Displaying our photos today and for future, photos beyond the life of our databases

Started 7 months ago | Discussions
rickyred
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Re: Displaying our photos today and for future, photos beyond the life of our databases
In reply to tcg550, 7 months ago

I do the same, store on external hard drive,arcived by event ,dates, areas. Backed up on three hard drives kepped in separate places.

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Greg A A
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Essential good housekeeping for family photos in the digital age ...
In reply to Greg A A, 7 months ago

This topic is front and center for me now because we have just inherited a couple of boxes full of slides and prints in totally random and messy form. I also have my fathers slides and prints that I haven't yet done much with. This is in addition to quite a few of my own slides and negatives.The whole process of looking at them and sorting out which are the family keepers, then scanning those slides is an enormous amount of work. It can be interesting and fun, a bit like a grab bag with an occasional prize showing up.

It's not really a matter of worrying about master works being saved, it's sorting through to get the family keepers and then preserving those. It's out of consideration of our kids who would be unlucky enough to receive my raid drives, slides and negatives. It's the same thing as making sure extra stuff is cleared out around the house and making sure that old bills, bank statements, tax returns, etc are cleared out on a regular basis. Photos on the other hand have less urgency and tend to pile up fast, especially on large raid drives.

In addition to printing the few keepers I like the idea of jpg copies on other family computers. At least the kids would have their own digital version in addition to print copies in case they ever wanted to print them, post them, etc. They also have the responsibility of keeping them on current media, assuming it's important to them. As pointed out above, permanent media, such as CDs will someday be unreadable with the device of the day.

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Graham Hill
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Re: Displaying our photos today and for future, photos beyond the life of our databases
In reply to rickyred, 7 months ago

rickyred wrote:

I do the same, store on external hard drive,arcived by event ,dates, areas. Backed up on three hard drives kepped in separate places.

And how do you protect your images from bit rot?

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Morris Sullivan
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Re: Displaying our photos today and for future, photos beyond the life of our databases
In reply to Graham Hill, 7 months ago

Graham Hill wrote:

rickyred wrote:

I do the same, store on external hard drive,arcived by event ,dates, areas. Backed up on three hard drives kepped in separate places.

And how do you protect your images from bit rot?

The odds of three copies of a file becoming corrupt on three different drive has got to be very near zero. Far more likely that a single hard copy would sustain damage.

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Morris Sullivan
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Re: Displaying our photos today and for future, photos beyond the life of our databases
In reply to tcg550, 7 months ago

tcg550 wrote:

I agree, print maybe the best.

My photos are not tied to any database. They are all on a drive in folders by year. In that folder there are folders with names describing the event or subject. In there are jpgs and or raw files.

I take it one step further and file by year, then date with the event description following. If an event lasts more than one day I'll create folders for each day. If there are two events in one day I'll usually just put them both in one and list both on the folder name.

Example:

c:\photos\2013\2013-01-01  New Years Party\xxxxxxx.jpg

or

c:\photos\2012\2012-05-05 Cinco de Mayo - cat pics\xxxxxx.jpg

When I see an image format starting to take over jpg I'll convert.

If this happens I will also, however I'm skeptical that we'll see this happen in our lifetimes though. Jpeg isn't a proprietary format like some of the old ones that have gone away. It's standard on the internet worldwide. I can't imagine they will actually remove jpeg support from software for a long long time, if ever. Even if they did, the converters will be around for generations.

It's not like a piece of hardware that won't be cost effective to manufacture in the future.

Those files are backed up in several places and shared on my home network and in internet land. I can access all my photos from any device anywhere as long as I'm on the internet.

Just the other day my daughter was looking for photos from 2005. She took out her tablet went right to the folder found what she needed and posted it online.

When I'm gone it's up to my daughter to maintain things. I'll be gone, I won't really give it a second thought.

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Osvaldo Cristo
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Re: Osvaldo, have you already taken THE Photo..
In reply to Ron Poelman, 7 months ago

Ron Poelman wrote:

by which you would like to be remembered ?

No. Actually I have no pretension to be reminded by my photos. I would prefer to be reminded by the children I grown up, by my teaching in the classroom and for my way to face the life.

