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Introduction to Digital Estates

Introduction to Digital Estates

Scarlet Galvan

March 26, 2020

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  1. Intro to Digital Estates Scarlet Galvan | Collection Strategist Librarian

    Grand Valley State University Libraries | March 26, 2020 @panoptigoth
  2. Important Disclaimers • I am not a lawyer • I

    am not an archivist or digital preservation specialist • I think sometimes what’s best is violating TOS
  3. Today’s Agenda • Digital estates and mourning in the culture

    of the United States • How to get started • Question and Answer, or follow-ups
  4. Death is sequestered…and not • Slow reversal of previous trend,

    “Changes in the Place of Death in the United States” in New England Journal of Medicine, 2019. • More people are dying at home. • COVID-19 may change this for certain patients.
  5. Physical components of digital estates • Current and previous cell

    phones, if available • Gestures, PIN, or other access point for phones • Memory cards • Portable storage: USB, zip drives, and similar • Tablets and eReaders • Laptop and desktop computers
  6. Task-based components and connectors • Password managers • Calendars •

    Automatic withdraws from bank accounts • Direct deposits • Tax information • Insurance policies
  7. Digital components • Usernames and other potential unique identifiers •

    Photos, video, audio—both saved and created by the deceased user • Streaming media accounts • Text messages and voice mail • Activity through apps • Social media presence • Blogs and websites • Avatars/player characters in virtual environments • Communication directed to or about the deceased
  8. Steps to revisit • Identify components of digital estate. We

    may return to this stage of as new objects are found • Determine what can be accessed • Decide which objects are meaningful • Save the objects • Describe the objects in a useful way: 001.jpg is less helpful, SmithGraduation.jpg is more descriptive • Make copies. If you choose to upload to a storage service, consider granting access to more than one person
  9. Death is paperwork • Password managers • Google’s Inactive Account

    Manager • Instagram • Facebook’s legacy contacts These steps are especially important when the state does not validate or recognize your relationship(s), your status is contested, or the people responsible for managing your estate can’t get certificates.
  10. Reminders • We don’t get to choose how others will

    grieve • We don’t get to say what is and is not significant to the living • Resist the urge to edit: you are a whole, glorious, flawed person