June 25, 2009 / Idea File Supplement

Hey, Where Are My Football Photos? Backups: Your insurance policy

Written by Mike Smick

When was the last time you made a backup? With most schools, it seems the only files that get backed up regularly throughout districts are the student records. Everything else is backed up only once in a while. If you are fortunate to have a server that is backed up weekly, you may have little to worry about. If you are not sure, have a conversation with your network administrator to see that it can be done more consistently. Or, take the job into your own hands using an inexpensive CD or DVD writer.

Invest in a few sharpie markers and writeable discs to create backups every week you are working on the book. Soon you will have a neat little stack of discs. Try to back up the Yearbook Server space once a week if you can. Do not wait longer than two weeks. One week’s lost work can sometimes be made up without missing a deadline. If you lose two weeks of work because of a glitch, or student sabotage, you will be feeling some pain.

Having a backup of page and image files from every week will quickly fill up several CDs as your book grows larger towards the end of the year. Remember, though, that once a particular deadline has been proofed and backed up, you won’t have to back it up anymore. Mission accomplished.

As an aside, one of the best ways to make a final archive of a completed page is to create a PDF. PDF files contain the embedded images and fonts. Not only are PDF files more stable than InDesign or PageMaker files, they also can be opened by anyone with a free PDF reader. Create a press-quality PDF out of InDesign for your own personal backup. Later, you will always have that PDF to refer to. It is also possible to retrieve those images and text from a PDF in case you need to recreate the page for any reason.

Taking these steps will make your yearbook more successful, less stressful, on time and a lot more fun.

Note that these backup PDFs should not be submitted to Walsworth unless you are enrolled in the PDF program and have created them according to our specific specifications.

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Mike Smick