It can be a paradox because I really like Photography and I also dedicate an important amount of the time and financial resources to this...

Regards,

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O.Cristo - An Amateur Photographer
Opinions of men are almost as various as their faces - so many men so many minds. B. Franklin

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scorrpio
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Re: Displaying our photos today and for future, photos beyond the life of our databases
In reply to Bill Robb, 7 months ago

Bill Robb wrote:

+1. Digital storage as an archiving method is too capricious to be considered viable. Putting a folder on some one elses hard drive is all well and good, until that hard drive fails, or the person migrates to another computer and doesn't bother to copy the folder over. Then it's gone forever.

Wet processed color prints have proven themselves over the past half century to be as reliable an archiving method as any, they don't really require any particularly special storage. The shoe box under the bed seems to work as well as anything else.

And do you really want them to sit in that shoebox for years?    Maybe quite well preserved, but untouched and unseen?

Once again, digital storage thrives on distribution and replication - NOT ARCHIVING.   Archives are best preserved when you stuff them where sun don't shine, and put up a guard with a gun to not let anyone within a mile of the stuff.   Digital data survives best when it is always at your fingertips, when it is shared, when it is copied, when it is accessed.  Keep it on your PC.   The one you use daily.    Put it on your backup drive.   Not the one you going to fill and put in that selfsame shoebox - but on the one you do incremental backups to every week.    Upload the good stuff to an online site or several.    Put them on your kids PC, your parent PC, your friends' PC.   Copy the important stuff to your phone.   Put on YOUR PC the good stuff from your relatives and friends.  And not in some obscure folder on the 'F:' drive, but under 'My Pictures'   People no longer transfer their data folder by folder.    Folders like 'My Pictures' or 'My Documents' get marked in their entirety with all their subfolders -  with a single click.

That's the problem with people whose formation took place when computers were largely in their infancy, and when the only truly viable way to preserve something was to archive it.    Now, they try to archive digital data, and then complain that it does not work as well as more traditional media.   Of course it doesn't.   It was never meant for it.   Even those 'archival Blu-Rays' guaranteeed for 200 years.  (A product for the 'archivers')  The data on them might remain exactly as written - but what are the chances one can find a working Blu-Ray drive - and an interface to connect it to - 200 years hence?

Put the things you want preserved on the hard drive you access daily - and hard drives others access daily.   You will be surprised how tenacious that data can be.    I still got files on my PC from early 90's - and beyond placing them under my 'Documents' folder all that time ago, I have not moved a finger specifically to preserve them.

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brianj
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Re: Displaying our photos today and for future, photos beyond the life of our databases
In reply to Jack Hass, 7 months ago

Jack Hass wrote:

All of my archived photos are stored on a collection of CDs. The CDs are in CD cases, then stored in a velvet box. The box has been wrapped in bubble plastic and tightly packaged in a air tight crate made of plastic. The crate is locked within a stainless steel safe, with both a key lock and combination lock. The safe has been wrapped with plastic and burried in my yard. One day, I will share these with my great grandkids and smile as I recall all the great memories.

LOL, what if there is an earthquake !

Brian

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tjboothe
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I have a plan,,,
In reply to Greg A A, 7 months ago

I have thousands of negatives and slides in boxes in the bottom of the closet. Also have several hard drives full of .jpg's and RAW.

So here is the plan, I am going to leave them to my kids. And that is all, somewhere in the mess is the combination, key and information to my safe deposit box, where the "real" will is stored. So they will have months of work to sort images and figure out the information they need.....

That will pay them back for taking seven years to finish college on my dime!

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I look at pictures, I don't peek at pixels!

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Optical discs like writable Blu-Ray are just fine
In reply to scorrpio, 7 months ago

scorrpio wrote:

Personally, I think that the whole 'worship of the print' comes a simple source. It is very easy to shoot several hundred digital images at one event, stick them into a folder, and just leave them there. But we only ever print the images that are worth it - and usually after extensive post-processing. The 'magic' of the print is not in the medium, but rather in the amount of work that has gone into selecting that single image from hundreds, and getting it just right.

But there is absolutely nothing special about committing those to paper. You can put those selected and processed images into a 'very best' folder, and keep them digitally.

