Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Backup your online data FREE

Why should I backup my online data?

Your lifestream contains important data, but all those pictures, videos, documents, and blog posts are exposed to potential loss. Some web 2.0 services shut down without warning. Others are hacked. Sometimes data is lost from basic human error, or the intentional actions of a disgruntled employee. Don't put your lifestream at risk when there is a simple, easy, low cost way to back it up.

The short answer is that your online data is important and Backupify is an easy cost effective way to protect it from loss.

The longer answer is that much of the data you generate today is not stored on your computer. You have data locked up in Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Google Docs, Basecamp, and all the other online services you use. Backupify is not just about backup, it is about controlling your data yourself instead of having it stored in hundreds of services all around the web. Your online data is just as important as the data on your computer. Both should be backed up. You can read more about reasons for backing up your online data in this blog post.
Am I likely to lose my online data?

It is unlikely that an online service will simply lose your data, just as it is unlikely that a hard drive will just delete a file. It does happen occasionally, but your real concerns for cloud services are hackers, viruses, user error and legal issues. Many services can shut off access without warning if they think you violated their terms of service. Many hackers are targeting online accounts because they are easier to access than your computer. On top of that, roughly 1/3 of all data loss is due to simple user error. These are the kinds of risks that Backupify can minimize.
If I use Backupify, where does my data go?

We store all of your data on the Amazon cloud. We chose Amazon after a careful analysis of their security and data duplication policies. For some specifics about why we like Amazon, read this. The reason we chose Amazon over building our own cloud infrastructure is simple... in the unlikely event that something ever happens to Backupify, you can contact Amazon to get your data back out.
Why should I backup my data to another cloud? Isn't that just as much of a concern?

Not really, for three reasons. First of all, you can download all your Backupify backups to your computer so that you can have a third copy. Secondly, when calculating the likely failure of two independent systems, you multiply the probabilities. What that means in plain English is that the likelihood of two independent systems failing at the same time is so unlikely that you really don't have to worry about it. Third, if Amazon did fail and lose your data, once they came back online your backups would kick off again and re-backup everything you had before.
How do I know what was backed up?

Initial backups usually take 24 - 48 hours, depending on how much data you have in your accounts. Once you sign up, you can access all your data from the "archives" page simply by choosing a service from the drop down menu. We also give you the option of receiving daily or weekly digests of which services were backed up.
How secure is Backupify?

Security is our highest priority. We chose Amazon's data center because of the security features they offer. Our system was designed by top security experts who previously worked on sensitive data systems like billing software.
Do you store my usernames and passwords?

It depends on the service. Most services work like Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook where you authenticate one time through Backupify, and they pass us a "token." This token is a unique identifier that allows us to pull in your data without sending your login credentials. For those services, we do not store your login credentials. There are a few services that don't offer this kind of authentication (Gmail, Hotmail) and for those we have to store your username and password to back them up. When we do that, we use advanced encryption methods to keep your login credentials safe.
How do I restore my data if I lose it?

It depends on the account. For something like Flickr, we can restore your account to a state very similar to what it was before you lost it. This isn't yet automated, so our programmers will have to do it manually for you. For something like Twitter, we can't time stamp a tweet so we can never really restore you account. The best we can do is re-tweet everything for you at one time, but your followers would probably hate that. If you have specific questions about specific services, email us and we can answer them for you.
What is your privacy policy? What will you do with my data?

We don't do anything with your data once it is backed up. We don't look at it, we don't sell it, we don't analyze it, we don't modify it. Our privacy policy is that you own your data and you should be in control. We don't own your data, we just provide software to give you more control over your stuff. We charge for our service, so we never have to resort to analyzing your data so that we can sell advertising against it or anything like that. You will never get email from us unless you opt-in for it.

Backupify was started on the premise that your data is yours and you should not leave it locked up in all of these online systems. We believe strongly in freedom and privacy.
What does my data look like when it is backed up?

Every service we backup sends us data in a different format. In general, we store the data in the format we receive. Often times, this is an XML format that is not easily readable by human eyes. We are working on new data presentation interfaces to let you browse your data in formats more like the original services.

Worlds Digital Library

The Mission
The World Digital Library (WDL) makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.

The principal objectives of the WDL are to:
* Promote international and intercultural understanding;
* Expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet;
* Provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences;
* Build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and between countries.

The Site
The WDL makes it possible to discover, study, and enjoy cultural treasures from around the world on one site, in a variety of ways. These cultural treasures include, but are not limited to, manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings.

Items on the WDL may easily be browsed by place, time, topic, type of item, and contributing institution, or can be located by an open-ended search, in several languages. Special features include interactive geographic clusters, a timeline, advanced image-viewing and interpretive capabilities. Item-level descriptions and interviews with curators about featured items provide additional information.

Navigation tools and content descriptions are provided in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Many more languages are represented in the actual books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, and other primary materials, which are provided in their original languages.

The WDL was developed by a team at the U.S. Library of Congress, with contributions by partner institutions in many countries; the support of the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); and the financial support of a number of companies and private foundations.

