archiving of digital photos

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ps56k, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. ps56k

    ps56k Guest

    from a friend - -
    I have invested a lot of time and effort in creating a folder
    of all my photos over the years, currently ~16,000 occupying 10.7Gb on my
    hard disk.
    Having learned the lesson the hard way, I have backed them up on DVD's.

    Since each DVD will only hold 4.7Gb, I have to split up the folder to do

    I know there are flash drives available that will go to 32Gb,
    and I think now even 64Gb.

    My question:
    Is it "okay" to use a flash drive as an archival storage device?
    Is it as stable as DVD's? As secure?
    What if I store it in a "cool, dry place"?

    What are your thoughts?
    ps56k, Sep 4, 2008
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  2. ps56k

    tony cooper Guest

    With external hard drives selling for as little as they do, that's the
    route I would go. I just purchased a 500 gig Seagate for $89.00. A
    little more bulky than a flash drive, but a whole lot of room for
    tony cooper, Sep 4, 2008
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  3. ps56k

    ray Guest

    FWIW - I store mine on one computer; back them up to another computer;
    keep a copy on an external USB device and then back up to DVD.
    ray, Sep 4, 2008
  4. ps56k

    aniramca Guest

    I have read and discussed this exact topic in early 2007.
    I found an informative site at the following address

    In general, there are magnetic, optical and flash storage
    Magnetic is like the old "tape", hard drive in computer (with moving
    Optical is something like CD and DVD
    Flash storage is like USB key, SD/MMC cards, etc (no moving part)

    Someone said that Flash drive can store data for a long time. Hard
    drive is subjected to magnet, and CD/DVD can scratch.
    Most manufacturer mention about 2-10 years.

    I stored my data in an external hard drive, as well as in DVDs. I made
    a habit of doing this on a yearly basis, usually during the end year
    holiday. When the new year comes, my computer hard drives are all
    cleaned up and ready for all data to be stored for the coming year.

    I bought high quality DVDs, with special coatings to prevent
    scratching. It usually cost doubles of the regular DVD, but still
    cheap. I do sometime concern that if you do not use the external hard
    drive for a while, the moving portion may get rusty? or may stop
    working in moist environment?

    Flash storage like USB key is still expensive. I saw the 18 GB USB
    stick for around $50. SD card's prices went down and you can get 4GB
    for $10 now on special sale.

    Hope that this helps
    aniramca, Sep 4, 2008
  5. what is this stability you talk of in regards to DVD :)

    FWIW you might get 10 years out of a burned DVD if your luck holds, or you
    might only get 5, personally I prefer the HDD route as I have old HDD that
    are as old as Methuselah that I can still pull all the info off, as a matter
    of fact an old Seagate 850 meg drive that I bought new many many years ago
    still spun up and divulged some old files for me not that long ago.
    Atheist Chaplain, Sep 4, 2008
  6. That while hard drives do fail, you can get a *pair* of USB external
    hard drives for less than one of those big flash drives (the big flash
    drives being fairly new on the market) and do duplicate backups to those.
    And I'm talking about a *lot* higher capacity hard drives than those flash
    Blinky the Shark, Sep 4, 2008
  7. ps56k

    Ray Fischer Guest

    And doesn't THAT get real old?
    Nope. It's okay to use two for achiving.
    I have two backup drives. One is connected to the computer at all
    times and gets backups of changes every hour. The other lives in my
    office at work and comes home once every 1-2 weeks to get an update.
    The home backup drive is 750GB and the remote is 500GB. Cost for the
    two drives was around $200.

    What's notable about this scheme? It's automatic and I only have to
    remember to do something once every other week. Backups that are too
    much work don't get done and aren't worth anything.

    You can use flash memory but it's way more expensive. Check on the
    number of write cycles the memory can handle.
    Ray Fischer, Sep 4, 2008
  8. ps56k

    Archibald Guest

    I too archive on a hard drive and have been doing that for at least a
    couple of years. It is just too complicated to use DVDs for the amount
    of data I have (more than 100 GB), and DVDs are unreliable.

    I have a big main drive inside the computer, and a USB-connected
    external drive (750 GB). All my files are mirrored to the external
    drive. The latter drive is usually turned off, which should extend its
    life for many years.

    After a shoot, I transfer the contents of my memory card to the main
    drive. Before formatting the card, I turn on the external drive and
    transfer all the new pic files from the main drive to the external
    drive. I use a simple DOS batch file to do this. It has only two

    xcopy c:\My Pictures (or whatever)\Pix\*.* e:\"Pix"\ /c /m /s

    This command only copies files whose archive bit has been set, thus
    only new additions.