With current level of technology, passing your best work in digital form is a far better insurance of its survival. Now, digital is still fairly new, and for most of us who grew up in 60-80s, the idea of 'preservation' was about putting it on the most resilient media, and stashing it someplace safe. Many apply the same method to digital - which is a gross mistake. Writing a file to a CD and stashing that CD in a box someplace is probably the absolute WORST way to preserve information. The moment it is put away, it starts to die - to obscurity, to technology obsolescence, to media degradation. If someone finds that box of CDs in 50 years, chances are CD readers will be as common as 8-inch floppy drives are today. The RIGHT way is to keep what you want preserved is in LIVE storage. Put those images in a folder under 'My Pictures', on a computer you use daily, and make sure it is part of your routine backup. That way, you can be sure that things you don't want lost are always backed up in the most technologically up-to-date method, and are transferred over when you replace your PC. You can further hedge your bets by copying your best to your family or friends' PCs. Once it is part of THEIR routine backup, they won't need to expend any additional effort to maintain your stuff.

Once your best work is in a folder under 'My Pictures' on your kid's PC, you need not worry that it will be forgotten in a box in a basement, or accidentally carted off to landfill when they decide to move to an apartment in a city. You need not worry about cousin Jenny borrowing a unique print and forgetting she has it. No worries about someone going through carefully sorted prints and mixing them all up, or about grandkids thumbing through them with salsa-smeared fingers. Live stored digital is always at fingertips, ready for perusal by anyone who wants to see them. If cousin Jenny wants a copy, it can be emailed to her. Heck, she can have the whole folder. If kids want to check out great-grandpa's pictures, they can page through them on their iPads.

Hand over your best work in digital, and if people like it, they will preserve it much better than pieces of paper. But don't expect anyone to sift through every picture you've ever taken for you.

Your recommendation is based on people not maintaining an optical disc collection and not transferring over to newer and better tech when it becomes available. CDs came out in the early 80s and can still be read on devices over 30 years later. A person has literally decades to transfer this stuff over. It's not reasonable to bet against people not doing so.

As for optical disc degradation, I have 12 year old DVDs that read just as fine today as they did when I recorded them. I have even older music CDs. Use better brand discs, burn at a reasonable speed and store properly and they have a very long life. I now do all my best photos to Blu-Ray, which has even better life than DVD. For writable Blu-Rays stick to a better brands like Sony and Panasonic.

I also recommend people get the idea out of their head of keeping every picture they take. It doesn't make any sense. Who the hell is going to want to go through so many pictures anyway? Save the best and junk the rest. Not every moment in your life should be recorded.

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Glen Barrington
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I'm doing nothing, and I will continue doing it. . .
In reply to Greg A A, 7 months ago

I have a Flickr account, and much of my stuff goes there, but beyond that, what can we do that has any guarantees?

Just like photographers in the past, I will have to rely on future generations to see my brilliance as a photographer and take steps to preserve my memory.  If they fail to see just how good I am, then that's the world's loss!  I will be lost to the ages!

Edit: Since the internet is forever, I suspect leaving tantalizing hints at my brilliance on public forum sites like this one will help peak the curiosity of future generations, and may save me from obscurity!

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I still like soup. . .
Now that you've judged the quality of my typing, take a look at my photos. . .
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7267302@N03/

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Morris Sullivan
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Re: Optical discs like writable Blu-Ray are just fine
In reply to Basalite, 7 months ago

Basalite wrote:

scorrpio wrote:

Personally, I think that the whole 'worship of the print' comes a simple source. It is very easy to shoot several hundred digital images at one event, stick them into a folder, and just leave them there. But we only ever print the images that are worth it - and usually after extensive post-processing. The 'magic' of the print is not in the medium, but rather in the amount of work that has gone into selecting that single image from hundreds, and getting it just right.

But there is absolutely nothing special about committing those to paper. You can put those selected and processed images into a 'very best' folder, and keep them digitally.

