

    2. > I have been of the mind that since my own family rarely reads my blog, my future grandchildren aren’t going to give a hoot.

      Hmmmm, thanks for the reality check there, Terri. Will future generations care at all about our story, when family that knows us doesn’t?

      I don’t think everyone in future generations will care too much. But I think some will. And actually, especially the ones who never had a chance to know you.

      All but one of my grandparents passed away before I had a chance to meet them. For the longest time that didn’t bother me in the slightest, as my mind was completely immersed in the here-and-now. But I’m starting to wonder what they were like, what they thought, and if they’d have any wishes or advice for me. But as it is, I have nothing but a few photographs and stories from my parents.

      I’m not saying your blog will become a “rediscovered masterpiece” in 100 years, but as speaking as someone who would like to have something like that from my own grandparents, I think someone will take interest, and be grateful you made it available to them.

      Like

      1. Hi, Terri – I agree! It will be very interesting to see what new advances in tech will bring in the future. I must admit that I currently find myself embracing new technologies less and less since I’ve left the workforce.

        Like

  5. Hi’ I’ve been thinking the same thing. I have a file on my documents page where I’ve been storing my blog posts. At least some of them. I also thought about printing them out a making some sort of bound booklet, or you know, on a thumb drive or whatever is next.
    Anyway good question. Thanks
    Laura

    Like

    1. Hi, Laura – I thought that others might have an interest in this topic as well, so I figured it would be a great post to reblog. The author is the organizer of my WordPress Meet Up Group.
      I like your multi-platform approach of saving your posts. That is likely the best bet!

      Like

  6. Donna this is something that I do worry about. As a genealogist I really would like to think that my blogs, especially my family history blog will be available for future researchers to read. I was lucky enough to have the family history blog archived at the National Library of Australia but I’m really not convinced that will solve the problem forever. Thanks for bringing this topic up Will share on SM #MLSTL

    Like

    1. Hi, Jennifer – It is very reassuring knowing that others have been wondering the same thing. That’s great that you had your family history blog archived at your National Library. Even if it does not solve the entire problem forever — it is a big step in the right direction. Thank you for sharing this post on your social media.

      Like

    2. Hmmm, I think getting your blog into the National Library is great. You’ve gotten your records into the hands of an organization dedicated to preserving them. I don’t think it gets much better than that. Can you share how you achieved that?

      Like

  7. Well now, I’d never thought about it before – but storing or backing up on an external drive is a good idea which my son persuaded me to do. Supposed to do it every 7 days but sometimes it’s longer … it’s called Seagate Backup slim and it’s portable. Thanks Donna and enjoy your week with Charlie!

    Like

  8. I took minutes for our church for 15 years and we always printed a copy to file – I thought it was such a waste of time – until first floppy disks (the big ones) and then the A drive floppy disks became redundant – if we hadn’t printed those minutes each month, there’d be no easy way to access the information.
    I’m not sure there’s anything on my blog that I want to preserve for future generations – maybe I’ll just let it fade into obscurity when I move onto new adventures.
    #MLSTL 🙂

    Like

  9. What an interesting dilemma . I say print everything bind it in a notebook but then that means someone has to lug it around for a generation or two. Hmm. The family history site looks interesting. Thanks for the thoughts.

    Like

    1. So funny, and so true, Suzanne. I have no doubt that if my great-grandchildren ever read my blog, they will wonder “What the heck?!!” At least I can leave them something to ponder, or chuckle at! Thank you for the tip about Snapfish.

      Like

  10. Hi Donna,
    Thanks for bringing this up. I haven’t given this a whole lot of attention other than how to make sure my kids can access my sites and pages when I’m gone via the passwords.
    Which is never up to date because I keep forgetting the passwords and have to change them…LOL!
    Seriously though, thank you – I will have to give this some more thought.

    Deb

    Like

      1. Hah! I even keep a little Reminder file on my phone with all the passwords but then I forget to check there and just click the “forgot password?” button and off I go again with a new one. And now my file is out of date!!!! I blame the technology that autofills in the passwords but doesn’t show me what they are. Yeah, that’s it. Not my fault…hehehe!

        Like

  11. A friend’s daughter just created a lovely book of their trip to the Galapagos Islands – hard cover, created a story, lots of photos… via Shutterfly I believe. I’ve converted many of my blog posts as components of a book I’ve written..and hope to (self) publish. Even with all the digital stuff, books survive. I’ve got no kids to leave things to, but I still believe in hard print books!

