I create digital files
  • 1 Use good file names
  • Make them unique, descriptive, and consistent.
  • Only use letters, numbers, underscores, or periods.
  • Include a version number or a date (YYYYMMDD) for easy sorting.
file name examples
  • 2 Back up your files
  • Store files in a place that is backed up regularly and automatically.
  • Store important files in multiple places - such as an external hard drive, network storage, or cloud storage - that are in different geographic locations.
  • 3 Avoid proprietary file formats
  • If you can, save your files in open-standard instead of proprietary formats.
  • Open formats include .png, .tif, .pdf.a, .rtf, OpenDocument formats, .wav, .avi, .csv, and .xml..
recommended file formats
  • 4 If scanning, use best practices
  • Create both preservation and access copies. Preservation files should be at a higher resolution, with few or no changes (color correction, cropping, etc.). Access copies can be smaller, altered files.
  • Where possible, choose lossless file formats for your preservation files.
  • fileformatsfordigitizationIn brief: File Formats for Digitization handout (.pdf)
  • More comprehensive: The National Archives and Records Administration has recommended scanning guidelines (.pdf).
  • 5Know your public records and how long to keep them
  • If you are an employee of a state or local agency in North Carolina, your work-related records (including digital) are public record.
  • Luckily, your "records retention schedules" detail how long to keep each type of record. Visit the records management website of the State Archives to learn more.
  • If you organize your records according to the way they are organized in your records retention schedule, you and your coworkers can easily locate records that must be kept different periods of time.
  • Confused? Contact the State Archives. We're happy to help.
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  • Are you a state employee who would like to incorporate these steps into their existing workflows? Please feel free to contact us.