Building up a reference library for an unknown event is not easy. Nor knowing what is going to happen means that you have to cater for everything that you consider likely. This expands the type and number of reference material that you want but as we are looking at dropping back 200 years in time it doesn’t make that big a difference except for the Nuclear Biological Chemical stuff where you have to make preparations to cover invisible killers.
Myself, I have an extensive collection of books in soft copy as well as magazine articles and writings not available in book form such as reference material from the web and magazines. I download these documents, usually convert it to a Word like document or PDF and store it on the computer. So I have a hard drive with almost everything I can find on it, currently just under 2Tb.
My main reference though is my books. I like books so I try to buy as many books as I can on subjects that I believe are relevant. Books on rearing animals, books on sanitation and plumbing as well as books on any other subject I think we may need and can make with tools we will have available. In addition to these books I also have story books and educational books to make things a little interesting.
I also have generated a set of folders containing print outs regarding various subjects. Reference details like Morse Code, First Aid, how to set up my UV3R as well as how to build a wooden 100W wind generator. A mixture of many diverse things I think that may come in useful and I don’t want to take the chance the computer doesn’t work. These print outs are from the soft copy books as well as magazine articles. I also include instruction manuals for my equipment as well. Just in case.
I have so many folders that I sort them. Specific stuff like medical articles, Bee keeping, etc. I have stored in separate folders. Each folder is a specific topic. General information I have put into two folders, to have a spare so that I have a backup and someone else can look at it at the same time. This set of folders contains quick reference material such as how to filter water, basic navigation and basic survival reference material.
In addition to that I have a Prepper folder. This contains reference material from magazines of the files that I need to read before an event. Things like lists of barter items, food lists, medical lists as well as advice on how to store them, set up comms networks and how to survive the actual event. Things that are no use after an event but of great help preparing for it and also for introducing others to prepping.
Finally, I have some laminated sheets. Basic stuff like Morse Code, The Alphabet list, radio frequencies as well as instructions for the family during and after an event. I have agreed codewords with them and a process to follow involving picking up the children, last minute shopping, sealing the house and unpacking and prepping the equipment. Prioritised checklists so nothing is forgotten.
Again, this documentation takes up a lot of space. It is 8 large ring binders and three 2Tb USB drives, not including backups of the drive archived in the EMP cage. Space is one thing that every prepper is short of.
So prior to an event, I read and work on the items in the Prepping folder. I add new found data to the drive, printing off any key information and putting in the relevant folder and I review and revise, if necessary, my prioritised checklists every time something changes or I find some new information from my reading which makes me want to change it.
It sounds a lot of work but it isn’t. I’ve been doing it for years and it has built up over time. I sometimes question the benefit of the folders in case I have to bug out as they are too heavy to take with us. I sometimes question the time spent on the computer files as they need a computer and power. I justify both by thinking about the information that will be available to our community after an event. Information that is going to be of great benefit in making out lives easier as well as potentially saving our lives.
Information is power.