Episode 57 - Preservation: How Does the World's Largest Archive, the LDS Church, Do It?

podcast episode Sep 15, 2014

This week Fisher opens with information of concern for Ashkenazi Jewish women from the New York Times.  Since most Jewish women in the US are Ashkenazi, the article warns they need to be tested for the genetic mutation that is associated with high rates of breast and ovarian cancer.  Studies show that such women are at high risk for carrying the so called "BRCA" gene, made famous by Angelina Jolie last year, when she opted for a double mastectomy because the chance of her getting breast cancer was so high.  Next, Fisher shares the story of a British man who fulfilled the wish of his dying father by locating the second family of his bigamist grandfather in Australia, including his father's half sister.
Fisher then does two segments with Rick Turley, the Assistant Historian and Recorder for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The Mormons have collected family history material since the 1890s, including microfilms by the millions, and now digitized materials.  What can we learn from how the LDS Church preserves their priceless and valuable records?  Rick will have some important advice you'll want to pay close attention to.
Then, Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority, weighs in on other areas of concern.  It's all about preservation, this week on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio!

Transcript of Episode 57

Host: Scott Fisher

Segment 1 Episode 57

Fisher: Hello Genies and welcome back to another edition of Extreme Genes Family History Radio, America’s Family History Show where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. I am Fisher your Radio Roots Sleuth, and what a show we have for you this week! You know we spend a lot of time on here helping you with your preservation. Our Preservation Authority Tom Perry will of course be here later in the program. But before that, we’ll be talking to Rick Turley. He is the Assistant Church Historian and recorder for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons. And as you probably know the LDS Church has been gathering family history materials for public use, for well over a century. And just like any of us their family history department has a problem, how to preserve the millions of rolls of microfilm they gathered over much of the 20th century. And how to be sure not to lose the digital materials they’ve been gathering in the modern era. We’ll talk to Rick on where and how these materials are protected, what plans they have to preserve rare documents in the future, and ask him what we as individuals can do to assure that years of our efforts aren’t lost in a single nauseating crash. I can already tell you he’ll have some very specific advice and a lot of inside scoop on what their professionals have learned. 

We had a great response through our ExtremeGenes.com poll last week. We asked you “How far back by generation your earliest photo goes?” Number one was, second great grandparent at 36%, number two was fourth great grandparent at 27%, third was earlier than fourth great, a fifth or even sixth great grandparent at 17%, and fourth was third great grandparent at 14%. That’s the category I fit into. Thanks for the response! This week’s poll asks, “What is the highest number of husbands found in your family line for a single woman, two, five, or eight?” Let us know now at ExtremeGenes.com. We received a great email from Carrie Mickelson in Little Rock, listening on FM 1029 KARN News Radio. She wrote, “Fisher, loved hearing your visit with Shaun in Cincinnati, about not only finding the shadow box display of the World War II medals, but also the lengths he went to, to return them to the family. I’ve been at both ends of such a situation having found a family bible that I got into the hands of a descendent in Michigan, but I also received a photograph of a great, great grandfather from a stranger in Pennsylvania. I can’t really say which one feels better. Both ways it’s awesome!” Thanks for that Carrie, you are so right! It always seems to come back to you when you’re helping someone else out. If you have a comment on the show or a question of any kind, we’d love to hear from you. You can email me at [email protected] or you can call our toll free Find Line at 1-234-56-GENES, that’s 1-234-56-GENES, or you can drop us a line at our Facebook page and please while you’re there give us a Like. We would love to heave you along as part of our growing Extreme Genes Facebook community. It’s time once again for your family histoire news from the pages of ExtremeGemes.com. We start this week with this, The New York Times is reporting that Ashkenazi Jewish women are being told it’s important to be screened for genetic mutations that’s associated with high rates of breast and ovarian cancer. Most Jewish people in the United States are Ashkenazi and the practice of testing women for these genetic mutations only when other women within their family have a history of cancer, is now being criticised as “Insufficient.” A study in Israel is recommending that all Ashkenazi women should have routine screenings for these dangerous genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2. BRCA is the type of genetic mutation that caused Angelina Jolie to have a preventative double mastectomy last year, even though she’s never been diagnosed with cancer. A director of the Medical Genetics Institute in Jerusalem says this should be offered as a universal screening test. We don’t have many diseases with a mutation that so clearly effects risk as BRCA. Read the full article from the link at speaking of which, ExtremeGenes.com