With current level of technology, passing your best work in digital form is a far better insurance of its survival. Now, digital is still fairly new, and for most of us who grew up in 60-80s, the idea of 'preservation' was about putting it on the most resilient media, and stashing it someplace safe. Many apply the same method to digital - which is a gross mistake. Writing a file to a CD and stashing that CD in a box someplace is probably the absolute WORST way to preserve information. The moment it is put away, it starts to die - to obscurity, to technology obsolescence, to media degradation. If someone finds that box of CDs in 50 years, chances are CD readers will be as common as 8-inch floppy drives are today. The RIGHT way is to keep what you want preserved is in LIVE storage. Put those images in a folder under 'My Pictures', on a computer you use daily, and make sure it is part of your routine backup. That way, you can be sure that things you don't want lost are always backed up in the most technologically up-to-date method, and are transferred over when you replace your PC. You can further hedge your bets by copying your best to your family or friends' PCs. Once it is part of THEIR routine backup, they won't need to expend any additional effort to maintain your stuff.

Once your best work is in a folder under 'My Pictures' on your kid's PC, you need not worry that it will be forgotten in a box in a basement, or accidentally carted off to landfill when they decide to move to an apartment in a city. You need not worry about cousin Jenny borrowing a unique print and forgetting she has it. No worries about someone going through carefully sorted prints and mixing them all up, or about grandkids thumbing through them with salsa-smeared fingers. Live stored digital is always at fingertips, ready for perusal by anyone who wants to see them. If cousin Jenny wants a copy, it can be emailed to her. Heck, she can have the whole folder. If kids want to check out great-grandpa's pictures, they can page through them on their iPads.

Hand over your best work in digital, and if people like it, they will preserve it much better than pieces of paper. But don't expect anyone to sift through every picture you've ever taken for you.

Your recommendation is based on people not maintaining an optical disc collection and not transferring over to newer and better tech when it becomes available. CDs came out in the early 80s and can still be read on devices over 30 years later. A person has literally decades to transfer this stuff over. It's not reasonable to bet against people not doing so.

As for optical disc degradation, I have 12 year old DVDs that read just as fine today as they did when I recorded them. I have even older music CDs. Use better brand discs, burn at a reasonable speed and store properly and they have a very long life. I now do all my best photos to Blu-Ray, which has even better life than DVD. For writable Blu-Rays stick to a better brands like Sony and Panasonic.

I also recommend people get the idea out of their head of keeping every picture they take. It doesn't make any sense. Who the hell is going to want to go through so many pictures anyway? Save the best and junk the rest. Not every moment in your life should be recorded.

Nobody is in any way suggesting that people would "go through so many pictures". They are just there. I never "go through" all of them. But when I want to see what my kids looked like a few years ago it's nice to have a few hundred photos to flip through. I just roll through the thumbnails and click the ones that look interesting. The ones that you would delete are just a thumbnail that scroll by, no harm done.

As far as recording every moment, I'm not creating a slide show, more like a journal. If I want to put together a group of photos for a slideshow, or for printing. I just create a separate folder and keep duplicates there. Of course there are many hanging on walls around my house too.

You seem to be stuck with the idea of people thumbing through albums having to look at every photo. That's not the way it works anymore. There are billions of photos on flickr, and yet millions of people still flip through them.

If you could magically have a thumb-drive with thousands of photos of your parents and grandparents growing up, and you were given the option of all of them, or just the best 5%. Wouldn't you want all of them, you could always go through them a little at a time and copy the ones you personally liked rather than what someone else decided were the best. But wouldn't it be interesting to see all the places they went and all the silly shots taken around the house?

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Bill Robb
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Re: Displaying our photos today and for future, photos beyond the life of our databases
In reply to scorrpio, 7 months ago

scorrpio wrote:

Bill Robb wrote:

+1. Digital storage as an archiving method is too capricious to be considered viable. Putting a folder on some one elses hard drive is all well and good, until that hard drive fails, or the person migrates to another computer and doesn't bother to copy the folder over. Then it's gone forever.

Wet processed color prints have proven themselves over the past half century to be as reliable an archiving method as any, they don't really require any particularly special storage. The shoe box under the bed seems to work as well as anything else.

And do you really want them to sit in that shoebox for years? Maybe quite well preserved, but untouched and unseen?

We are talking about preservation in this thread, no?

