Issues I see day to day in business are just as true for the home. This entry outlines a approach for Information Management in the home and focuses on electronic information.
This is a big one, there are a multitude of options out there, I will not go through them but I will provide criteria you should check in the evaluation of them.
- Redundancy: When the storage device has a issue can you access the data. E.g. using something like Windows Home Server with the file mirroring on multiple drives.
- Simplicity: It is easy to run and manage the storage. E.g. External drive, dead easy plug and play through to NAS and home servers.
- Offsite Backup: When you have 2Tb of data which are you family memories how do you back them up offsite. E.g. using web based storage as a backup or burning DVDs or having secondary portable drives at a relatives or friends place.
- End of Life: Hardware does not last forever, how easy is it to replace the drives every 2-3 years to ensure that you do not lose data?
Once you have your storage device how do you save the information on it. This is a hard one as it will be different for everyone. I have provided a generic approach that should cover most common scenarios.
The approach is to use multiple root shares or folders. These are
When storing photos use the metadata! This means on your camera ensure that the date and time are set correctly! This will allow you to sort and manage the photos using tools like Windows Live Photo Gallery independently of how you store the photos.
I recommend that you store the images in the following way:
This way if you need to get straight to the photo and you do not have a image browser available you can find it quickly. Also the name of the image should be more descriptive. For example ‘Wedding Photos 0001.jpg’, etc. this allows you to have the same label for images across multiple folders in the system and still find what you are looking for.
For Example: You have been on a two week holiday, this mean you will have 14 folders for the images but the names will be similar in each folder with a incremental number at the end.
<storagedevice>/Photos/year/month/01/My Holiday 0001.jpg,My Holiday 0002.jpg
<storagedevice>/Photos/year/month/02/My Holiday 0003.jpg
<storagedevice>/Photos/year/month/03/My Holiday 0004.jpg,My Holiday 0005.jpg
<storagedevice>/Photos/year/month/02/My Holiday 0145.jpg
These are home movies, these should be kept separate from the photos as there are more issues with metadata. I recommend the same pattern for the Videos folder as the Photos folder with the year, month and day structure. The name however should be more descriptive with the event and people in it. This will allow better searching and the ability to get all your home videos in one hit for DVD burning.
<storagedevice>/Videos/year/month/day/My Wedding (Uncle Frank talking).avi
Movies and TV
I copy the kids movies to a network drive to stop them wrecking the DVDs to organise them between Movies and TV. This is also organised with a folder strucutre, I have a Kids Movies and a Movies folder to split out the movies that have rating s that the kids should not watch.
I then place them in a folder with the following pattern.
Movie Name (year)
This way it is clear to see the movie and the year made in case of newer versions of the movie being created.
Documents and Email
This is the killer, under these directories I recommend you have a folder for every member of the household.
This allows you to secure the data if there is a privacy issues or a shared environment. It also allows the users to grab their files quickly. I use the separate email folder as you should have a backup of your mail. Even if it is on the web you may not have access to the web all the time if you have to grab your storage device and run at least you can get the data off it.
Under this directory look at breaking it into the roles you have in life. This could be Work, Home – Father, Home – Husband, Home – Finances, etc. This way you have a simple way to get to your information and if a role is no longer valid in your life then you can archive the folder up.
Under this is up to you, I will look at another post to cover this in greater detail later.
this is to store the software you use, drivers for your machine(s) and licence keys, there is nothing worse than having to do a rebuild and hunt for drivers or the software and keys to enable it.