Story number two, the Thorne Gazette from the UK has an amazing story of a man who went about researching his family because of his father’s dying wish. The father John Jackson was born in 1923 and had discovered from his birth certificate that his birth name was actually “Pepper.” His mother revealed to him that his birth father had been a bigamist who left his English family and started a whole new family in Australia. John was unable to locate his Aussie family before his passing. But recently, his son Ian after fifteen years fulfilled his promise to his dying father made in 1998. He found John’s last surviving sister. It has nothing but a very happy ending and you can read all about it and check out the photos from the link at ExtremeGenes.com. And coming up next, our guest will be Rick Turley, Assistant Historian and Recorder for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons. What is the LDS church doing to preserve the millions of microfilm rolls and billions of family history images that it’s collected over the years? And what have they learned that can help all of us to be sure our family records last a long time? Rick’s got a lot of “Ah Ha!” moments waiting for us next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio ad ExtremeGenes.com

Segment 2 Episode 57

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Rick Turley

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and on the line with us today we’ve got Rick Turley. He is the Assistant Church Historian and Recorder for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons!  And as you may well know of course, FamilySearch.org is a great supporter of the show and so many people save a lot of their materials through the LDS Church, so we thought we’d get Rick on today and talk about preservation a little bit. Rick, welcome to the show. Nice to have you!

Rick: Thank you. Good to be here. 

Fisher: The church has a huge vault that I think many people understand is packed in a granite chuck of rock. Tell us about that. How long has it been around? How did that get developed? And what’s the background with it? 

Rick: Sure. About a half century ago, church leaders became concerned that the microfilm we were collecting from all around the world needed to be preserved in spite of what was happening in the world at large. It was at the height of the Cold War and people were worrying about you know global attack and so forth. So they made a decision to drill a series of holes into a block of granite on the side of a canyon south east of Salt Lake City. They drilled what ultimately ended up being six vaults in there so that the material that’s deepest in the mountain is actually about seven hundred feet underneath a block of solid granite. 

Fisher: Wow!

Rick: And then, inside those six vaults they put a series of shelves, and into those shelves eventually went the 2.4 million reels of microfilm that were accumulated over the years.

Fisher: So this is still in use today of course? 

Rick: Yes. It’s still in use, although we have shifted from microfilm technology to digital technology as the primary form of gathering and distributing information. So, one of the things we began doing years ago was to take those reels of microfilm and to turn them into digital form. Last year we converted about, I think the number was something like 285 million images from microfilm to digital. And those digital images then go into a program that we call “Family Search Indexing” and that allows volunteers around the world at home in their pyjamas and their stocking feet to look at images and type the vital information so that these images are then searchable by computers. 

Fisher: Wow!

Rick: Since we launched that, over a billion names had been indexed by hundreds of thousands of volunteers, and were grateful to these volunteers around the world who have given their time for this purpose.

Fisher: And these are Mormons and members of other faiths, or members of no faith at all?

Rick: That’s right. Whoever would like to volunteer, and that group of volunteers, hundreds and thousands of them as I have mentioned have taken these records gathered from around the world, billions of names, and are rapidly making them available to people everywhere who can then search their family history.

Fisher: Boy, that’s exciting stuff. Now, talk about the microfilms. You mentioned 2.4 million microfilms, then you talked about billions of images, obviously there are many images on each of these microfilms, how long before you can get 2.4 million reels actually digitized and indexed?