Once again, digital storage thrives on distribution and replication - NOT ARCHIVING. Archives are best preserved when you stuff them where sun don't shine, and put up a guard with a gun to not let anyone within a mile of the stuff. Digital data survives best when it is always at your fingertips, when it is shared, when it is copied, when it is accessed. Keep it on your PC. The one you use daily. Put it on your backup drive. Not the one you going to fill and put in that selfsame shoebox - but on the one you do incremental backups to every week. Upload the good stuff to an online site or several. Put them on your kids PC, your parent PC, your friends' PC. Copy the important stuff to your phone. Put on YOUR PC the good stuff from your relatives and friends. And not in some obscure folder on the 'F:' drive, but under 'My Pictures' People no longer transfer their data folder by folder. Folders like 'My Pictures' or 'My Documents' get marked in their entirety with all their subfolders - with a single click.

That's the problem with people whose formation took place when computers were largely in their infancy, and when the only truly viable way to preserve something was to archive it. Now, they try to archive digital data, and then complain that it does not work as well as more traditional media. Of course it doesn't. It was never meant for it. Even those 'archival Blu-Rays' guaranteeed for 200 years. (A product for the 'archivers') The data on them might remain exactly as written - but what are the chances one can find a working Blu-Ray drive - and an interface to connect it to - 200 years hence?

Put the things you want preserved on the hard drive you access daily - and hard drives others access daily. You will be surprised how tenacious that data can be.

Well, yes I would be.

I still got files on my PC from early 90's - and beyond placing them under my 'Documents' folder all that time ago, I have not moved a finger specifically to preserve them.

So what you are doing is archiving......

This is all well and good, but it's also blue skying at it's finest. Hard drives fail, people change jobs and leave computers behind, there contents erased to prep them for the next user, or upgrade computers and don't necessarily move the data that isn't relevant to them, or die, and their machines are wiped before being recycled. Anyone who is reasonably computer savvy can make computer data last practically forever, but this is a very small percentage of the population. Most people, when their hard drive crashes, that's it, data gone forever, never to return, and that includes your precious pictures that you have entrusted to them.

What you are doing is entrusting the preservation of computer data to the capriciousness of others. Probably this is not a really good long term strategy.

My wife works in a law office. They back up their files on a weekly basis, but the really important stuff (and I don't know how this is differentiated) is still printed to paper and put in a fireproof vault. This tells me all I need to know about how to preserve important data for the future. Keep the stuff you can afford to lose as computer data, keep the stuff you want to keep forever as something that doesn't need constant interference to maintain it.

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Bill Robb
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Re: Optical discs like writable Blu-Ray are just fine
In reply to Basalite, 7 months ago

Basalite wrote:

Your recommendation is based on people not maintaining an optical disc collection and not transferring over to newer and better tech when it becomes available. CDs came out in the early 80s and can still be read on devices over 30 years later. A person has literally decades to transfer this stuff over. It's not reasonable to bet against people not doing so.

As for optical disc degradation, I have 12 year old DVDs that read just as fine today as they did when I recorded them. I have even older music CDs. Use better brand discs, burn at a reasonable speed and store properly and they have a very long life. I now do all my best photos to Blu-Ray, which has even better life than DVD. For writable Blu-Rays stick to a better brands like Sony and Panasonic.

I have had high end Verbatim discs burned "at a reasonable speed" become unreadable in less than five years. Optical discs are a crap shoot, not a good long term storage method.

I also recommend people get the idea out of their head of keeping every picture they take. It doesn't make any sense. Who the hell is going to want to go through so many pictures anyway? Save the best and junk the rest. Not every moment in your life should be recorded.

100% agreement on this.

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Graham Hill
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Re: Displaying our photos today and for future, photos beyond the life of our databases
In reply to Morris Sullivan, 7 months ago

Morris Sullivan wrote:

Graham Hill wrote:

rickyred wrote:

I do the same, store on external hard drive,arcived by event ,dates, areas. Backed up on three hard drives kepped in separate places.

And how do you protect your images from bit rot?

The odds of three copies of a file becoming corrupt on three different drive has got to be very near zero. Far more likely that a single hard copy would sustain damage.

