What is PDA?

PDA is the long term “care and feeding” of your precious electronic files! Just as you would have taken great care to look after your diary and family photos 100 years ago, PDA resources help us take care of our digital files today. Electronic resources are a lot more fragile than paper ones, though — so to ensure that it will be possible to find and access all of your digital treasures for years to come, certain things need to be kept in mind and you need to undertake certain activities.


The Society of American Archivists (SAA) defines personal digital archiving (PDA) as “the practice of preserving one’s own digital records of continuing value. Likewise, Brown states that “Personal digital archiving consists of saving and archiving digital materials and managing them so they will be available for future use” (2015, para. 1).

But, there’s a lot that goes into the task of preservation, and assessing continuing value is more difficult than you’d think. According to Redwine, “The term ‘personal digital archiving’ refers to how individuals manage or keep track of their digital files, where they store them, and how these files are described and organized” (2015, p. 2). PDA ends up being pretty complicated. But, if it’s broken down into smaller tasks, it is definable do-able.

This website is an annotated bibliography of resources to support PDA at three levels: basic, intermediate, and advanced.


A bibliography lists resources on a certain topic. This particular bibliography lists FREE resources on PDA-related topics to support PDA activities. Because librarians like to know about these topics, there are also a few sections specifically for libraries, but these sections might also be of interest to others as well. Finally, the annotations are the short blurbs that explain the resource that’s listed — being able to read the annotations should save everyone’s time.


Use the Pages (arranged hierarchically) at the top or the Pages and Tags on the sidebar to navigate. We recommend that everyone start by looking over the Basic Information to get a sense of the breadth and depth of the topic, and then based on their own needs, look to an overview of Intermediate Resources, followed by looking at more specific ones as necessary. Advanced users of computers (e.g., programmers) might also be interested in some of the Advanced Tools.