College students are told by their professors, advisors, and others that preserving copies of their college papers is a good idea. Many recent college graduates, faced with moving to new locations and potentially small spaces, are unable to actually keep physical copies of their papers. Electronic copies of papers are much more feasible, but the options for preserving copies of your college papers in such a way are extensive. Here are a few tips on what you should and should not do when trying to preserve copies of your college papers.
Option 1: Hard Drive Copies
If you typed your paper on your computer to begin with, then you already have at least one copy of it saved to your hard drive (at least I hope you saved it!). While this is certainly a viable option for preserving copies of your college papers for a time, hard drive storage is not necessarily the best choice. I know that in the ten years since I have graduated from college, I have gone through several computers. Some were machines that I shared with others on a temporary basis; others became outdated. In a worst case scenario, the computers have simply died, denying me access to anything stored on that hard drive. While hard drive copies may be a good basic option for preserving copies of your college papers, if you intend to keep these papers for any length of time, you should explore other options.
Option 2: Floppy Disk Copies
Making a backup copy of a college paper on a floppy disk is a good idea. As computer technology advances, however, it may not be as useful as before. My new laptop does not have a floppy drive, though it does include ports which allow the attachment of an external floppy drive. When I recently received a stack of floppy disks on which I had preserved copies of my college papers, I was unable to put them directly onto my laptop. Luckily, my desktop still has a floppy drive, and I was able to load the disks onto that computer, and then access the files via the network I had set up between the two computers. Floppy disks are not eternal, however, and they can age to the point where their contents are no longer accessible.
Option 3: Flash Drive Copies
Flash drives have become cheaper than ever and capable of storing more data than before, and thus seem like an ideal way in which you can preserve copies of your college papers on a device about the size of a cigarette lighter. However, the computer support staff in our department recently circulated an E-mail stating that flash drives do wear out over time. If a flash drive copy is the only way in which you are preserving copies of your college papers, there is a risk of losing the data several years down the line. Again, this seems like a good temporary option, and one that allows you to move your papers between computers with great ease, but it is not as permanent as you might desire.
Option 4: CD Copies
The best option I have found for preserving copies of your college papers is to burn the files to a CDR. CDRs can store a substantial amount of data, and, assuming that they are cared for properly, are highly unlikely to fail to retain your data as time progresses. Care must be taken to not allow the discs to become scratched or broken, but aside from those precautions, CDRs are ideal for preserving copies of your college papers.
Of course, if none of these options are viable, the physical copies of papers can be preserved, in a pinch. In this case, you simply need a quality box in which to keep your papers. Metal or plastic boxes are preferable in this instance, as cardboard boxes deteriorate much too easily. Storage of such boxes can become a problem, but if you are fortunate enough to have the space in your own home, then you have easy access to the papers whenever you need them. Keeping them in a storage unit or in your parent’s basement are also options, at least for some.