Dear Husband: I’m So Sorry for Your Data Loss

This is a guest post by Abbie Grotke, Web Archiving Team Lead.

We recently moved to a new house, and my husband, a professional musician, has been working on setting up a music and recording studio upstairs now that we have the room. Alongside the clarinets, saxophones and keyboard sit a desktop computer (with better recording setup), laptop (with better movie editing software) and various digital recording gadgets.

A recent project in the new studio combined an original musical composition and video with clips from a strange and wonderful 1907 silent film from the collections of the moving image archive at Internet Archive. This led to some experimentation with a brand-new-to-him piece of video editing software. Confusion about how files were stored, saved and exported from that software led to not one but TWO, experiences losing his files: I won’t go into the details here but they involved one getting deleted when he tried to copy from his laptop to desktop computer, and another involved overwriting his project file data accidentally. He had to recreate his entire movie project from scratch three times in all. As I heard repeated the soul-crushing tales of woe and horror via text message and emails from home, my response was: “I wish there was a ‘sorry for your data loss’ card I could send you!”

Then the more helpful “working in digital preservation” wife set about to troubleshoot what had happened when I got home (alas, the files could not be retrieved). More importantly I showed him how to make backups of his files-in-progress to avoid having this happen again. Not all was bad – the resulting movie turned out better in the long run than the original, and he definitely learned a lot about how to use the software and save and backup his files moving forward.

But I kept thinking about those cards… in this day and age of consumers producing and storing so much of their own digital content, and the chance of loss pretty high, wouldn’t it be great to be able to send a note to your distressed Grandma, your upset Aunt or overwrought college student? And spread a little message about digital preservation along the way?

It is unlikely that the major greeting card companies will set about producing such cards, so I thought I would take it upon myself to create a few mockups for some Friday fun, using some of the great images from the SPRUCE project’s Digital Preservation Illustrations, which were created for the Digital Preservation Business Case Toolkit. All those years in art school clearly paid off.

Card mockup by Abbie Grotke; graphics from Digital Preservation Business Case Toolkit

Card mockup by Abbie Grotke; graphics from the Digital Preservation Business Case Toolkit

Card mockup by Abbie Grotke; graphics from Digital Preservation Business Case Toolkit http://wiki.dpconline.org/

Card mockup by Abbie Grotke; graphics from the Digital Preservation Business Case Toolkit

And one for the kiddos:

Card mockup by Abbie Grotke; graphics from Digital Preservation Business Case Toolkit http://wiki.dpconline.org/

Card mockup by Abbie Grotke; graphics from the Digital Preservation Business Case Toolkit

3 Comments

  1. lentigogirl
    September 13, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Perfect Friday the 13th post…

  2. Abbie Grotke
    September 13, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Oops, I just realized the images were out of order – the octopus one should have been “for the kiddos” – but I guess it doesn’t matter!

  3. Jenny Mitcham
    September 16, 2013 at 4:23 am

    This is fantastic! I think you are on to something here re the “sorry for your data loss” cards. Love them!

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