Rick: Well, we should wrap that up within the next decade. When we first started it seemed like an impossible task. Some of our people who examined the problem but essentially said, “Well, it’s going to cost far more than you can afford and it’s going to take far longer than you have.” But we decided to get started anyway. Our belief was that if we got started, the technology would advance at such a pace that we would eventually develop a rate that would allow us to get it done in a relatively short period of time. And that in fact is happening.

Fisher: Isn’t that exciting. That’s great stuff. I’m always seeing new things appear there that’s been indexed out by volunteers around the world. So, with the microfilms, what do you do now? Do you keep them as they are? Do you re-digitize them? I mean because disks and digitized material eventually, depending on what it’s kept on, the digitized information disappears does it not?

Rick: We do two things. First of all; we hang on to that microfilm. That becomes our original from which we can later re-scan the material if that’s necessary. Also, some records that were microfilmed were later destroyed by natural disasters. So we have what’s actually the earliest copy of that material that’s still in existence. So we’re going to retain that. We’re putting it into compact shelving and keeping it inside the granite mountain. But we’re also developing a way of preserving those digital images for future generations. We looked for a long time to see if there wasn’t some kind of archable medium that could be used to store digital information and perpetuity. Ultimately, the conclusion we came to is that there is no medium that is good enough to preserve digital information and perpetuity. So at that point we developed a new model. Rather than thinking about the underlying medium, you know, the disk or the...

Fisher: Right, and what it’s made of.

Rick: That’s right. Rather than thinking about the physical medium, we began thinking about the information as the record itself. And we determined that using digital technology we could store multiple copies of records and use computer programs to constantly check the integrity of those records. And if we found that one was beginning to deteriorate, we could pull the tape that was storing it or other medium, and we could put in a new one and then use the other copies that were still intact and made another perfect copy on to this new medium. So by doing that perpetually we can just push forward all of those digital images in virtually perfect order for generations to come.

Fisher: So in other words, you never have a crash [Laughs] because you have so many different places of backup?

Rick: That’s right. If you store enough copies and something happens to one, you still have others from which you can make using digital technology, another perfect copy. That’s the beauty of digital. If you have a perfect copy, you can make another perfect copy. You know, with photography, every time you make a copy you lose a little bit of the information.

Fisher: Right.

Rick: It becomes blurrier and blurrier. But with digital technology, as long as you have a perfect copy you can make another one, and if you store enough perfect copies and if one goes bad you can take that bad one throw it away and make yet another perfect copy. And by storing them in multiple locations, if there’s an earthquake, or a tornado, or a flood, or a hurricane, you can still have other perfect copies that have not yet been affected from which you can later make a copy to put back in that place where it was destroyed. 

Fisher: So we were talking about the vault moments ago, but you say there are many other places where you store this?

Rick: Ultimately, we’ll have a system that will store perfect digital copies multiple locations so that despite world events we’ll still have good copies from which we can serve people.

Fisher: We’re talking to Rick Turley. He is the Assistant Church Historian and Recorder for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons, who have collected more genealogical material than pretty much, well, anybody ever. And Rick, it’s still happening is it not?

Rick: It is. We continue to collect a lot of information around the world to help people in searching their family histories.  

Fisher: How many volunteers do you have out now? Are they still microfilming when they gather material, or do they do it digitally right from the get-go now?

Rick: There are camera teams around the world and the numbers vary, but over the years they’ve varied two to three hundred teams, and now a days they use principally digital cameras to capture the information. Using digital cameras have a number of advantages. For one thing, you can see at the moment of capture whether or not you’ve made a good image. In the old days with microfilm cameras, if you took a shot, you had to take that microfilm and ship it to a processing plant, and the processing plant would then develop the film and then people studying those albums would learn whether or not you made a good shot. Now with digital technology, the person who’s got the camera can look at a screen and determine whether or not they have a good capture immediately, so that decreases the number of bad images taken, increases the total quality. Then those digital images can be fairly easily shipped to where they can then go into our system of Family Search Indexing. 

Fisher: From digitize to getting them online at FamilySearch.org. How fast is the turnover?

