Time capsuling is a fascinating concept to me. It amazes me that an everyday object can somehow transcend the ages and preserve history, deliberately. In practice, creating a time capsule requires significant effort and even more restraint to find it before the retrieval date.

Since this site focuses mostly on the digital side of preserving history, I want to talk about creating a time capsule (you guessed it) digitally.

Ten Steps to Making A Digital Time Capsule

What you will need:Flash-Drive-Mikkel-Fjeldsted.jpg

  • A flash storage device (old flash drive or SD card)
  • Waterproof container
  • Digital files that document your life today

1. Find a recording device

This shouldn’t be difficult. I can’t count how many old flash drives, SD cards, micro SD cards and the like I have crammed in random corners of my desks and drawers. Just find one you don’t need anymore and it doesn’t even have to be very big. A flash drive of 1GB should be plenty and I’m sure you can get away with one of the really old 256MB ones of a decade ago.

If you don’t have one of these laying around, a substitute will do. This can be a writable CD or DVD or you can even order a flash drive from amazon for $5.31 that is rugged, semi-waterproof and has more than enough storage at 2GB (I recommend this one).

The reason  I recommend a sturdy flash drive is because of this awesome chart I found (and I don’t recommend DVDs or CDs if possible because of future compatibility issues):

http://www.crashplan.com/medialifespan/

© 2012 Code 42 Software, Inc.

2. Fill up your recording device with digital treasures.

This should be fun. If you have a copy of your journal as a digital file, include this. Also include pictures, videos, histories, screenshots of websites, lists of contacts, future predictions and whatever else you can think of (have more ideas, please let us know in the comments below!) Try and add as much as you can because storage shouldn’t be an issue and almost anything is interesting a decade from now.

Capture.jpgAnother step you can take is to password protect this file. I wouldn’t recommend it in case you lose the password, but just know it is an option if you are worried about sensitive information on your DTC.

3. Find a sturdy container.

I would lean towards the more the better when it comes to a sturdy container to store your flash drive in. What I mean by that is that if you want to use a Tupperware container, use two! Or even put the flash drive in a water tight plastic sandwich bag first, then put it in an old cool whip container and then in a plastic bag (or something like that). Think of the structural integrity of the container as well. If it gets crushed, no amount of waterproofing will matter.

Of course the safest option would be to buy a special designed time capsule container, but I think that’s overkill for what we are trying to do.

4. Pick your location.

This one is tough for me because I’m at a transient stage in my life. If you know you will be in your house for a long time, I would just say put it in your backyard. If not, either choose the backyard of someone you know isn’t going anywhere (like your parents or grandparents maybe) or a remote location. I am thinking of the desert for mine since I live in Nevada. Think about the future of the location as well. Don’t put it where you husband plans on putting a storage shed someday (I know you think he never will… but he might).

5. Bury the sucker.

I’ll leave this up to you, it’s pretty self explanitory.

6. Record what you did.

The most important information to record is where you buried your DTC. I recommend using gps coordinates and then writing them down. I’m going to write them in my journal entry for that night. And then a couple more places just to be sure I don’t lose it. Maybe I’ll tattoo it on my forearm. I’m not sure yet.

Also write down when you did this, what is in it (roughly) and when you plan on retrieving it. I’m recommending 10 years for a few reasons. First of all, I’m not sure flash drives will preform spectacularly much longer then that. File compatibility is an issue as well. Plus, what is easier to remember than 10 years? I am going to make an appointment 10 years from that day in my Google Calendar. Really. If GC isn’t around in 10 years I’m guessing I will transfer all of my appointments.

7. Wait.

8. Retrieve.

9. Enjoy.

10. Rinse, wash and repeat. 

Easy? Let me know anything I missed!