Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
A book to evangelize and explain digital preservation to a wide range of computer users.
A book to evangelize and explain digital preservation to a wide range of computer users.
114 backers pledged $2,272 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Files That Last project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

$2,272

114

The computer age is, ironically, the age of vanishing data. Files become useless because of system "upgrades." Disks go bad. Websites vanish. This happens not just to individuals but to huge organizations and businesses. There's a field of study dedicated to preventing this; it's called “digital preservation.”

BUT — digital preservation today is an obscure niche for people who work in libraries and archives. The books on it are expensive academic volumes. Promoting wide awareness of preservation issues needs a book that's aimed at everygeek. This is the book which I propose to create. It will be called Files that Last, and will be published DRM-free (naturally), as an e-book. A sample chapter is available for download.


Its key elements will be:

  • Motivation — Why preservation is important and can be accomplished with a reasonable level of effort.
  • Setting of strategy levels — Defining suitable levels of strategy, ranging from the individual user to the big organization with critical data.
  • Discussion of backup and archiving — Appropriate methods, redundancy, and use of the Internet.
  • Media issues — Assessing the suitability of media for long-term storage.
  • Internet concerns — The advantages and risks of information that lives on the Net.
  • Metadata — Understanding metadata and its tools, and using them to keep files meaningful.
  • Format issues — Choosing formats that give the best chance of longevity.

The target audience will be individual users, system administrators, and students. The reader is assumed to be computer-literate but not a specialist.

E-books make self-publishing a saner proposition than it was in the old days. I'm looking at Smashwords, an electronic distributor that sells DRM-free e-books directly and also markets them through channels such as Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, and Sony.

E-book publishing doesn't mean I can just throw what I write on the Net and expect anyone to buy it, though. The money from this project will not only help to pay for my time, but will let me get professional proofreading and cover graphic design, both of which are important to a successful book.

I really think the publication of this book will be a milestone in bringing digital preservation to a wider audience. If you agree, I hope you'll support the project.

Risks and challenges

At the start of the project, I've written 30,000 words, between a third and a half of the total. This is a book that requires research. I'm familiar with many aspects of digital preservation, having worked for the Harvard Library for nine years, but there's a lot I'm learning as I'm writing the book. I'll be reaching out to the preservation community and others to help make the information as accurate and complete as possible.
One risk is that I might have to take on other paying work that will consume a large part of my time. In the worst case, this will delay completion of the book. I pledge to finish it regardless, and I'll keep my writing status up to date on garymcgath.com. I have a record of finishing the projects that I commit to, and of doing them on time.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

Ask a question

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A licensed copy of the published book.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    66 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A pre-publication copy as soon as it's available, in addition to the final copy.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    44 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    The above rewards plus a license to distribute the book to up to 50 students.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    The above rewards plus listing in the published book as a Sponsor.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (36 days)