Rick: You know, I’m not sure off the top of my head. I’m no longer associated with FamilySearch.org because I moved over to the church history department from our family history department. But it’s relatively fast compared to the way it used to be. It used to be, you’d have to take that microfilm and ship it, and shipping alone could take weeks before the microfilm would arrive. Then they had to queue up and wait for processing. Now none of that is necessary. You don’t have to ship it physically, you just transfer it electronically and that happens very, very quickly. And then once it arrives, it can be processed much more quickly than it was before. 

Fisher: Rick, you mentioned some things about this transfer of digital stuff earlier in the segment, in the vault and how you’re looking for the integrity and when it starts to break down. What can we as individuals take from that as far as preserving our own personal data?

Rick: Well, I’m afraid that many people who use digital cameras today or who store their family history information digitally are in for a horrible surprise. One day the hard drive on which they store all this material, is going to crash. And if they don’t have a backup, that’s going to be the end of it all. I can give you a terrible example from my own family. One of my sons got married last year and there were three photographers at the wedding. So, those of us who are family members didn’t take a lot of photographs ourselves, there were three photographers there all working for the same company. They took video, they took still photos of the wedding, spectacular images, and then they put it all on one hard drive where they were going to clean them all up then make multiple copies to send out. Right at that moment when they had them all on one hard drive, the hard drive crashed. And despite all their later efforts with technology just to try to recover the photos, they were all lost. We don’t have a single photograph from any of those three photographers.

Fisher: Oh!

Rick: Well, there’s going to be people all around the world who have been storing information on their hard drives, they’re going to experience something quite similar unless they do what we do, unless they make multiple good copies and transfer those from one medium to another. So I’d recommend that you first of all get a computer that has a ray to ray technology that essentially has two hard drives that are constantly checking each other.

Fisher: Right.

Rick: You pay a little bit more for that but it’s well worth the effort. Then I would recommend backing it up on a regular basis to an off-site hard drive.

Fisher: Are you talking like a Cloud?

Rick: Do it that way and then I would also in addition to putting in the Cloud I would also put it on a portable hard drive and maybe put that into your safety deposit box. If you do that, you have all these multiple copies and if one goes bad, you still got a good copy from which you can make a copy to transfer. 

Fisher: Okay. What about individual disks you know, like DVDs?

Rick: Yeah. Disks are wonderful, thumb drives are wonderful, but I wouldn’t trust a disk more than about three years. They could last ten but that might only last four. If you had just one copy, that’s not enough. If you made multiple copies and then just keep every other year transferring those to new disks and then checking them to make sure that they’re good, that’s a better way of going.

Fisher: Boy it sounds like an awful lot of work, doesn’t it, you know, especially if you have a lot of stuff to be making a project every other year. But if you value it that much you got to do it. 

Rick: You have to do it and I wouldn’t depend necessarily on a commercial service for doing it for you. There are some commercial services that offer you know, storing everything you have in the cloud, but that depends on a lot of factors that can create problems you might not be aware of. Software that they download on to your computer might not run correctly with your machine, or the typo between you and the cloud may be clogged before all the data gets loaded. There are lots of things that can go wrong. I’ve seen that happen with friends who lost a lot of data because they relied on a commercial service to do it all for you. Yes, use a commercial service. They’re wonderful, I use one myself. But don’t let that be your only copy.

Fisher: All right, great advice from Rick Turley. He is the Assistant Church Historian and Recorder for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And Rick, you bring up a point here, maybe we turn it over to somebody else, maybe somebody like Family Search or the LDS Church, or a local library, let’s talk more about that and what we look for in an organization and how they might preserve our material, when we return in five minutes on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com

Segment 3 Episode 57

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Rick Turley

Fisher: And we are back! It is Extreme Genes Family History Radio, America's Family History Show. It is Fisher here along with Rick Turley, he is the assistant Church Historian and Recorder for the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints, the Mormons, who of course have stored family history material going back, what, to the 1890s or something like that, Rick?

