Digital Executor

If you are serious about your research, e.g. family history and/or a Study such as this, it is important to ensure that the work should not be lost following your death.  You need a ‘digital executor’.

Printed matter, e.g. reports and papers would need to be collated and passed to an individual or organisation who can ‘understand’ them, if there is no family member who could take over the research and build on it. The ‘understanding’ outsider might be someone who is familiar with archives, e.g. an archivist at a Local Studies Centre, or perhaps a Family History Society.  If you are a member, the research relating to your One-Name Study can be archived with the Guild of One-Name Studies.

But these days so much research is done online and stored in a digital format. For instance, I have files on my laptop, in a ‘cloud’ drive for back-up, on an external hard disk drive (HDD), and on several USB flash drives. Following my death, all of that would need to be sorted out. All files and photographs could be saved to a large ‘master’ USB flash drive, which could then be passed on to an appropriate person.

But sorting out all the work on the computer is not the end of the job. A digital executor will also have to notify the societies and organisations of which I am a member; cancel any online subscriptions, and finally cancel  my email addresses.

It is important that all of that work is done. It is, therefore, advisable, to nominate someone who would be capable and willing to act as your digital executor.  It is not necessary for the nominated person to be the same as the main executor of your estate (who will sort out/wind up all the financial matters).

In this day and age, everybody needs a digital executor.

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