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Thread: What is your long term archive solution?

  1. #1
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    What is your long term archive solution?

    I am not a great or famous photographer and my work has no significance to most of the world but I thought my kids/grandkids etc might someday like to look back at my images. I have been shooting digital since 2009. Every year I have kept my images on my laptop as I go and I back that up to an external drive about every 2-4 weeks. At the end of the year I copy all my keeper images (usually 10-15 gB total annually) to a separate flash drive and some years I have burned to DVD's as well. Also most of my keepers are uploaded to my Zenfolio account.

    Recently I was doing my 2015 back up routine and became curious as to the longevity and stability of this type of media and was surprised to find that many sources do not consider any of these very secure beyond 5 to 10 years and recommend re-archiving periodically.

    So my questions for the forum are these...are most folks concerned about long term preservation of their images? If so, what are you doing to store and protect your images for the long haul?

    I started reading about M-disc....is anyone using this or know much about it? Seems like the best currently available long term option to me.
    Last edited by Joel Eade; 01-14-2016 at 12:44 AM.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    What is your long term archive solution?

    If I get to vote you'll publish a couple of books. Say start with a coffee table book. Then say a "Birds of the Southeastern US."

    I rearchive about every three years. Typically by buying a newer larger external HD. Right now I have my long term archive in about 4 spots, including a 2TB hard drive located with family in Idaho. All my external hard drives are still working, but I've heard the same thing, that digital media is temporary.

    Next, we do "best of" photo albums for each year. Yep, I am the one guy still buying 4x6 photo albums. I need to catch up on a few years, but we have most of them and getting caught up on the photo albums is one of this years planned winter projects.
    Last edited by Kayaker72; 01-14-2016 at 03:01 AM.

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    Yes Joel... do a book. I bought two lay-flat photobook coupons (buy now, make book later) for Christmas. A 14"x11" and a 11"x8.5". I'm guessing you can do better. You've got so many high-quality shots of birds I'm sure you can get a bird book published.

    Someone at work just bought an M-disc drive last week. He said it was surprisingly inexpensive. He got the one for 25GB disks, blu-ray BD-R compatible. Not sure what makes it special over other BD-Rs. A quick look at the MDisk site, and I see there are also 4.7GB (DVD size), 50GB (dual layer BluRay), and 100GB (quad layer bluRay). They're all rated for 1000 (roman numeral M) years, but I doubt you'll still find a compatible reader in 1000 years.

    I see they're just over $100 on Amazon for one that's external, supporting USB3, and does BD-25, and DVD. The advantage of the external over SATA is that you can attach to PC, Mac, Laptop, whatever. The advantage of BD + DVD is you can give DVD discs to friends/family/clients who may not have a bluray drive.

    That does seem like a decent option... but make yourself a book too.
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    I am very heavy on good backups, but have not thought about "Preservation" so to speak. Yes electronic media is good and I have all my computers backed up on external hard drives and then the cloud for extra protection. But something for "Preservation" should not include media formats that likely won't be around 20 years from now. Something hard that can be held in the hand and requires nothing (like electricity) but looking at it is the way to go.

    I am going to have to think about putting a book together. That is a marvelous idea.
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    Senior Member jamsus's Avatar
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    My suggestion.

    Survive for 2-3 years with HDD \ External HDD Backups or more powerful solution (RAID architecture for backup) then CLOUD everything in 2-3 years the space will be enough
    Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!

    Jamsus

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Eade View Post
    I am not a great or famous photographer and my work has no significance to most of the world
    Well Joel that is your own fault because your work is of a quality that you could be if you presented and promoted yourself properly. It no doubt takes quit a bit of work.

    I to have heard that digital files will degrade over time, but it is a very long duration. So do photographs. When printing I have been using archival quality paper, like Canon Pro Platinum , it claims a 200 year lifespan.

    I neglect this, I should print more often.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...oto_Paper.html

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    HD, that 200 years is if printed from a Pro-1 or Pro-10, not a Pro-100 (different ink processes) and stored in UV/humidity controlled environment, blah, blah, blah.... ie: You probably won't see a 200 year lifespan unless nobody ever views your prints... and in that case, nobody will care that it lasted 200 years.

    Digital IS bad though. I can't read 5 1/4" floppy C-64 formatted disks (Early 80s), 3 1/2" Amiga formatted disks (Late 80s, Early 90s), 5 1/4", or 3 1/2" FAT16 (Win/DOS, Early 80s-90s) formatted disks, IOMEGA Bernoulli disks (Mid to late 80s), IOMEGA zip disks (90s), IDE (PATA) hard disks (80s-00s), or SCSI hard disks(80s-90s).

    Early CD-ROMs have likely decayed to unreadability if the web is to be believed. Early DVDs may be unreadable too. I can still read SATA drives, USB flash sticks, CDROMs, DVDs. I can upgrade to support BluRay. I can USB dongle my way into support for IDE (PATA) drives, and maybe even FAT 16 floppies.

    So, digital tends to get unreadable within 20 years (though digital is in it's infancy... perhaps it will improve). And yet, prints of my early childhood (70s), before computers were personal, are all still viewable. Prints from my parents' childhoods are still viewable too!
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    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Eade View Post
    ...I thought my kids/grandkids etc might someday like to look back at my images.
    It makes me rahter sad, but I expect if my kids/grandkids someday look back at my images they will no doubt compare unfavorably, sentimental value notwithstanding, to the cerebrally-projected 3D video holograms of the day. Kind of like comparing your amazing images to cave paintings...


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    I do use the Pixma Pro series that would give said quality.

    Researching my family history I found a picture online of my Great Great Grandmother and Grandfather who passed in 1877. I think it would be interesting for relatives to see you or your work 140 years later.

    There is a problem with printing books and making albums. They do not duplicate well for later generations.

    For that matter I didn't even know my GG Grandparents names until I started doing research. Come to find out there is a book written by a lady in Texas that researched my families genealogy. She did this because here mother felt like she didn't have many relatives. She started with the GGG Grandfather. I say this to make the point that by my generation there were hundreds if not thousands of descendants of the GGG Grandfather. When someone passes usually there is one copy of the pictures and no doubt one person takes them. When my Mom and Dad passed I made sure I had all of our families videos. Other pictures were divided up by who was in it. I have no pictures of any generation past my Grandparents and I have few of them.

    A digital file is much easier to share. Every generation could share it with every sibling, if it didn't degrade.

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    Thanks for all the input and nice words about my images too. I have an Epson 3800 that prints with pigment based inks reported to have extreme longevity and I could print a portion of my images which would be a good idea. As a long term project I suppose I could print many images but it would be very expensive. The archival quality paper is high and one set of ink cartridges is $420

    Also producing a book would be fun and I am flattered that you guys think my work is publishable. I have not thought of that and (as mentioned) I have done zero marketing or promotion. I would not know where to start but it's certainly something to consider.

    I am very interested in long term (at least the next 40-50 years) preservation of the entire collection as well. I think I am going to try the M-disc.

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