I’ve seen it too many times:

A student comes into the library with the crumpled remains of a USB drive that was destroyed by a car / dog / child / garbage disposal.  Everything the student has written for the last year (or more) is on that drive and only that drive.  The student hopes that we can retrieve something from it.  (We can’t.)


Don’t let this be you!  There are plenty of free back-up / cloud storage options out there so you don’t have to run the risk of losing your documents.  Choose one, choose several, mix and match. Whatever works best for you.  But don’t wait till it’s too late.

Some benefits of saving your materials digitally rather than paper-ly:

  • easily make multiple copies of your digital documents to save in different places
  • easily share digital documents by email or in Google Drive
  • less wasted paper and less printer costs
  • less bulk to haul around
  • search across your computer or specific document to find the information you need quickly


I personally use a combination of Dropbox.com and Google Drive to save my important documents. With the campus Google Apps, you get 30 GB of space while you’re at Oregon State.

I use Flickr to store and share photos.

Other cloud storage options:

Note: the free level of these services is certainly not meant to save everything from your computer. For that, you would need to upgrade to one of the paid levels.