U.S. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington proposed the establishment of the WDL in a speech to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO in June 2005. The basic idea was to create an Internet-based, easily-accessible collection of the world's cultural riches that would tell the stories and highlight the achievements of all countries and cultures, thereby promoting cross-cultural awareness and understanding. UNESCO welcomed the idea as a contribution toward fulfilling UNESCO's strategic objectives, which include promoting knowledge societies, building capacity in developing countries, and promoting cultural diversity on the Web. UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura designated UNESCO's Directorate for Communication and Information, led by Dr. Abdul Waheed Khan, to work with the Library of Congress to develop the project.

In December 2006, UNESCO and the Library of Congress convened an Experts Meeting to discuss the project. The assembled experts from all parts of the world identified a number of challenges that the project would need to overcome to be successful. They noted that little cultural content was being digitized in many countries and that developing countries in particular lacked the capacity to digitize and display their cultural treasures. Existing Web sites often had poorly developed search and display functions. Multilingual access was not well developed. Many Web sites maintained by cultural institutions were difficult to use and, in many cases, failed to appeal to users, particularly young users.

The Experts Meeting led to the establishment of working groups to develop guidelines for the project, and to a decision by the Library of Congress, UNESCO, and five partner institutions - the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the National Library of Brazil, the National Library and Archives of Egypt, the National Library of Russia, and the Russian State Library - to develop and contribute content to a WDL prototype to be presented at the UNESCO General Conference in 2007. Input into the design of the prototype was solicited through a consultative process that involved UNESCO, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and individuals and institutions in more than forty countries.

The successful unveiling of the prototype was followed by a decision by several libraries to develop a public, freely-accessible version of the WDL, for launch at UNESCO in April 2009. More than two dozen institutions contributed content to the launch version of the site.

The public version of the site features high-quality digital items reflecting the cultural heritage of all UNESCO member countries. The WDL will continue to add content to the site, and will enlist new partners from the widest possible range of UNESCO members in the project.
WDL Milestones
* June 2005: Librarian of Congress James H. Billington proposes establishing a World Digital Library to UNESCO.
* December 2006: UNESCO and the Library of Congress co-sponsor an Experts Meeting with key stakeholders from all regions of the world. The Experts Meeting results in a decision to establish working groups to develop standards and content selection guidelines.
* October 2007: The Library of Congress and five partner institutions present a prototype of the future WDL at the UNESCO General Conference.
* April 2009: The WDL is launched to the international public, with content about every UNESCO member state.

Key Features
The WDL represents a shift in digital library projects from a focus on quantity for its own sake to quality; quantity remains a priority, but not at the expense of the quality standards established during the start-up phase.

The WDL breaks new ground in the following areas, each representing significant investments of time and effort:
1. Consistent metadata: Each item is described by a consistent set of bibliographic information (or metadata) relating to its geographical, temporal, and topical coverage, among other requirements. Consistent metadata provides the foundation for a site that is easy and interesting to explore, and that helps to reveal connections between items. The metadata also improves exposure to external search engines.
2. Description: Among the most impressive features of the WDL are descriptions of each item, answering the questions: “What is this item and why is it significant?” This information, written by curators and other experts, provides vital context for users and is designed to spark the curiosity of students and the general public to learn more about the cultural heritage of all countries.
3. Multilingualism: The metadata, navigation, and supporting content (e.g., curator videos) are translated into seven languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. This feature lengthened site development and complicates maintenance, but brings WDL closer to the goal of being truly universal.
4. Digital library technical development: The WDL team's work with state-of-the art tools and technologies led to advances in cataloging and multilingual Web site development:
* A new cataloging application was developed to support the metadata requirements.
* A centralized tool with a translation memory was used, which prevents translators from having to translate the same word or phrase twice.
* An interface was developed, which features the WDL content in ways that are appealing to nontraditional users and that encourage exploration of primary sources.
* New technologies continue to be developed, improving workflow and reducing the time elapsed between content selection and availability on the site.
5. Collaborative network: The WDL emphasizes openness in all aspects of the project: access to content; technology transfer for capacity building; and partner, stakeholder, and user participation. Technical and programmatic networks are seen as vital to WDL's sustainability and growth.

See a current list of partners.

Partners are mainly libraries, archives, or other institutions that have collections of cultural content that they contribute to the WDL. Partners may also include institutions, foundations, and private companies that contribute to the project in other ways, for example by sharing technology, convening or co-sponsoring meetings of working groups, or contributing financially.
Digitization Centers

While many of the partners or prospective partners that wish to contribute content to the WDL have well-established digitization programs with dedicated staff and equipment, others, particularly in the developing world, do not have access to these capabilities. Over the years, the Library of Congress has worked with partners in Brazil, Egypt, Iraq, and Russia to establish digital conversion centers to produce high-quality digital images. Much of the content on the WDL was produced at these centers.

The WDL supports UNESCO's mission of capacity building in developing countries, and intends to work with UNESCO, partners in these countries, and external funders to establish additional digital conversion centers throughout the world. These centers will produce content not only for the WDL, but for other national and international projects as well.
WDL Working Groups

WDL Working Groups established after the December 2006 Experts Meeting include the Content Selection Working Group and a Technical Architecture Working Group. These groups are comprised primarily of representatives from partner institutions.

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and the Library of Congress have co-sponsored a working group to develop guidelines for digital libraries, including the WDL.

The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, in cooperation with the Library of Congress and UNESCO, sponsors an International Advisory Committee on the History of Arabic and Islamic Science to identify important scientific books and manuscripts from the Arab and Islamic world, and to facilitate inclusion of these items on the WDL.