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Archiving Your Personal Blog

Personal blogs are history in the making. To preserve that history, it is important to back your blog up periodically, and there is more than one way to do it.


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Blogs are history, not unlike letters and journals, and should be preserved. Two factors come into play. First, you want to protect your content, in case your blog service goes offline or out of business — it happens. Second, you want to preserve all that history. A previous article, Personal Blogs As Historical Documents, went into detail about how important it is to preserve your blog; this article suggests how to do it.

One thing I have noticed, in the interim between my earlier article and now, is that many private and "Mommy" blogs have given way to Facebook. Of course, blogging hasn't gone entirely out of vogue — yet: specialty blogs and blogs as a news media are going strong. Those in industry may have insights into the next big thing that will make even news blogs passé, but before blogs disappear into the sunset (and blogging services as well), if you want to preserve history, preserve your blog.

Blog-to Book

The easiest but most expensive way to preserve your blog is to publish it to a book, using one of the online blog-to-book programs. Blog-to-book services typically have a software program you can download onto your computer; this program can then go in and capture all or parts of your blog, format it to your preference, and then publish it in book form. The price of your book will depend on the number of book pages you end up with and the size of book you choose.

But there may be another solution.

If you don't need a polished book, but do want to preserve what you have written for posterity, your blog-to-book service may allow you export your finished book to PDF file — with some caveats., for example, will let you print to PDF, and actually encourages you to do so for the purpose of copy editing: their caveat is that a Blurb watermark (stamp) appears on each page of the PDF. The same is true if you choose to print a hard copy of your book, page by page (rather than as a PDF), but this is an option if you just want to save your blog.

I also read that the service allows you to export your book to PDF, and it didn't say anything about watermarks. Of course, the rationale for not allowing you to just walk away with a clean PDF is that they don't want you taking your book someplace else to print, after using their software to create it. That is understandable. But a PDF, watermark or not, isn't a bad option if your blog is huge and you cannot afford a book. A PDF is nicely formatted and easy to print.

Copy & Paste Your Blog to s Word Processor

The copy and paste solution is a fairly simple concept and allows you to save your blog with photos, in context. Just bring up your blog, select everything on the page that you wish to preserve; then, copy the content and paste it into a word processor of your choosing: Word, Pages, etc.. The problem with this solution is that you can only copy and paste one web page at a time, so for more extensive blogs, you have to go back one page at a time and repeat the process, to capture the entire blog. This is do-able, but can be time consuming; just be sure save your work as you go. With this process you may run into some formatting issues with your photos, but the primary benefit is that you will have saved your content, which is the most important thing.

Exporting Your Blog

This approach is more technical, but it's free and does allow you to easily save the text content for your entire blog all at one time. The more popular blogging services have made it easier now than in the past to export (or download) your blog into XML format (web code or "language") and store it on your computer or save it to disk. Of course, the downloaded file is not going to look like your blog online and will not incorporate your photos. You can, however, view the XML file in your web browser (or XML graphic viewer if you or someone you know if technically inclined). Using a web browser, you will have to scroll down through your blog's template "code" to get to the blog content: this is a minor inconvenience to preserve your blog. And because technology changes (see The Ten Commandments on a Floppy? Where would we be?), it's a good idea to copy and paste the blog content from the browser into a word processor. You can then print and/or name it and save it to disk. The nice thing about a printed copy is that it does not become obsolete.

It is important to backup your blog periodically, but you only have to back up it up to the beginning one time. You can choose the same or a different option to back it up the next time and the next, so long as you pick up where you left off and keep the files (or printed copies) together. Another option is to have copies of your blog sent to you via e-mail; a free service offered by lets you request daily or weekly feeds (copies) of a blog, which comes to you in newsletter style with the Tabbloid header at the top. Again, this splash of advertisement is a small price to pay for these updates to your blog.

Finally, whatever approach you choose, when saving a file to your computer or to disk, be sure to give it a logical name, one that you can remember, and the current date. Then store it in a logical place on your computer, so it doesn't become "lost" amid everything else. As an extra precaution, save a copy of the file someplace besides your home computer, perhaps distributing a copy to a trusted friend or family member. The process of preserving your blog may take bit of time and effort, but your posterity will thank you.

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2012.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

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