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Thread: Digital photo storage backup-- what are you doing?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2001

    Digital photo storage backup-- what are you doing?

    Hey guys,

    I've got 52 gigabytes of 4x5" drum scans on my Mac's hard drive, which represent s eleven years of work; i couldn't even estimate the personal cost i've incurred to get the images, the scans, and do the Photoshop work for printing. Suffice it to say that hard drive is by FAR the most valuable possession in my world.

    My backup system is to have two additional 120 GB external hard drives, each of which contains a mirror image of the first. Every week or so I do a backup, so in case any of the three drives fails, i have the whole 52 gigabytes on the othe r two.

    But, all three drives are in the same place, so if there's a catastrophe such as an earthquake, all three could go at once. Plus, i've heard that no hard drive can be expected to last more than a few years, so this definitely is not an "archival" solution.

    So, what are other people doing for archiving of large quantities of important i mage files? burning CD's is a possibility but very time consuming for 52 GB; i' m thinking about burning DVD's (it'd take about 12 of them to back up my whole l ibrary). have other people tried tape drives or other stuff? any suggestions w ould be appreciated,

    ~cj (Seattle)

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2001

    Digital photo storage backup-- what are you doing?

    currently I back-up on c/d but I realize that they are not really archival so I plan on moving all my digital info to the next new thing and the next new thing and so on and so on. My work doesn't involve much manipulation so I still consider my film to be my true archival storage medium.

  3. #3
    Photo Dilettante Donald Brewster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Malibu, CA

    Digital photo storage backup-- what are you doing?

    I keep on separate external (and portable) 80gb firewire disk drive. Keep one in a separate place and periodically update. I think you got the general idea right. Life's too short for the DVD/CD solution.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    Digital photo storage backup-- what are you doing?

    Check this out for alot of data....

    fwiw, here's a link to the access project we're getting drawn the working guidelines to this, you can find some more links.

    Here's the working site for the Library of Congress's American Memory site, there are tons of links to tech info here...

    Not much of an answer I guess...we do use digital files in our access records, I hesitate to say just how they're backed up...not my field.But you'll find alot of info on large amounts of data & preservation of digital files & images in these links...just about every archive in this country is involved in a digitization project now, and agencies generate electronic records that have to be retained for set periods of time....maybe you'll find some good tips in these links beyond what you may get as a typical answer....good probably need to set up some off-site storage though. Since I'm talking records & such (note: I am not an archivist):

    Opinions expressed in this message may not represent the policy of my agency.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2000

    Digital photo storage backup-- what are you doing?

    Hi Chris...

    I try them all.. and I agree that's CD is time consuming (but it's safe)... backup on another hard drive (external) is one solution... recently I went for DLT tape... The first time you set it up it's will be long...that's what they do in corporate envirenment... in my opinion (for a small scale operation).. just bite the bullet, get a spindle of good quality 700Mb CD and do it frequently... DVD is OK too....

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 1998

    Digital photo storage backup-- what are you doing?

    Iomega now makes a 20GB portable drive called Peerless. It accepts both 10GB and 20GB disks. You just buy more disks as your need grows. You have a choice between a USB or FireWire connection.

    The Iomega drives are much faster than burning CDs/DVDs. The 10/20GB disks are also pretty compact so you could easily store them somewhere offsite.

    This is not a permanent solution. Then again, I'm not sure there is a permanent "digital" solution yet. CDs/DVDs have a limited lifetime and obsolesence is always a problem with any digital technology.

  7. #7

    Digital photo storage backup-- what are you doing?

    I'd second the Iomega suggestion ... an innovative company with high quality products, plus you'd need only three or four of the portable drives.

    The CD/DVD solution is inexpensive, and probably not too time consuming once you've brought things up to date. I'm using CD's now, but I'll soon be looking at the portable drive solution.

  8. #8

    Digital photo storage backup-- what are you doing?

    I forgot to add this link from Luminous Landscape

  9. #9

    Digital photo storage backup-- what are you doing?

    I think what you're doing now is a good solution if you just add off-site storag e for one copy. That would seem to cover all the bases. I've been using CDs for the past 6-7 years and I've had a couple of failures out of the 300 or so that I 've written data on. Thats not a bad track record, but it is a problem if the ph oto or file you want is on the one that is corrupted! None of our digital storag e media is permanent, your data will have to be migrated to newer media over th e years to come, probably many times in your lifetime. Given the relatively low prices for hard drive storage and for your time spent archiving you are mostly d oing the right thing now.

  10. #10

    Digital photo storage backup-- what are you doing?


    I am a bit paranoid when it comes to back up, and use a quadruple back-up. Most of my backup effort has do with my writings, so these are pretty small files.

    1. I keep and identical copy of my hard-drive on an external drive (there are quite a few programs which will scan all folders and update (I use Synchronize! for mac, which works fine)

    2. i back up everything monthly onto CD (you would need DVD due to size) using Retrospect. I keep these in a safe-deposit box at a bank.

    3. I have two cheap 80gb Firewire drives, which with Synchronize! I keep all media files on. One stays at work, another is parked at home.

    4. I use an small FTP internet back-up for current work (80mb max)

    If you can borrow a friends tape drive, this may be the best bet. The good ones are very expensive, and hopefully you would never need to use it. I wouldn't bother with DVD, it would simply take too long. Perhaps your best bet is to buy two or three 80gb firewire drives (NOT Maxstor) and keep them parked in different places, work, home, friends place.

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