Rick: Well, we began collecting family history materials in a systematic way in the 1890s. We began using microfilm in 1938. And of course, we have a vast amount of information stored in that microfilm and increasingly in digital form.

Fisher: And we were talking about what the church does to maintain this stuff, because as we know, disks and hard drives crash and digital material is lost. And Rick was taking about their process of keeping it going as an institution. So obviously institutions outlive human beings, Rick, and that kind of leads us to this next area here, we're all going to move on at some point, and many of us who've gathered a lot of information want to make sure that our life's work is not lost. What kind of advice would you give to people who are looking to share their material with an institution?

Rick: If you can find an institution that will take your material as a donation and treat it well, then that's the best way to preserve it in the long run. If you don't find such an institution, then the best thing to do is to find perhaps a relative who has that kind of determination. But there is a lot of risk in passing it down from one family member to another.

Fisher: Yes.

Rick: One of those risks is that you might store it in a place that you think is safe, and it might turn out not to be safe. For example, a lot of people store their family treasures in their attic or in their basement, and unfortunately both of those locations will probably cause the material to deteriorate far too fast. I've seen many families in which you have someone who treasures all of this family history information, then the person passes away, everybody comes into town for the funeral and to try to resolve the estate matters, and I've watched a lot of material unfortunately go out in the dumpster, as family members don't recognize the importance of material when they're quickly cleaning out the home.

Fisher: I can't believe how many people I found with family bibles they said they got from a dumpster when somebody died.

Rick: It happens all the time. You would think that the family member, the close family members, the people who are sort of the central genealogists of a particular family would have the sensitivity not to do that, but at the time of death, everybody's rushing around, you know, they'll see a box of papers or they'll see a stack of old things, they'll think, "Well, they're just old papers." And they'll throw them away. The other thing that happens is that these materials often just get destroyed in some type of disaster, house burns down, the basement floods, the attic overheats and causes material that's up there to deteriorate rapidly. Another thing that happens sometimes when you pass material down from generation to generation is that it gets loved to death. They get handed down to somebody who loves an original letter or photograph, so they frame it and they put it in their living room in front of the window so it gets good light, and within a short period of time, its deteriorated. If you can find an institution that will take the material and store it well, that's the best thing to do. So what kind of institution do you look for? You look for an institution that's willing to take your material, store it in the kinds of storage containers that will cause it to last the longest period of time in the kinds of storage rooms where it will last for a long time.

Fisher: Right.

Rick: There's something that you can learn about this for your own individual storage purposes. When people say to me, "How do I store this in my home if I don't want to give it away?" I tell them, "Put it in an archival kind of box or folder, and then put that in an interior closet space at the same level where you're living. So if you're living on the main floor, find a closet that doesn't have a side that's part of the outside wall of your house, because if it has a wall that's part of the outside wall of your house, it’s going to change in temperature and relative humidity rather rapidly as the weather outside changes. You store it in an inside closet, then you do several thing simultaneously. You put it into an environment where it’s going to be much stable over time, because it’s the fluctuations that cause the fibers to expand and contract, expand and contract and essentially tear themselves apart. And the other thing that you do is that you keep them in the dark. Unfortunately, sunlight is very deteriorating to materials that we love. So I don't recommend taking rare family photographs and documents and framing them and hanging them up in a room. All light will cause them to deteriorate, and sunlight is particularly bad. If you're going to hang them up, if you just have to have them someplace where you to show them to people in a frame, I would make certain that they're framed with museum glass that has ultra violet filtering built into it.

Fisher: Right.

Rick: It will continue to fade, but it will fade at a far slower rate. But if you can find an institution that is willing to store it for you under good archival conditions, then you can make certain that that material will remain there from generation to generation, because most institutions store things under better conditions than we can as individuals, and most institutions have a perpetual kind of life. Now I'm not saying that a local historical society couldn't somehow or another eventually close down or deteriorate or burn down, but if you can find a good institution that will keep it under good conditions, so much the better in terms of improving the likelihood of making it last. What we do in Salt Lake City to preserve materials, our great amount of records vault where we store a lot of our family history materials in, that naturally maintains itself at an even temperature and relative humidity year round. There's some fluctuation, but they're not nearly what you find in a home, for example, or in an office space. In the Church History Library in downtown Salt Lake City, we have equipment that controls temperature, relative humidity and it filters out particulates. We store them in vaults that have think walls made out of steel and concrete, and all of that that together makes certain that material is stored in the dark under ideal kinds of storage conditions, and can last for 100s if not 1000s of additional years.

