Tuesday, March 10, 2020

"The end of the line"

We are all ageing, and time's arrow only points one way. However, for some of us who have researched UAP for years, the time is getting closer to think about "the end of the line" - death.

An increasing number of long-term researchers are reaching their 70's and 80's. What can they do to best preserve their files, accumulated over many years?

In the USA, the collections of many deceased researchers have found their way to Barry Greenwood of Boston. For a long time, Barry has toiled away converting paper documents into the digital realm, making them available to multiple individuals, and archives like the AFU, throughout the world. Thus, what was the collection of a single individual, becomes available for anyone to research.

Other researchers have packed up documents, whether their own,  or that of colleagues; and sent them off to the special collection area of a university; e.g. the James McDonald collection at the University of Arizona. Part of Jacques Vallee's collection has already gone to Rice University.

Yet others, like Michael Swords, have scanned their collection and made copies available on USB memory sticks to individuals all over the planet. On a personal level, over the last few years I have scanned most of my Australian material, and like Swords, have copied it to numerous international researchers.

What about online material? What do your family do with it, after you pass away, leaving perhaps a vast website of quite original material and research? Do you simply hope that others have already downloaded the contents of the entire site? It might be wiser to leave instructions in your will as to what you would like to have your family do with this material.

What of blogs? Many individuals have written hundreds of thousands of words on their blog, often providing much data and analysis unique to that blog. Consider an addition to your will which sets out what you would like to happen, following your death. Again, on a personal level I was pleased to be approached by the PANDORA project of the National Library of Australia. They asked if they could upload the ongoing content of my blog to their website, which would preserve it, even if Blogspot goes out of existence. If you are a blogger, do you make a PDF version of each blog post and save it somewhere?

So, if you are a researcher of senior years, why not take a few minutes now to think about this topic? Perhaps draft an action plan; but do not forget to actually start acting upon it. Scanning original material a bit at a time and distributing it around, will only take a few hours of your time.

Once you have put something in place to preserve your material, perhaps original investigation notes, and unpublished analyses of some famous cases, etc, comes a peace of mind that you are prepared. Too often in the past, I have heard that a researcher has passed away and then that their family have simply ordered a rubbish skip and sent material which took a life time to collect, off to the rubbish tip. Don't let this happen to you

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