An email from a student this week reminded me how often people don’t have an adequate backup strategy for their work. Can you imagine what would happen if right now -right this minute-you had to evacuate the building you are in because of a fire? Not a fire drill, but a real fire, that you are lucky to escape from. No time to pick up anything. You need to leave now. The fire is destroying the building, including all your references, your computer, your back up discs and external hard drives, but to get out alive you can’t take any of it with you.
Most of us, thankfully don’t have to face such a drastic scenario, although it did happen to Alisdair Daws as he wrote his honours thesis (see his post for more about this http://www.agdaws.com/2011/08/). However lots (perhaps all) of us lose work at some stage for various reasons, ranging from the mundane (we accidentally delete it), to the malicious (a virus infects our hard drive and wipes our files), to the accidental (we drop our laptop and the hard drive never works again).
So now might be a good time to check your backups. Do you have them at all? How much of your recent work do they contain? How much of last months work do they contain? Is the information actually retrievable from the backup files? Where are they? All in one place?
This post has more specific advice about setting up a back-up strategy and where to get free software to help you automate it.