Fisher: Isn't that interesting that paper is one of those things that actually lasts a whole lot longer than our modern digital stuff.

Rick: It does. You know, one of the great ironies is that as human beings have increased their technologies, improved their technologies, they've actually decreased the life of the material on which they're storing information. So you think about the oldest records carved in stone, you know, stone will last 100s of 1000s of years potentially if it’s not, you know, in the weather.

Fisher: Sure.

Rick: Sometimes, you know, if you look in some grave markers that have been around for only 100 years or so, if they're soft stone, you'll see the deterioration, but if its hard stone and its stored out of the weather, then it will last for 100s of 1000s of years. It moved from there to clay, you know, 1000s of years ago that people started using clay. Clay tablets to store information. And those clay tablets are still around after 1000s of years. Eventually people moved from clay to papyrus, a reed that you can split and cross lay and then pound it to a form of, an early form of paper. In fact, the work paper comes from papyrus. Papyrus stored in the dry sands of Egypt and elsewhere, it’s still around after 1000s of years. It’s organic, so it’s going to deteriorate faster than the clay or stone, but it can last a long time.

Fisher: Sure.

Rick: Along comes paper, and paper, I've seen papers 100s of years old high quality papers that have been stored well and they're still as soft and flexible as the day that they were created. On the other hand, I’ve seen paper from, say, the 1880s that is not made out of good materials and that has not been stored in good conditions, then you can take a leaf of that paper and blow on it and it will break into lots of pieces.

Fisher: Yes. I recently obtained a Fisher Family bible from the 1840s, very, very delicate sheets. And I had to put them in acid free sleeves, and like you say, keep them in the dark in order to display it, I decided I would scan them and fix them up with Photoshop on photographic paper, and then I framed that, you know, so that I could keep the originals well stored. But it is amazing how delicate they can be. And yet, we've got books that are in libraries that go back to the 1500s easily.

Rick: Yes. The first printed books go back of course to the latter, part of the 1400s. And then we have manuscripts that were written on paper that go back many, many years before that. So paper can be a very good medium. Regrettably, when we went from paper to magnetic media, such as our cassette tapes, we ended around where the material lasts perhaps a few decades. If you have old cassette tapes, you know, twenty, thirty years old and you want to play them.

Fisher: Right.

Rick: You probably notice a lot of bleed through from one layer of tape to the next. If you don't transfer them to a digital format, over time they're going to deteriorate entirely. Then you move from tapes to a lot of the disks that we use nowadays. And as I said in the earlier segment, I wouldn't trust those beyond just a couple of years. If you take all of this and apply it, you can see that with stone, you have 100s of 1000s of years, clay, 10s of 1000s of years, papyrus 1000s of years, paper, 100s of years, magnetic media 10s of years, and now with our newest technology, just years. As the technology increases in its sophistication, its lifespan decreases.

Fisher: Interesting. And what's going to happen from here? Who knows? Rick, it’s been a pleasure visiting with you. Thank you so much for your time. He's the Assistant Church Historian and Recorder for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Great information! Thanks so much.

Rick: Thank you.

Segment 4 Episode 57

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Hey, welcome back to Extreme Genes Family History Radio ExtremeGenes.com! It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and it is all about preservation today. Of course, Rick Turley was just in from the LDS Church, talking about mostly about how the institutions do it. And of course, Tom Perry is our Preservation Specialist we’ve had on the show since the beginning. And Tom, he had a lot of great stuff in there.

