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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Nov > Nov 29

Re: Lost Collections?

From: Carol Maltby <carolmaltby.nul>
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 13:26:45 -0500
Archived: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 16:14:56 -0500
Subject: Re: Lost Collections?


>From: Nick Balaskas <Nikolaos.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 15:55:37 -0500 (Eastern Standard Time)
>Subject: Re: Lost Collections?

>Unfortunately, much of what each ufologist knows about UFOs that
>has kept his/her interest and continued involvement in the study
>of this phenomenon has never been recorded on paper. This
>includes important facts and information that were passed on to
>us by friends and associates and even total strangers - as
>frequently happens after a talk on UFOs when members of the
>audience come forward to reveal what they know but never told
>anyone about.

That problem applies also to information collected in online
forums and mailing Lists.

Quite a few of the archives of forums I've been a member of no
longer exist, and the substantial amounts of useful information
on them is now lost. Many of these were places where people
shared their own amateur research freely, and a lot of
conversations benefited from the diversity of backgrounds.

Some forums were taken down at the whim of the owner, with no
notice given to participants and no chance to have them backed
up for personal use. Some went down because of technical
glitches or human error. Some were devastated due to widespread
hacking or virus, such as happened with EZBoard several years
ago. Sometimes a copy of deleted forums may have survived due to
the intervention of one of the participants who thought to make
a copy, but something later happened to that copy and it too was
lost without backup.

I lost access to a year's worth of private messaging records on
one forum when the owner (based in Europe, and with spotty
English skills) says he deleted the files accidentally and
couldn't get them back. Later it turned out that some of the
messages I'd had there might have been useful evidence regarding
a tragic (and possibly criminal) event. There are predators
online, and they thrive when their posting history and
institutional memory is lost. Keep both digital and hard copies
of anything you might need

We can all pay more attention to remembering to keep personal
copies of any forum postings we make that we might want to
access later. But along with this comes a need to make sure that
forum owners are aware that the forums they and their posters
have put so much work into are vulnerable.

This goes for blogs and websites as well. But it also applies to
those cardboard cartons and file folders full of specialist
information we've gathered, that our relatives don't necessarily
value the way we do. That's if we even have relatives to take
care of our possessions at our death. I remember being called in
to buy some books at the death of an editor who many of you
would have considered a household name at one point. The
landlord, whose job it was to empty out the apartment, spoke
about the dumpster full of files and correspondence he'd had
hauled away to the dump. I didn't have the heart to tell him it
was probably worth more than the value of his house.

Errol, how redundant is your back-up of the UFO UpDates
archives? If something happened to you, do you have plans in
place so that someone could take over for you? Are those plans
known to those who would take charge of your personal affairs in
the event of your death or serious illness? Do they know what to
do with the UFO UpDates archives? Do they have passwords,
account numbers? Is it all meticulously documented, along with
backup people if the designated heir can't or won't take care of
the records?

Better to have a plan and no emergency, than an emergency and no
plan.

Carol Maltby



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