    Like

  12. Oh heck I’d not even thought about this! My son’s don’t even read my blog, but I thought they might when they get older and have children of their own, (my future grandchildren :-)) but that’s way in the future, who knows what’ll happen with my blog…A book form is a good idea, but time consuming, or just making sure they know about the blog and have the link as and when they are ready or in fact interested 😂

    Like

    1. Hi, Sam – I completely agree with your sentiment. Just as soon as I think I have this blog thing sorted out…there is something new to consider. I know a few friends who have downloaded parts of their blog in book form — I will definitely be calling on their expertise!

      Like

  13. This does cross my mind from time to time. I don’t care what happens when I’m gone – I’m not writing for posterity, but I do hope to look back on my travel diaries when I’m old. As with many other things I procrastinate and hope (probably vainly) that WordPress gives due warning if it’s about to go “phut”!

    Like

    1. Hi, Anabel – Mike’s post has given me another reason to finish setting up my free WordPress account. I definitely won’t want to pay self-hosting fees forever! 🙂 I agree with you that an ample shutdown warning would be nice. Hopefully WP agrees with this line of thinking!

      Like

    2. Yeah, if, 20 years from now, WordPress.com is going to shutdown, they will probably give several month’s warning. It’s quite rare for a company to suddenly get shut off and not provide a way for its users to access their data.

      Also, thanks for your frankness about not caring what happens when you’re gone. I don’t totally empathize, as I’m starting to care quite strongly what happens when I’m gone, especially to the people I love, but I think your sentiment is more the norm.

      Like

  14. Funny… as much as I cherish the diaries I have that were written (independently) by my mother and father, I really haven’t given much thought to preserving my blog into the future. Maybe it’s because we are child-free, maybe it’s because I’m pretty sure the world won’t stop spinning if *POOF* it was all gone (although I might be a bit ticked off 🙂 ). That being said, I have thought about how much history we lose everyday because everything is going digital. When I think of the beautiful letters written (for instance) during the Civil War and compare them to the emails/texts/tweets/snapchats/etc. flying back and forth nowadays, I wonder what will be kept for posterity? Anyway, enjoy your time with Charlie… it’s hard to imagine what technology will be like when he grows up.

    Like

    1. LOL, good point: comparing current digital messages vs Civil War era hand written letters. I suspect future generations will look back at us and think “what a boring generation! Not only was all the correspondence they produced junk, but they produced SO MUCH of it!”

      Like

  15. Hi, Janis – Just so you know, I would be very, very sad if all a sudden — ‘POOF’ — your blog was gone!
    I too miss handwritten letters. It’s been a very long time since I’ve received one.
    I am having a great time with Charlie. Today we went to the outdoor jungle gym, library, lunch, grocery shopping and made homemade pasta sauce as well as chocolate chip cookies. Charlie kept going…but I was exhausted! 🙂

    Like

  16. I have given LOTS of thought to leaving a legacy. For me, however, I don’t so much think about preserving blog posts, but preserving pictures and the stories behind them. I am currently working my way (ever so slowly) through my childhood photos and writing about those memories. I want my children (and grandchildren) to have an idea of who I am besides “Mom” or “MiMi” 🙂

    Like

  17. As suggested by others above, I have heard of blog books but mostly through Blogger. Not sure about WordPress. Hadn’t thought of anyone (even children/grands) wanting my blog posts down the road but maybe? Food for thought. Enjoy your grand.

    Like

  18. Wow, Donna, I’ve honestly never thought about this. Now I’m depressed. Not just all those blogs I’ve written are at risk, but the book manuscript I backed up to a jump drive, and all those photos I burned to disks thinking I’d preserved them forever. I guess I better start thinking about Plan B! Thanks for getting me thinking. Ignorance is only bliss until you lose all your hard work. 🙂 #MLSTL

    Like

    1. Wow…food for thought! I’ve always felt that having hard copies of photos I love are important, and have diligently organized photo albums through the years. However, I’m in my fourth year of writing my blog and have given no thought of how I will approach saving any of of it for posterity. This post will get me thinking…Thanks!

      Like

      1. Hi, Diane – I too used to be meticulous at printing off photos and preserving them in photo albums. I now keep my photos all online. Mike’s post reminded me that I need to carefully reconsider my backup options for those as well. Thanks so much for stopping by — I greatly appreciate it.

        Like

    2. Sorry, Christie!
      Yeah I’m afraid external hard drives and CDs have a shelf life too. It’s good to backup to multiple mediums (like you did: to a flashdrive and CDs or something else), but then check they still work, I’d say annually. Then when one medium is starting to fail, add them to something new (eg when your flash drive stops working, copy the data from CDs onto a new flash drive).
      But that’s why I was thinking Family Search, or the Internet Archive, or government historical bodies, would another good backup option. Once you get your content into their hands, they will also help preserve the data.

