Getting started with your digital archive

The first step in your digital archiving project is to create a plan. This should include what you are going to preserve, how you want to preserve it, and where you want to preserve it. 

Make a list

Begin by making a list of all the material you have. It may help to break this task down into two categories:

  1. Born digital material (things that are already digital like photos on a phone or camera)
  2. Material that needs digitising (physical photographs or posters that you intend to digitise)

Once you have your list, you can decide what to preserve. If you have a particularly large collection, it might be helpful to prioritise which materials you want to preserve first. 

If you have material spread across different locations (e.g. external hard drives, social media accounts, etc.) it may be useful to include details about where your content is stored in your list. 

We have created a content list template that you can access here. (Press, “File” and “Make a copy” to use the template)

Decide how to preserve

Depending on the equipment you have at home, there are several ways you can go about preserving your materials. You can browse our guides and recommended resources for digitising and preserving different types of content and decide which methods will work for your materials. 

Decide where to preserve

It’s best to have a plan in place for where your content is going to be stored before you get started. See our guide on “How to store your digital archive” for more information. 

Document your plan

Make sure you keep a record of your plan so that you can maintain consistency when adding to your archive. Keep a copy of your plan as a plain text file in your archive.