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Lake Organization Records Archive in the Cloud

These instructions are a guide for storing lake organization records in Google Drive. The records could be records no longer kept on your website. Included are options to link to the cloud files in the organization website and to store two backups in different physical locations than the original files in Google Drive. recommends this process of storing organization digital files in three physical locations. 

Although provides these instructions, the safety and security of these digital records is the sole responsibility of the member and the cloud services involved. 

Notes: A questionmark icon in these instructions is a link to a screenshot for the step involved. This guide is based using a PC computer. Adjustments may be needed on MAC computers.

  1. Create a Google accountwhich will hold the archive folders. With this account, you will have access to 15 GB of free Google Drive storage space. If logged in but not in Drive, use the 9-dot link top right and select Drive.
  2. In a local computer, create the top folder and sub-folders for the archive files and populate the folders with the records files.
    1. Folder example
      Archive Records
           Board Minutes
           Water Quality Committee
           Technical Documents
    2. For consistency and easy access for all, all files should be converted to pdf. Converting to pdf also minimizes the chances of the files being downloaded, edited, and distributed as the original archived file. Each file should have the date (year-month-day, e.g., 2004-01-15) for the file in the front of the name to force the files to list chronologically.
  3. Upload files or folders to Google Drive
    1. Open the Drive folder to receive the documents.
    2. With the cursor in an open area of the opened folder, right click and select “upload files” or “upload folder”.
    3. Select the files or folder in the local computer to upload and “Open” them.
      The files or folders should upload to the opened folder in Google Drive.
  4. Set files for sharing
    1. Select the top hierarchical folder holding the archive such as “Archive Records”.
    2. Select the head and shoulders with a plus sign icon to the right in top of the Drive page.
    3. Click the green shareable link button to create the link. Click “Copy Link” – to be used in webpage link below.
    4. Click the “Advanced” button bottom right.
      Make sure “Anyone who has the link can view”.
      Click “Done” bottom left.
  1. In an appropriate webpage, create a link labeled “Entire Records Archive” and place the the link copied in the above section there. The link created in the webpage for the top folder should take a user to a listing in Drive of all the folders, and files, in the archive. If additional folders exist within the top folder, links for those folders can also have links in the webpage.
  2. [Selecting files within a folder, clicking the head and shoulders with a plus sign icon, clicking “advanced”, clicking the box next to “Disable options to download, print, and copy for comments and viewers, and clicking “Done” will make those files disabled for those options.]
  3. [This archive should not be found by public searching because only those with the link can access it. Of course, the access can be changed to public or private. If private, specific people can be invited to access the archive.]
  4. To “hide” the archive or a special folder within the archive, make the webpage containing the link private with a password. Hiding certain folders in the archive can be a valuable way to keep editable files such as docx or xlsx from being passed around indiscriminately. [Raw monitoring data Excel files may need to be made available for consultants, government professionals, or serious lake leaders to manipulate themselves.]
  5. Content Searching in Google Drive
    1. The archive can be visited with any browser even if not logged into Google Drive, but to use Google’s searching features within the archive, a user must be logged into a Gmail account.
    2. Once logged into the Gmail account, use the link in the webpage to the archive to visit the archive.
    3. Go to the “Shared with me” menu item on the left.
    4. Select the archive folder such as “Records Archive”, press down the Shift key plus Z, select the “Add” button to add the folder to My Drive”.
    5. Go to My Drive and select the Records Archive folder.
    6. Right click and select “Search within “Records Archive”.
    7. Click the down arrow to the right of the Search bar for search options, or type a key word to search for in the search line and push the return key to search the entire content of the archive. [Key word searching works even if the record was scanned in.]
    8. Caution note: [Google is modifying some aspects of using Drive and appears to target September 2020 for completing these changes. These instructions have been modified to accommodate the changes so far but may need to be modified further when these changes are completed. Currently, searching a shared folder such as the archive addressed in these instructions does not work consistently immediately when the shared folder is added to My Drive. Sometimes an hour delay occurs before content searching becomes consistent.]
  1. A free option to automatically backup the archive files stored in Google Drive is to use the cloudHQ service to copy the Google Drive files to Microsoft OneDrive. The CloudHQ service is free if the cloud storage services used are free. OneDrive allows 5 GB free so that limits the total archive space to about 5 GB.
  2. First sign up for a free OneDrive account and create a folder to store the backup files.
  3. Next sign up for a free CloudHQ account.

Choose the “Sync. Backup and Data Migration” option.
Enter your email address to use and click “Start cloudHQ Setup”.
If you entered a Gmail address, you can login with that. If you enter a non-Gmail address, you need to create a password for a cloudHQ account to create a clouldHQ account.
You will be sent activation instructions in an email which you must activate to continue.

    1. Next select “Single User Set Up”.
      Select “Sync two clouds or back up one cloud to another”.
      At the top of the “Two-Way Sync Wizard” page, click the “(switch to backup/one-way sync)” link to toggle to backup only mode. [This setting assures that OneDrive files never get copied to the Google Drive account.]
      Select the Google Drive icon in the grid below because that’s where your archive files are stored.
      Enter the Google Account email where your archive files are stored and click “Add Google Drive”
      You should arrive at the Google Account showing the email address you just entered.
      Click Next and enter the Google Account password.
      You should now be at the point where you give cloudHQ permission to collect your files from Google Drive. Click the “Allow” button.
    2. Now you need to designate what folders in Google Drive you want backed up to OneDrive.
      The easy way is to use the default and sync the entire Google Drive account and click “Next”.
      [If you want to sync an existing folder in the Google Drive account, select the radio button “I’d like to sync an existing folder and click “Next”. Drill down to the folder in the Google Drive you want to backup and select it. The path to that folder will display below. Click the “Select” button.]
    3. Now select the OneDrive icon as the backup location.
      Google Drive should show as the source and OneDrive as the backup location.
      Click on the “Add OneDrive” button to be forwarded to the OneDrive authorization page.
      Choose “I’d like to create a new folder and backup (replicate) data from Google Drive into it” and click “Next”.
      Enter a name for the folder in OneDrive where the folder from Google Drive will be saved (backed up) and click the “Create” button.
      Verify the sync pair for source and backup and click the “OK” button.
    4. You should get a message the “Synchronization is one-way: only changes you make on the first service will appear in the second service.”
      [To retain an earlier set of files in the Google Drive, select “Archive files before they are changed or deleted by sync (must be enabled for backup)”. A special cloudHQARCHIVE folder will be created with the old files. This option could be very useful if a file is accidently deleted or modified. This option will draw on the 5 GB storage space in OneDrive so occasionally deleting older files in this special cloudHQARCHIVE folder should be part of a maintenance process.]
      Click “Start Sync” and the Google Drive files will start transferring to OneDrive.
      You should get a message that the data transfer is in progress and an email will be sent when the transfer is completed.
      You should visit your OneDrive account to see if the transfer is working as desired.
  1. In addition to the automatic backup, manually downloading the archive folder to a local computer once a month is recommended.
  2. Click on My Drive and then the Archive Folder than contains all of the records.
  3. Right-Click and select “Download”. The Archive Folder will be zipped into a single file. You should get an option to save the file which probably means the file will be saved in the Downloads folder of the local computer.
  4. Click on the Extract tab at the top of the Downloads list of files and select “Extract All”. Select the download location and click the “Extract” button. Archive folder contents will be extracted to that location.