Tom: Oh, he did. Rick had some awesome information. In fact, one of the things he talked about, I want to add a little thing to. When he talked about the best place to store stuff is on the level you live because you are recognizant of the changes in temperature. And he says a closet is a good place, but make sure it doesn’t have an exterior wall. Another thing you want to be careful of is make sure there’s not any duct work. I don’t mean your ducks and geese.

Fisher: Yes. [Laughs]

Tom: I mean duct work that handles your heat and your AC, because we had a customer once that stacked several roles of 8mm film in a closet above on the very top shelf, not realizing that top shelf, one of the borders was the heating duct, and it was there for, he said, like thirty forty years or something. When he brought the film in or first when he took it down, he opened the top box and it had all turned to dust.

Fisher: Ugh!

Tom: Heat, just constant heat change like how Rick talked about, hot, cold, hot, cold, hot, cold broke down the film, but the farther he got down in his role, of about ten rolls of film, they were fine below that because the top ones took all the brunt. So, be careful that you don’t have any what they bulkheads running through your closets that are going to change the temperature. If so, you need to somehow insulate them with aluminium type insulation or something like that. The best thing to do is to store them down on the floor. And another thing he mentioned, make sure you keep it on the level you live on. But, if you’re on a level where you could have a flood if a toilet backs up or anything, make sure they’re off the floor enough that you are going to be able a foot or two feet of water in there and they’re not going to be soaked.

Fisher: Yeah I’ve been through a flood where that happened and it was brutal. I had stuff in a safe. Of course the safe was for fire, and I didn’t know that a safe that’s tight enough for fire is not tight enough for water, and I lost some very important things in it and learned a lot from that, so that’s great advice.

Tom: Now one thing he talked about a little bit; let me go into a little bit more detail. It’s about disks. There are good disks out there and there’s bad disks out there. Most of the disks you’re going to buy at Walmart or someplace like that don’t have good quality dye in them and so they are not going to last. You know I’ve had situations where people have had them and three years later they didn’t work anymore. And people lost everything thinking they had archived it on disk. First mistake they made, they used a cheap disk. Second mistake they did, they only put it on disk.

Fisher: Right. And they got rid of the original probably.

Tom: Exactly, or they borrowed them from other people. This guy made a compilation of all the movies he had been in. He could never replace it. It took him years to get all these components put together, put it on a cheap disk. Three years later he tried to go to an interview, gave them the disk, it wouldn’t work.

Fisher: Ugh!

Tom: So make sure you use a good quality disk. And I preach on here all the time I use Taiyo Yuden disks. You can go to our website and see how it’s spelled and you can order them. Most stores don’t sell them because they won’t sell them to Walmart and places like that. You can buy them online. You can buy it from us, but buy a good quality Taiyo Yuden disk and you should never have problems. You know we’ve been doing disks for 20 years and I have never had one Taiyo Yuden fail.

Fisher: But they do have a life, don’t they? I mean they have to go on.

Tom: Oh yeah.

Fisher: How long do you think it will last? Right now you are saying you haven’t had the end of one yet.

Tom: Yes. We’ve been doing it for 20 years. We have a warranty on all of our disks that come out of our store. We guarantee them for life, and we’ve been doing it for 20 years. We never had one come back. The people who attest to them say the Taiyo Yuden disks should last about 100 years.

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: But after the break, let’s come back and talk about some more about some different ways of putting other kinds of storage on different kinds of disks and other things.

Fisher: All right, it’s all about preservation today on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.

Segment 5 Episode 57

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Oh these shows go way to fast! We’re down to our final segment this week of Extreme Genes Family History Radio, America’s Family History Show. I am Fisher. That is Tom Perry over there from TMCPlace.com. He’s our Preservation Authority. You can always ask him a question at [email protected]. The whole show has been about preservation today; a lot of great stuff in here. What else do you have for us today Tom?

