It is good practice for a one-namer to document their research and to secure the resultant ONS data accumulated during the study. Consider what you would do if you lost all, or a substantial element of, your ONS data due to an unforeseen misfortune – such as a fire or an unrecoverable file or hard disk corruption.
The Guild is well aware of Guild members who have experienced such catastrophic loss of their ONS data that they have lost their lifetime’s work and have had to give up on their ONS study. For this reason, the Guild offers assistance to its members in safeguarding their study data.
Safeguarding the data is potentially much easier if the data is held in digitised form on a computer, as it can be easily “backed-up” or copied to other locations.
For those who have built or are considering a website, the Members’ Websites Project is designed to provide a safe haven for members’ one-name study websites. Members can upload to the Project’s webserver a one-name study website concerned with any surname which they have registered with the Guild. The website will then be accessible to viewers the world over via an address like http://smith.one-name.net where smith is the subject of the one-name study. They can include their research data, their trees, their images, their histories, hypotheses and conclusions – everything in their one-name study. All the material uploaded can be viewed world-wide and will be available to future generations because the Guild will preserve your study if you join.
For other computer-based data, one-namers should consider:
Routinely backing-up ONS data on a regular basis, such as to CD/DVD or a separate removable hard-disk.
Periodically sending back-up data to another location. (For Guild members, one option is to send back-ups to the e-librarian).
Uploading data to a remote (web-based) archive location. The Guild offers a variety of different facilities for this, and Guild members should consult the Guild Librarian for advice on the best one to use for their data.
For paper material, it may be advisable to photocopy (or digitise) all essential paper material from your ONS study. Guild members may be able to take advantage of the excellent rates (you can contact the e-Librarian for details of the costs involved) which the Guild has negotiated for digitising documents.
The Guild also encourages its members to deposit copies of their ONS with appropriate organisations, e.g. the Society of Genealogists, County Record Offices or Local Studies Centres. The reasons for doing this include:
- Making the results of your study available to a wider audience
- Providing a secure off-site location for your information
- Securing your study results should you die
As well as safeguarding your one-name study during your lifetime, you may also want to determine what should happen to it after your death. Perhaps the ideal is to be able to pass your study on to another person who is researching the registered name and can continue your work. Whether you have managed to identify such an individual or not, arrangements should be made for the preservation of your ONS after your death. Whatever you decide to do regarding the future of your ONS research, please consider making provision in your will for your executors to pass on your papers. Guild members should consider utilising the Will Codicil drawn up by a Guild member who was a solicitor.
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