How I build a digital project archive

In the spirit of 'document and share', here are some considerations for how I assemble an online collection of projects I've made since 2012.

Why bother doing this?

It's easy to forget what happened, and hard to re-create experiences as time passes. Files can also get lost, making it impossible to have traces of what was done. My personal reason is that a CV makes little sense, as it doesn't capture well what I do. Aside from that, it's just pleasant to have a more media-rich reminder of the past that's as simple as scrolling through your personal photo library.

What to document?

Not skills or roles. Focus on the work that was done, interesting aspects of the project, or what you're proud of. Although it would be fine to showcase just one artifact, I have chosen to document projects that result in multiple creations, as it better represents the different perspectives with which I approach things. This is less like a portfolio for potential clients and more like a diary: a reminder to oneself in the future of something to remember.

When to capture?

Wait until the dust has settled—usually not right after publishing something; let time work in your favour as changes and improvements accumulate, especially with digital projects that can be modified easily. Perhaps a good moment is when it's clear the project will no longer be public, but also even when it feels stable and unlikely to change much.

For documenting processes or 'the making of', take screenshots (not with 'version control' or something that needs to be re-constructed later). It should be simple to scroll through to get a sense for what's going on, without complex interactions.

Where to store it?

Ideally on a space you can control (using Ghost or WordPress for example), or a platform with decent export functionality. I use Tumblr for nostalgic reasons and because I trust their parent company Automattic to keep it running after I turn to dust, but I suppose it would be wise to also have a self-hosted backup. It's useful to be able to organize with tags or search so that there are flexible ways in and out.

Hope that's helpful for anyone wanting to do something similar. If you end up also creating a project archive, feel free to share with me.

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