Bit rot is a silent killer of data.  You wont know it is there until you try to view the image.  In the mean time, you will be performing back ups.  It is far more likely that you will overwrite a good image with one that has suffered bit rot unknowingly.  Then it is too late.

It doesnt matter how many copies you have if you are performing regular back ups.

Bit rot is real and is the #1 problem with digital storage.  That is why no digital storage is considered archival.

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Graham Hill
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Re: Displaying our photos today and for future, photos beyond the life of our databases
In reply to Bill Robb, 7 months ago

Bill Robb wrote:

scorrpio wrote:

Bill Robb wrote:

+1. Digital storage as an archiving method is too capricious to be considered viable. Putting a folder on some one elses hard drive is all well and good, until that hard drive fails, or the person migrates to another computer and doesn't bother to copy the folder over. Then it's gone forever.

Wet processed color prints have proven themselves over the past half century to be as reliable an archiving method as any, they don't really require any particularly special storage. The shoe box under the bed seems to work as well as anything else.

And do you really want them to sit in that shoebox for years? Maybe quite well preserved, but untouched and unseen?

We are talking about preservation in this thread, no?

Once again, digital storage thrives on distribution and replication - NOT ARCHIVING. Archives are best preserved when you stuff them where sun don't shine, and put up a guard with a gun to not let anyone within a mile of the stuff. Digital data survives best when it is always at your fingertips, when it is shared, when it is copied, when it is accessed. Keep it on your PC. The one you use daily. Put it on your backup drive. Not the one you going to fill and put in that selfsame shoebox - but on the one you do incremental backups to every week. Upload the good stuff to an online site or several. Put them on your kids PC, your parent PC, your friends' PC. Copy the important stuff to your phone. Put on YOUR PC the good stuff from your relatives and friends. And not in some obscure folder on the 'F:' drive, but under 'My Pictures' People no longer transfer their data folder by folder. Folders like 'My Pictures' or 'My Documents' get marked in their entirety with all their subfolders - with a single click.

That's the problem with people whose formation took place when computers were largely in their infancy, and when the only truly viable way to preserve something was to archive it. Now, they try to archive digital data, and then complain that it does not work as well as more traditional media. Of course it doesn't. It was never meant for it. Even those 'archival Blu-Rays' guaranteeed for 200 years. (A product for the 'archivers') The data on them might remain exactly as written - but what are the chances one can find a working Blu-Ray drive - and an interface to connect it to - 200 years hence?

Put the things you want preserved on the hard drive you access daily - and hard drives others access daily. You will be surprised how tenacious that data can be.

Well, yes I would be.

I still got files on my PC from early 90's - and beyond placing them under my 'Documents' folder all that time ago, I have not moved a finger specifically to preserve them.

So what you are doing is archiving......

This is all well and good, but it's also blue skying at it's finest. Hard drives fail, people change jobs and leave computers behind, there contents erased to prep them for the next user, or upgrade computers and don't necessarily move the data that isn't relevant to them, or die, and their machines are wiped before being recycled. Anyone who is reasonably computer savvy can make computer data last practically forever, but this is a very small percentage of the population. Most people, when their hard drive crashes, that's it, data gone forever, never to return, and that includes your precious pictures that you have entrusted to them.

What you are doing is entrusting the preservation of computer data to the capriciousness of others. Probably this is not a really good long term strategy.

Exactly.  This is not archiving in any sense of the word.

My wife works in a law office. They back up their files on a weekly basis, but the really important stuff (and I don't know how this is differentiated) is still printed to paper and put in a fireproof vault. This tells me all I need to know about how to preserve important data for the future. Keep the stuff you can afford to lose as computer data, keep the stuff you want to keep forever as something that doesn't need constant interference to maintain it.

Hollywood movies are archived on photographic film, not digital hard drives or other storage methods.  Why?  It is simply not reliable.

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Morris Sullivan
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Re: Displaying our photos today and for future, photos beyond the life of our databases
In reply to Graham Hill, 7 months ago

Graham Hill wrote:

Morris Sullivan wrote:

Graham Hill wrote:

rickyred wrote:

I do the same, store on external hard drive,arcived by event ,dates, areas. Backed up on three hard drives kepped in separate places.

And how do you protect your images from bit rot?