    This maintains a near-exact copy on the external drive -- near, not
    exact, because sometimes I will change some file names, do lossless
    JPG operations, etc., and other things happen too, that over time
    cause differences to appear. To fix these, I use the program
    FolderMatch (free download) to get the contents synced again.

    Works for me.

    Archibald, Sep 4, 2008
  9. ps56k

    jmeehan Guest

    I always have to wonder how anyone (other than a professional) can
    need to save 16,000 images. I suspect that if you would thin them
    out, keeping only the best or most important, down to say one or two
    thousand, the quality level would greatly increase with no loose of
    diversity and that you would find it much easier to find that best
    photo of this or that.
    jmeehan, Sep 4, 2008
  10. ps56k

    Keith nuttle Guest

    I am not a professional photographer, but have been taking picture since
    about 2000. I am also into genealogy. I am in the process of copying
    my mother's picture so they can be shared between my brothers. When
    that is done I have my wife's mother's pictures.

    I have about 10000 pictures currently plus all of the scanned images
    that I have collected in my genealogy research. 16000 pictures does
    not seem that much for some one who was really involved with photograph.
    Keith nuttle, Sep 4, 2008
  11. Keith nuttle wrote:
    Been doing digital since 1998 and have more than 31,000 images. Archived
    on two PCs, two external HDs, and some on DVDs.

    David J Taylor, Sep 4, 2008
  12. ps56k

    Gordo Guest

    Remember that back up copies should be stored off site such as a bank vault.
    What happens of you have a fire, flood, earthquake, etc.?

    Gordo, Sep 4, 2008
  13. David wrote on Thu, 04 Sep 2008 12:53:01 GMT:

    I wonder what is or are the best media for archiving? Have you tried
    randomly recalling some of the older images and checking for loss of
    quality? Another interesting thing is what sort of indexing system is


    James Silverton
    Potomac, Maryland

    Email, with obvious alterations:
    James Silverton, Sep 4, 2008
  14. James Silverton wrote:
    Yes, when I got the external HDs I had to recover almost all off the CDs
    and DVDs. All but one were readable, which might have been frustrating
    had I needed images of that DVD. One HD and one set of DVDs are off-site.

    Indexing for me is strictly year-month-day.

    David J Taylor, Sep 4, 2008
  15. David wrote on Thu, 04 Sep 2008 14:03:07 GMT:
    I guess that you are saying that off-site storage, possibly multiply
    redundant, is the way to go. I wonder what are current estimates of life
    time of personally written DVDs? I don't *need* professionally to have a
    high probability of successful retrieval tho' I'd like it.

    As an amateur, I need more than a date to find an image.


    James Silverton
    Potomac, Maryland

    Email, with obvious alterations:
    James Silverton, Sep 4, 2008
  16. ps56k

    Keith nuttle Guest

    With traditional chemical photograph, both the negative and the printed
    photo degraded over time as the chemistry of the negative and photo
    paper reacted to the storage environment.

    With a digital photograph, the tradition loss of quality of a picture is
    not a factor. The quality, resolution, etc. is dependent on each byte
    of information recorded. If the bytes can be read you will always have
    the original picture.

    I index my pictures by year/month/day or year/month/special event/day.
    Generally this works well but there are times you one picture of the
    boat taken at the lake that shows the tiller. The system can not
    provide this information.

    In my computer files I have tried to maximize portability. Most of the
    photo indexing software that I am aware of puts the image data into a
    proprietary databases.
    Keith nuttle, Sep 4, 2008
  17. Keith wrote on Thu, 04 Sep 2008 12:59:15 -0400:
    I'm not sure that it's an all or nothing process. Noise can be
    introduced magnetically or physically but I agree that it's better than
    trying, however successfully, to restore a color print when that's all
    you have.


    James Silverton
    Potomac, Maryland

    Email, with obvious alterations:
    James Silverton, Sep 4, 2008
  18. ps56k

    me Guest

    Speaking of which we just got rid of a couple of boxes of reels of 10"
    mag tape this summer at work.
    me, Sep 4, 2008
  19. I haven't used mag tape for backup for many years but some people still
    swear by (not at) it!


    James Silverton
    Potomac, Maryland

    Email, with obvious alterations:
    James Silverton, Sep 4, 2008
  20. ps56k

    me Guest

    Yes. Now these reels were close to 15 years old, but contained raw test
    data that cost more than a few million $$ to generate. We do use robotic
    tape libraries at work for back and archival purposes. But were talking
    about several orders of magnitude of data.
    me, Sep 4, 2008
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