      Like

  19. You could always turn your blog posts into a book. I backup everything on my computer. My digital photos and images are on DVDs as well as two external hard drives that are duplicate incase something happens to one of them and they are both kept in a safe place. A rep at Best Buy recently told me that CDs and DVDs won’t be available for purchase within the next 2-5 years, and that new computers are being built without an option for burners. We don’t buy movies on DVDs but the same rep told me that new movies are coming out now on USB flash drives. Only time will tell what the future of technology has in store for us. Shared x 4 ♥

    Like

    1. Good point! The Best Buy rep is probably right. My wife’s computer doesn’t have a CD/DVD drive, so she’s always asking me to use mine. But yeah, they are starting to fade, and in 10 years it might be hard to get data off a CD/DVD because nobody will have devices which can read them.

      Like

  20. And here I thought a blog WAS a way to preserve my memories for all time – so much more permanent than an album or something that could get stolen or lost or burned or whatever. I’ll have to read the article. Thanks for a needed wake-up call!

    Like

    1. Hi, Lexie – That’s exactly what I had thought as well. Every time my Mom mentioned that she had printed off my blog posts so that she could ‘preserve’ them…I told her that printing wasn’t necessary, they were preserved online. Mike’s post was a wake-up call indeed. Thanks so much for dropping by.

      Like

  21. My father kept a typed diary in 1962 of his winter in the Antarctic as a radio operator at one of Australia’s Antarctic bases. He bound it himself and it has passed to me now. I tried to donate it to the Library of Tasmania, which is apparently the repository for this kind of historical info, but it could not be accepted. They have very little space and the costs of maintaining and preserving this kind of material are high. So, it stays with me, for now at least. It’s a fascinating read, and I am really pleased to have been able to play a part in its preservation. It’s worth the effort to make a book!

    Like

    1. Hi, Amanda – Mike’s article made me think of you because you were always ahead of your time in ensuring that your documents had a backup, plus a backup to your backup! That’s so cool that your father kept a typed and bound diary of his 1962 Antarctic adventure. What a wonderful thing to have to help you know another side of your father. That makes me long to have a journal (of any type) from my parents or grandparents.
      Wishing you and Phil a great new school year ahead. Please keep in touch.

      Like

  22. Wow, did I need to read this post. Thank you so much! I’ll admit, I never thought about losing my blog posts. And I should. Several people have told me that I should have copies of the posts I write about each of my grandchildren saved for them, for when they’re grown up. After reading your post here, I’m taking the suggestion seriously.

    Like

  23. Hi, Pam – I’m so glad that you have found Mike’s post to be useful. I know that your grandchildren will greatly appreciate you saving posts for each of them. I am just returning home after a week of hanging out with my three-year-old grandson. That post is brewing now! 🙂

    Like

  24. Fortunately I don’t have grandchildren, so this isn’t a problem I have. I’ve been blogging since 2007 and have been posting daily for the past five years. Way too much to save after I’m gone!

    Like

  25. Gosh, it’s something that I often think about. We make photo books now, just in case all our digital photos can’t be accessed one day, but I’m sure our grown up children will chuck them all out one day when we’re dead! I also keep talking about writing a memoir, but gosh, so much time! It would be good to have something that might be in a library for posterity as well as online I guess. Thanks for commenting on my blog earlier and I think it was via #MLSTL.

    Like

    1. Hi, Johanna – I agree that Mike’s post has definitely given us something to think about regardless of the online ‘documents’ we wish to preserve. My husband is always reminding me to backup our key photos in a different format. “They’re safe and sound online”, I have always replied. “Nothing is going to happen to them there.” 🙂

      Like

  26. I have had personal experience with the expiration of digital information within my career. Most of the digital files that I created during my career are no longer accessible as they are saved in obsolete formats or programs that can no longer be read by current hardware and software. Only my data and documents from more recent years are accessible. My husband, who is a bit of a computer geek, used to keep every old computer that he had ever owned (so potentially we could fire them up and try to read the old data). But those computers are a lot of clutter to haul around in our downsized lives. This issue of data retention is a problem not only for bloggers and researchers, but also for libraries, organizations, and government repositories.

    Jude

    Like

  27. Hi. This is an interesting topic and a good discussion (I’ve come to it late and can’t say I have read it all, but the gist of it is thought provoking).

    I have a near copy of my blog text in MS Word and have that periodically stored off line. But I may now think about printing them periodically too.

    I, like a few others here, at starting to use some of my retirement time chasing down my ancestor history. I can find some of the basics – births, deaths, marriages – but there seems very little ‘colour’ in terms of textual description of characters or their environments.

    I think we might underestimate how valuable that extra ‘depth’ that our blogs may provide any relatives that follow us – grandchildren or their offspring. Of course they may choose to ignore it but finding a way of giving them the option is something I will do.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s