The odds of three copies of a file becoming corrupt on three different drive has got to be very near zero. Far more likely that a single hard copy would sustain damage.

Bit rot is a silent killer of data. You wont know it is there until you try to view the image. In the mean time, you will be performing back ups. It is far more likely that you will overwrite a good image with one that has suffered bit rot unknowingly. Then it is too late.

It doesnt matter how many copies you have if you are performing regular back ups.

Bit rot is real and is the #1 problem with digital storage. That is why no digital storage is considered archival.

I have around 100k photos and I've never had one corrupted. Not a singe one. There's error correction codes that help too, so if a small error occurs it will get corrected on the next pass. So I'll take my chances that one day I'll find a corrupted photo, and that it will actually be one that I care about. I'm sure it's far more likely that somewhere in your stack of thousands of sheets of film some will become damaged over time.

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Morris Sullivan
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Re: Displaying our photos today and for future, photos beyond the life of our databases
In reply to Graham Hill, 7 months ago

Graham Hill wrote:

Bill Robb wrote:

scorrpio wrote:

Bill Robb wrote:

+1. Digital storage as an archiving method is too capricious to be considered viable. Putting a folder on some one elses hard drive is all well and good, until that hard drive fails, or the person migrates to another computer and doesn't bother to copy the folder over. Then it's gone forever.

Wet processed color prints have proven themselves over the past half century to be as reliable an archiving method as any, they don't really require any particularly special storage. The shoe box under the bed seems to work as well as anything else.

And do you really want them to sit in that shoebox for years? Maybe quite well preserved, but untouched and unseen?

We are talking about preservation in this thread, no?

Once again, digital storage thrives on distribution and replication - NOT ARCHIVING. Archives are best preserved when you stuff them where sun don't shine, and put up a guard with a gun to not let anyone within a mile of the stuff. Digital data survives best when it is always at your fingertips, when it is shared, when it is copied, when it is accessed. Keep it on your PC. The one you use daily. Put it on your backup drive. Not the one you going to fill and put in that selfsame shoebox - but on the one you do incremental backups to every week. Upload the good stuff to an online site or several. Put them on your kids PC, your parent PC, your friends' PC. Copy the important stuff to your phone. Put on YOUR PC the good stuff from your relatives and friends. And not in some obscure folder on the 'F:' drive, but under 'My Pictures' People no longer transfer their data folder by folder. Folders like 'My Pictures' or 'My Documents' get marked in their entirety with all their subfolders - with a single click.

That's the problem with people whose formation took place when computers were largely in their infancy, and when the only truly viable way to preserve something was to archive it. Now, they try to archive digital data, and then complain that it does not work as well as more traditional media. Of course it doesn't. It was never meant for it. Even those 'archival Blu-Rays' guaranteeed for 200 years. (A product for the 'archivers') The data on them might remain exactly as written - but what are the chances one can find a working Blu-Ray drive - and an interface to connect it to - 200 years hence?

Put the things you want preserved on the hard drive you access daily - and hard drives others access daily. You will be surprised how tenacious that data can be.

Well, yes I would be.

I still got files on my PC from early 90's - and beyond placing them under my 'Documents' folder all that time ago, I have not moved a finger specifically to preserve them.

So what you are doing is archiving......

This is all well and good, but it's also blue skying at it's finest. Hard drives fail, people change jobs and leave computers behind, there contents erased to prep them for the next user, or upgrade computers and don't necessarily move the data that isn't relevant to them, or die, and their machines are wiped before being recycled. Anyone who is reasonably computer savvy can make computer data last practically forever, but this is a very small percentage of the population. Most people, when their hard drive crashes, that's it, data gone forever, never to return, and that includes your precious pictures that you have entrusted to them.

What you are doing is entrusting the preservation of computer data to the capriciousness of others. Probably this is not a really good long term strategy.

Exactly. This is not archiving in any sense of the word.

My wife works in a law office. They back up their files on a weekly basis, but the really important stuff (and I don't know how this is differentiated) is still printed to paper and put in a fireproof vault. This tells me all I need to know about how to preserve important data for the future. Keep the stuff you can afford to lose as computer data, keep the stuff you want to keep forever as something that doesn't need constant interference to maintain it.

