Preservation and risk management policies

+9 votes

Just suggestions to enhance an already wonderful site and application!

I am interested to see if a preservation policy is in place in terms of both the digital objects (photos etc.) as well as the data itself. It is my experience that digital preservation is not considered seriously enough. Wikitree is a collaborative effort and as an individual contributor, I have received numerous digitised photos and letters from family members. My concern is that although all of it is placed on wikitree, we cannot expect wikitree to preserve (and ensure access to e.g. JPEGs in 50 years), or can we?

Having this expressed explicitely would imply that each contributor would be required to ensure that all the time and effort digitising items are not wasted and that we ensure that the data and objects are part of a heritage.

In addition, I could not see any risk management policy (i.e. backup procedures and who is responsible for what (the end-user or wikitree staff).

Maybe I missed it?


in WikiTree Tech by Wynand Van Der Walt G2G2 (2.3k points)

3 Answers

+2 votes
Best answer

Excellent point, well made I do so agree  - it would be good to see forthought displayed on this matter, and great for WT to be seen to be doing so - seems so right for a site whose raison d'etre is exploring and preserving history.
by Wendy Hampton G2G6 Mach 2 (24.0k points)
selected by Mary Hammond

I agree, Wendy. Wynand makes good points, and they're well said.

We do have this:

We could add some detail there. We've made recent adjustments and added extra back-ups. But this changes as our server configuration changes.

I think the LDS church has something we could get involved in, where they store data with their extra long time horizons in mind. But this could raise other concerns. There are even legal considerations. Unlike many sites, not all information here is public and copyright-free.  There are private family photos of living people. Sometimes they need to be deleted. We can delete things from servers we control, but not outside back-ups.

The pages and photos that are public are probably safely backed-up by the likes of, but I'm not 100% sure of that. Something else that could be investigated.

+1 vote

Preserving digitized material could be very expensive.  I am sure that Chris W. has a risk management policy and that his staff  has been informed on it.  I don't think any organization would be successful without one.

Your suggestion is good.  I am sure Chis would be interested in hearing more of your ideas.

by Mary Hammond G2G6 Mach 7 (79.1k points)
What type of digitized material?
Library materials (for example: rare books and special collections, which is already being done in the Library of Congress) documents (Paper, papyrus or microfilmed); newspapers (from the civil war).  As I stated above, it would be very expensive to preserve these articles.
why would wikitree be preserving non digital items? Users upload digital copies of items.
+1 vote

Good question. I'm curious as well. But, I bet this will be a hard one. No one knows what the future holds for technology.
by Michelle Hartley G2G6 Pilot (152k points)

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