Consumer Electronics

On Backup Storage

Many years ago (aka 1997), I was working in a library where we backed up our circulation system every day on floppy disks. We did daily backups of just those transactions performed that day. We could also do weekly backups and full backups . Doing the full backup everyday was impractical due to the vast amount of time one spent switching floppies (and these were 3 1/2″) as well as the write speed. One Christmas there was a major storm that came through and leveled the library at a nearby campus. Fortunately, the librarian had taken time to do a full backup just a few days before. It helped a great deal in putting the collection back together. Eventually, out of frustration, I brought my own 100MB Zip Drive in and we used that to backup. We could do a few backup in just a few moments. Periodically, I would store one of those in a safe place. In fact, I discovered an old folder on my hard drive the other day that still had a one of those 6.33 MB backups. In fact, I eventually discovered that I could also drag the entire folder containing the circulation system on to the drive in the same amount of time. Nowadays there are so many options. In addition to “CD-RW drives(Hilary Rosen Christmas Nightmare)”: and “Key drives”:, you can use inexpensive Memory Card Readers and Cards. I bought my father and brother 256MB Compact Flash Cards last week for 50 dollars after all the rebates. These days every library should be backed up fully on a regular basis.

By Michael K Pate

Michael K. Pate tends to spend a great deal time of time around computers. He has been a Librarian since 1997.

Michael was born in Avon Park, Florida in 1966. Except for a couple of brief periods in his life (once in Tampa and once in Winter Haven/Haines City), he has been a life-long resident.

Originally, he planned on a career as a Computer Programmer and therefore graduate from Webber College with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems in 1988. However, unhappy with career opportunities at the time, he soon returned to school and received a BS in Social Science Education from the University of South Florida.

He began his career in education at Avon Elementary and later Avon Park Middle working as a Computer Lab Coordinator. While technological challenges were interesting, he found himself more and more interested in becoming a Media Specialist. He began work on his MLS in 1995.

However, a summer internship at the Sebring Public Library in 1996 soon made him reconsider just what his career should be. Upon graduation in 1997, he secured a position as a Media Specialist at Eastside Elementary in Haines City. Eventually, the position he was looking for opened up and he returned to SPL as Reference Librarian in 1999.

In 2003, he became Assistant Director of the Highlands County Library System, serving in that role until the position was eliminated during a late round of budget cuts in 2010. Since then, he has been the Computer Support Specialist for the Heartland Library Cooperative. In 2011, he began serving on the Board of Directors of the Tampa Bay Library Consortium.