Hollywood movies are archived on photographic film, not digital hard drives or other storage methods. Why? It is simply not reliable.

Really? Do they? Do you have a source that they are still doing this. It really doesn't make sense considering most movies are produced digitally. I'm sure there are plenty of companies that could store the digital versions with redundant systems with absolutely no chance of loss.

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Graham Hill
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Re: Displaying our photos today and for future, photos beyond the life of our databases
In reply to Morris Sullivan, 7 months ago

Morris Sullivan wrote:

Graham Hill wrote:

Morris Sullivan wrote:

Graham Hill wrote:

rickyred wrote:

I do the same, store on external hard drive,arcived by event ,dates, areas. Backed up on three hard drives kepped in separate places.

And how do you protect your images from bit rot?

The odds of three copies of a file becoming corrupt on three different drive has got to be very near zero. Far more likely that a single hard copy would sustain damage.

Bit rot is a silent killer of data. You wont know it is there until you try to view the image. In the mean time, you will be performing back ups. It is far more likely that you will overwrite a good image with one that has suffered bit rot unknowingly. Then it is too late.

It doesnt matter how many copies you have if you are performing regular back ups.

Bit rot is real and is the #1 problem with digital storage. That is why no digital storage is considered archival.

I have around 100k photos and I've never had one corrupted. Not a singe one.

Denial is a wonderful way to cope with the reality of bit rot.  I wish I could share in such delusions.

There's error correction codes that help too, so if a small error occurs it will get corrected on the next pass. So I'll take my chances that one day I'll find a corrupted photo, and that it will actually be one that I care about. I'm sure it's far more likely that somewhere in your stack of thousands of sheets of film some will become damaged over time.

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Morris Sullivan
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Re: Displaying our photos today and for future, photos beyond the life of our databases
In reply to Graham Hill, 7 months ago

Graham Hill wrote:

Morris Sullivan wrote:

Graham Hill wrote:

Morris Sullivan wrote:

Graham Hill wrote:

rickyred wrote:

I do the same, store on external hard drive,arcived by event ,dates, areas. Backed up on three hard drives kepped in separate places.

And how do you protect your images from bit rot?

The odds of three copies of a file becoming corrupt on three different drive has got to be very near zero. Far more likely that a single hard copy would sustain damage.

Bit rot is a silent killer of data. You wont know it is there until you try to view the image. In the mean time, you will be performing back ups. It is far more likely that you will overwrite a good image with one that has suffered bit rot unknowingly. Then it is too late.

It doesnt matter how many copies you have if you are performing regular back ups.

Bit rot is real and is the #1 problem with digital storage. That is why no digital storage is considered archival.

I have around 100k photos and I've never had one corrupted. Not a singe one.

Denial is a wonderful way to cope with the reality of bit rot. I wish I could share in such delusions.

What is the reality of bit rot? Do you have any idea how rare it would be for a photo to be corrupted on a modern hard drive? You keep talking like it's such a problem, but nobody out there is even discussing it. I even Googled it to see if I could find some numbers. But all I could find was people talking about how it's not an issue.

In the context of computers slowing down many people attributed that to bit rot but that's a completely different issue. That has to do with memory leaks, system changes, etc. Not actual files on the hard drive becoming corrupted on the bit level.

It's not denial to understand that there is a infinitesimal chance that your photo will be corrupted and to accept that chance. There is also a chance that your hard copy will be damaged. Obviously you accept that chance. And I firmly believe my chances are lower than yours.

Are your archives 100% always protected from damage in every way? Do you never take them out to look at? Is every one of them always in a fire/flood proof safe? How long is the safe rated for? What about the future generations that will be responsible for them. How do you know they will store them correctly. I mean if you want to get stupid about risk factors you can always find one.

I find it way more likely that future generations will keep digital copies of my photos, than I would expect them to keep a safe full of hard copies.

There's error correction codes that help too, so if a small error occurs it will get corrected on the next pass. So I'll take my chances that one day I'll find a corrupted photo, and that it will actually be one that I care about. I'm sure it's far more likely that somewhere in your stack of thousands of sheets of film some will become damaged over time.

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