It’s a cold out there, Redbirds! It might be a chilly start to the month but just remember—it’s getting close to spring break! Before you escape the snow and hit the beach, many of you will be busy on your laptops cranking out midterm papers, assignments, and exams that you’ll probably email last minute. Times that by 20,000-plus students on campus and that adds up to a lot of data! Include your cell phone pictures, your Twitter feed, your Facebook timeline … have you ever thought about how all this will be saved?

Traditionally, archival repositories have worked with only paper and objects. But archivists have increasingly found themselves working with digital materials and have had to come up with ways to not only preserve the digital object but make it accessible for researchers. In some ways, working with digital objects is similar to working with physical paper files. But with new hardware and software technologies and new social media platforms emerging every day, we are quickly finding that our old way of doing things isn’t going to always work in the digital age.

This month, we’ll be looking at digital records and asking some important questions. Can’t we just print all of this stuff out? What’s the big deal with digital versus paper? What can you do to save your own digital files? Our University Archives graduate assistant Samantha Wolter will be guest blogging every Monday this February, talking about the importance of digital archives and what we can do now to preserve these records for the future. Have questions about your own digital files? Maybe some digital photos you found on a departmental hard drive or your own personal photos on your home computer? We’ll be taking questions all month so get your digital questions ready!

This month, we want to help you feel less afraid and more in control of your digital archives world. Happy February, Redbirds and we’ll see you online!