While data backup doesn’t sound like the kind of entertainment I want to participate in today, it is a necessary task.   If I do not have a backup plan I surely will have a story to write about in my blog but a story I do not want to experience.   Therefore, I am participating with Genea-Bloggers in:

Data Backup Day March Madness Contest!

Create a post at your geneablog about either a data loss you experienced with your research data or what you’ve done to prevent data loss…  So, are you prepared in case your hard drive fails? Or there is a fire or some other natural disaster? What would you lose if you could not get to your research? And how long would it take to reconstruct that data from scratch?

My plan is perhaps a bit too simple and not as thorough as it needs to be.  I’ve read the sites that the Genea-Bloggers suggested as a part of this “Data Backup Day” and am still not sure which of those options would be best, cost effective and that I will consistently follow.  I’ll continue to consider.

For now, I have 99% or so of all my family photos scanned and stored on my external Seagate FreeAgent 700 GB drive that I can easily disconnect in the event I need to evacuate my house.   Additionally, I have all of my 16 mm films converted and are saved to DVD and roughly 30% of my older photos are on DVD, too.  I have all of  my genealogy database on my website (for the deceased anyway) and several backup copies on my external drive.  As you can see what I have done is not sufficient.  But read on…

If I am not at home to get my external drive, if the drive is the problem or if I cannot get to the drive here’s my backup plan.  My mom has a complete copy (as of the end of 2008) of my media files on her external drive.   She lives about 5 miles or so from my house so it is unlikely (though possible if a natural disaster occurs in our area) that our homes would be affected at the same time.  What we have discussed is that we need to have her come to backup a copy more frequently (Right Mom?  How about today?)

I don’t have any huge data loss stories though I do have mysterious losses.  I know that I scanned many photos in tif format and saved each one (ha, ha) to a floppy disc years ago but I cannot find the numerous floppy discs.  Also, it seems that my computer arbitrarily deletes photos.  My Adobe Photoshop Elements catalog shows a thumbnail image of a photo but it is gone.  In some cases, I’ve recovered the photo from my recycle bin but I have no recollection of ever deleting it and I have good memory, I think 😉

I’ve only been blogging for a short while but there is some information on my blog that I want to keep so I’ve backed up my WordPress blog through its export option and I’ve used a free software called BookSmart that helps you create a book from your blog.  I don’t like it that much because I want to manipulate the data on my own and it seems proprietary.  So, I’m interested in other options.

If I lose my data, I’m screwed and I’ll cry for years.  That sums it up, my backup plan needs help.