Preserving access to a vast fund of survival information in a collapse scenario

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rdeslonde's picture
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Preserving access to a vast fund of survival information in a collapse scenario

In a scenario where economic collapse cuts off access to most of our information (assuming the internet is destroyed), how would you go about preserving access to a vast fund of survival information? Or maybe just preserving your access information in general, even your religious texts, or educational texts, whatever is important to you.

I have thought a lot about it, especially since with my busy life, I don't have the time to read and commit to memory all the survival information I may need (agriculture, electronics,obtaining water etc.).

The best solution I have come up with so far is to get an android device, a solar charger, and a whole lot of usb sticks. Then to download the text and ebooks and all the information I think I will need or want on the usb sticks. Put the android device into something really robust, an otterbox or some other type of case, maybe even be fanatical and get a waterproof, foam-fillled pelican case for it and the charger and usb sticks.

Then you should have access to all this information for a long time to come.

What do you all think? Any other ideas?

RNcarl's picture
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Joined: May 13 2008
Posts: 382
Preserving access


I have thought about this as well. And, I have not done as much as I should have.

The idea that you outline above is still only one form of access. I would suggest a few different forms of access. Remember, complex systems - break.

If you are that concerned, I would suggest killing a few trees and print out and bind those references that you think would be the most critical to have. USB drives are great devices. As you know, it takes a functioning device to be able to access that information. Don't rely on only one source of storage.

The caveat that I have for you is concerning skills that take practice or that take time to establish. The first thought is the topic of "agriculture" that you mentioned above. Do you mean gardening? Or perhaps, Permaculture? If we do find ourselves in a SHTF scenario, any reference that includes industrial (green revolution) agriculture will be of little benefit. Gardening takes practice and hands-on learning. Reference material is important for what to do for a particular pest or plant disease however having a successful garden that actually produces enough food to sustain a diet takes time and practice.

The same goes for obtaining water. Reference material is good, but it does not replace practice. Besides, consider that "everyone else" is reading that same reference either in print or electronic form.

If your reference material contains subjects like "electronics" be sure to include basic theory and lots and lots of pictures that detail what individual circuits look like in a production piece. Again, there is a large leap from theory to practical application. A good reference on troubleshooting would be valuable. It is usually a simple thing that breaks that causes the problem, not a large component. I repair all of my own charger cords. One used to be able to go to a connector catalog or now an online source and find replacement connectors. That does not work well anymore, most components and connectors are made as single piece assemblies during the manufacturing process or are single run proprietary lots. To fix them requires good crafting skills as well as a working knowledge of basic and sometimes complex electrical theory. Which reminds me, in a SHTF scenario, even if you are able to isolate the failed component, a replacement may not be available.

All of that said, learn how to DO things. Remember, you do not have to be an "expert" at the skill. You DO have to have enough experience to know how to do it well enough yourself or know the concept well enough to know if someone you are having it do it for you is doing it correctly.

The most important skill to have and MASTER before anything happens is learn the skill of community building - team building -networking - whatever you want to call it. Having a diverse group of trustworthy friends is worth more than any android device with a library full of USB drives.

~ Peace

Nervous Nelly's picture
Nervous Nelly
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Joined: Nov 23 2011
Posts: 209
Preserving Access

I'm with you on that RNcarl.  The electronic access would be my boyfriend's fun way to do it but one mistake (water) and the info's gone. I bought quite a few paperback books and i try to read and learn as much information as possible. When ever there's a problem around the house , car ,etc we try to fix it ourselves. It trains us to pratice are skills and to develop new the ones. At our level , agriculture usually starts on a small scale. As for me I started with a few tomato plants in the back yard. Yeh those tomatoes were out of this world. The next season i  increased the tomatoes added peppers.  A few years later it was 4 dozen tomato plants( I start from seed now) that I preserve(can) , carrots , peppers , cabbage, beets,  garlic ,beans etc and I learned and ajusted. Not one season's the same. 2 years ago I started to learn about wild edible & medicinal herbs and mushrooms with my sister. Very time consuming to get out there in the field. It's fun and it keeps me fit. 

I am noticing that my co workers are trying to fix things now. One decided to ask his father in law to help him do his SUV brakes. He would have gone to the garage ,so money must be tight. That saved him a lot of money and he said it was easy as cake. 


ao's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2009
Posts: 2220
hard assets, not electronic

This is an excellent point that I've been making to family, friends, and aquaintances for several years.  Just like with investing, now is a time when you want tangible hard assets, not intangible electronic ones.  If there is information on the net that I want present and future access to and if I would not be able to access it in the event of detonation of an EMP device, massive solar flare, Internet shut-down or censorship, or other disruption of our electronically dependent society, I print out a hard copy that goes into loose leaf binders.  And any book that I want as a reference, I buy ... the paper version ... no e-version for me.  Also, I have computers at home and at work that I keep OFF the internet.  I keep information on them and in back-up systems as well and have virtually no problems with them as compared to those that can be accessed on the net.

Plus, the more you can remember, the better.  Most people in our society are intellectual lazy and out-of-shape (just like many of them are physically).  They're not only deficient in their critical thinking, deductive reasoning, and problem solving skills but they're also deficient in their memorization and information retention skills.  Books like this can help:


Mots's picture
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 18 2012
Posts: 199
Information after a collapse scenerio

You can download wikipedia (about 9 gigabytes, compressed) and use that for a start.   By the way I think that you may be worrying too much about EMP.  Any reasonable EMP to worry about would not be  expected to destroy unconnected electronic devices.  For wikipedia download consider

I dont plan to evolve backwards and revert to paper documents, paper for recording, candles for lighting, wood burning for energy, sugar beet farming for sugar.  One can easily stockpile 20 years worth of reliable non-deteriorating lighting and energy generation devices and computing devices.  $50 of stored sugar for example frees up hundreds of farming hours that could be used elsewhere.    Why go backwards?

rdeslonde's picture
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 20 2012
Posts: 10
I agree

I agree with this. An EMP that would take out every electronic device means things have gotten so bad that you probably have bigger problems to worry about, like getting the heck out of dodge...

I think I will still get hard copies of some things, but I really think electronic will hold whole libraries in a small device. Can't be beat.

In addition, if I end up educating my kids myself...we will need learning materials, etc.

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