How to Create eCapsule

How to Start

The task is most easily performed with a personal computer and a scanner. The personal computer will help collect, sort, edit, and save your files into your capsule. The scanner will convert your paper documents into digital copies.

eCapsule contents can be saved in all formats because future technology will be able to translate these into then-current media. However, I encourage pdf for documents and common photo formats such as .jpg for photos. Videos are memory hogs; include only a few short ones.


Less Than One Gigabyte

Suggested Organization for Your eCapsule

Eighteen suggested subfolders in your eCapsule

As an example

Here are the items in my capsule

A five second video where I state my name, date and place of birth; two short work videos; a short paper sketching my life story; a copy of my journal; a short summary of my family with about fifty captioned photos; my academic grades and professional awards; work summary and job related photos; a few newspaper clippings from youth to present; a copy of two articles I authored; a listing of where I have lived with captioned photos; favorite travels with captioned photos; selected medical records of potential interest to direct descendants or researchers; information I’ve collected on my ancestors; legal documents such as birth and marriage certificates, wills, and other government documents; a summary of my financials; my religious and political beliefs; selected correspondence throughout my life; personal letters to my grandchildren; and some thoughts I have never shared.

I was surprised at how many relevant items were already on my computer. I found even more in old storage boxes, which I scanned. I suspect my experience is not unique.

Your capsule is now complete, at least version one. Now I invite you to the paper titled Preserving Your eCapsule for ideas on ensuring your capsule will survive for at least three generations.

Take Your Time

Creating a capsule may look overwhelming, however you can do as little or as much as you wish each day—and if it takes you a month, a year, or years, no matter. I often run across a document or photo in my daily life and realize it belongs in my capsule.

Your capsule is now complete, or at least the initial version. Take three actions; first, give your capsule to family members or trusted friends who will function as stewards by preserving and passing it on to the next generation.

Second, subscribe to a web service such as Google Drop Box or Microsoft OneDrive and store your capsule there. Make sure your trusted family members or friends maintain your account when you are gone or transfer your capsule to their web service.

Third, if you wish to delay the release of your capsule’s contents, get a commitment to honor this wish. I chose my 100th birthday.

However, soon a better preservation option will be available. The electronic time capsule concept has the potential for mass adoption. Twenty per cent of the U.S. population is
retired and I predict a library of capsules will eventually be created. Rather than rely on family members as capsule stewards, a company will maintain this library. Finding a company to host it is my priority. You will recognize the permanent storage service as eCapsule.