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Take Control of Your Digital Legacy

Book Description

Preserve your data for posterity!

How do you want to be remembered by future generations? You can make a will to handle your physical possessions, but what about your digital life--photos, videos, email, documents, and the like? This ebook, written by tech expert Joe Kissell, covers many aspects of preserving such electronic ephemera as part of your digital legacy.

If you're not at the stage of life where you can think about this for yourself, consider that you may have to do so for your parents or other relatives. It's not all about posterity either, since following Joe's advice will also help loved ones access your key accounts and important info if you're incapacitated, which can happen at any time.

The book will help you with these essential tasks:

  • Identify your key digital assets: online accounts, photos, audio files, videos, passwords, documents, email, and more.
  • Plan for each type of digital asset based on your priorities for today, for shortly after you are no longer around, and for posterity. Joe explains the ideal file formats to use, how to deal with social media sites, the best ways to digitize paper documents and photos, and strategies for sharing passwords with family members, among much else.
  • Communicate your wishes in a "digital will" and designate someone to be its "digital executor." The book includes a template document that you can develop into a personalized digital will.
  • Preserve your data for the future. You'll consider types of archival storage media, cloud-based storage services, backups, and what instructions to provide about maintaining your data as file formats and storage media types evolve.

Whether you just want to ensure that your heirs get copies of your favorite family photos and a few key documents or you want to catalog and preserve tens of thousands of digital items, this book helps you make smart decisions about your digital legacy.

Questions answered include:

  • What strategies can I use for sorting and preserving email?
  • How can I ensure that my email account will be available to those wrapping up my estate?
  • What if I have digital data that should be destroyed when I die?
  • What should I do with my huge photo collection (both digital and paper)?
  • How can I make my passwords available to those who will need them--but keep them private for now?
  • What should I think about when handing down purchased audio and video files?
  • What should happen to my Facebook account when I'm no longer around?
  • What choices are available for keeping my digital archive available and backed up?
  • How long should I expect archival media to last?
  • Should I write an autobituary?
  • Are online digital legacy services any good?
  • How will organizing all this stuff benefit me while I'm alive?

Table of Contents

  1. Read Me First
    1. Updates and More
  2. Introduction
  3. Quick Start
  4. Envision Your Digital Legacy
    1. What Your Digital Legacy Means
    2. How Digital Legacy Planning Can Improve Your Life Now
    3. Understand the Challenges
    4. Review: Estate Planning Basics
  5. Inventory Your Digital Assets
    1. Begin Drafting Your Digital Will
    2. Inventory Online Accounts
    3. Inventory Your Media
    4. Inventory Software
    5. Inventory Other Personal Data
    6. Inventory Digital Currency
  6. Make High-level Decisions
    1. Determine Your Priorities
    2. Decide What to Preserve and Discard
    3. Choose a Digital Executor
    4. Decide on File Formats
  7. Digitize Photos and Documents
    1. Take Preliminary Steps
    2. Scan Photos and Documents Yourself
    3. Outsource Scanning
    4. Name and Organize Digitized Files
    5. Back Up Digitized Files
    6. Decide What to Do with the Originals
  8. Deal with Passwords
    1. Use a Password Manager
    2. Highlight Key Accounts
    3. Give Your Digital Executor Access to Your Passwords
  9. Deal with Email
    1. Understand Email Complexities
    2. Decide How Your Email Should Be Handled
    3. Add Email Instructions to Your Digital Will
  10. Deal with Social Media
    1. Review Your Social Media Accounts
    2. Decide What to Do with Each Account
  11. Deal with Other Digital Data
    1. Handle Your Media
    2. Handle Your Software
    3. Handle Digital Currency
    4. Handle Other Cloud Data
    5. Handle Other Local Data
    6. Handle Backups
  12. Preserve Your Data for Posterity
    1. Choose Archival Media
    2. Create a Data Archive
    3. Store Media Safely (and Redundantly)
    4. Refresh Your Archives
    5. Decide What to Do with Your Hardware
  13. Create a Legacy Dossier
    1. Instructions
    2. How to Be Me
    3. A Copy of Your Will
    4. Your Digital Will
    5. Your Data (or Where to Find It)
    6. Your Autobituary
    7. Genealogical and Biographical Data
    8. Store Your Dossier Safely and Accessibly
    9. Keep Your Dossier Up to Date
  14. About This Book
    1. Ebook Extras
    2. About the Author
    3. About the Publisher
  15. Copyright & Fine Print