Tom: Ok, I want to talk a little bit more about disks that we got in to again. Taiyo Yuden disks are the best kind to get. But no matter how good of a disk you should use, I don’t care if it’s a millennial disk, you want to back it up on several different types of media. You want to back it up on a hard drive, a good quality hard drive. I like Western Digital and the C drives. You also want to have it on a good quality disk which, I mentioned I use Taiyo Yudens. You want to also have it in the Cloud, and if you’re paranoid like I am, use two Clouds and make sure they’re not the same Cloud, because you may get a Cloud service from one vendor and from another vendor and find out they use the same Cloud.

Fisher: Yeah, that doesn’t work too well.

Tom: Yeah, so I use iCloud which Apple owns and I also use Dropbox which is a totally separate one, and I love them. I absolutely love them. The nice thing about Dropbox is I can have my photos on my iPad, my iPhone, my computer. I take a picture it’s instantly on the other one via Dropbox what makes it nice and convenient. People can get to it. I have a friend in Dothan, Alabama that wants a couple of pictures. I can give him an invite to my Dropbox and he can go right to them and download them, or movies or whatever.

Fisher: And the same could apply for Google Drive, could it not?

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: Yeah.

Tom: Exactly. There’s a lot of different options, the one thing you do not want to do which we talked briefly on an earlier show is don’t use USB drives as long term storage.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: They use the cheapest, you know, components they can make. That’s why they’re so inexpensive. A 1GB you can buy for $15-20 and they’re on Best Buy sometimes even for less. And there’s a reason they’re so cheap is because they make them so cheap. So if I’m at somebody’s house, he wants to give me a picture, he can give it to me, or an article or whatever, I can take it home, plug it into my computer and offload down on my computer and then put on the Cloud or whatever.

Fisher: It’s just for transfer basically.

Tom: Exactly. So it’s just a transfer device to get it from somebody’s media to somebody else’s media. So they’re great, but don’t depend on it as a storage device, because they’re notorious for not being that good a quality plus they’re in your pocket, you can walk by a big magnet, something can happen to it. We’ve had people who sat on them, brought them into our store, and we’ve tried to recover them. Sometimes we have, sometimes they haven’t, same thing with SD Cards. SD Cards are great ways to store stuff. However, be careful where you store them. They’re so small they can end up in your pants and go through the washing machine.

Fisher: Oh, yeah! [Laughs]

Tom: So many different things. So you want to have a place that you always store the SD cards or whatever in, and if there's one that's out, put a little sticker "it’s in my pocket." I always put stuff like that on my radio before I go to bed, because I always check, "Oh, I've got an SD card that's not where it’s supposed to be." So I put it in my fireproof safe every night. So if we have a fire, hopefully not a flood, it'll be safe.

Fisher: And also if you pull out a thumb drive too quickly from your computer, you could destroy the whole thing.

Tom: Oh, that's devastating! That's like getting a letter that you're sending off to a friend in Florida and you erase part of the address it doesn't do you any good. And it’s 30, 30 South, and it only says 30 south, they're not going to be able to find it for you, so that is really, really bad. You can totally corrupt it. Everything you have on that can be totally gone, not just the file you're working on, but it can corrupt the entire drive so you can't even read it anymore. And be really, really careful if you're switching stuff like between like a Macintosh or an Apple computer and a PC. If you put it in and it says it doesn't read it or something, try to eject it from the computer. If you can't eject it from the computer, what you want to do is shut down your computer, make sure it’s totally off, no power going through it or anything, then remove it. If you can eject it, and it says, okay safely remove, then go ahead and take it out. Most computers nowadays will read it, whether it’s done on an Apple or on a PC, but sometimes it won't. If you're ever unsure whether it’s ejected or not, just shut down your computer, it’ll take five minutes of your time. When it’s totally shut down, there's no light on, everything's off, pull it out and then restart your computer, because if you do that, you won't corrupt it. But that's one thing that's notorious is destroying those things by pulling them out when they're still accessing them. Don't pay attention to the little flashing light. See what your computer says if it’s been released.

Fisher: Wow! This has been an amazing show on preservation this week. Thanks again to Tom. We'll see you again next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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