Digital archiving

0

Dear Artist,

After my last letter, where photographer Andre Kertesz lost and later found his old negs, a pile of emails came in asking for advice on digital archiving. “What technology, what storage, what’s best?” you asked. Others kindly offered their own trusted systems.

You may find it difficult to believe, but some experts believe the painting you’re working on has a better chance of being around a hundred years from now than a company like Kodak. Cutting edge for more than a hundred years, in today’s bankruptcy and takeover times, Kodak may be as ephemeral as the stuff they sell. When you add relative startups like Picasa and Flickr, the future of archiving may be even more shaky. Paintings are carried out of burning buildings. Equipment and software go up with the Scrabble set.

Not only that, technologies become obsolete, these days faster than ever. Floppies and tapes have already gone the way of the dodo. Flash and external drives may not be far behind. “You have to stay ahead of the obsolescence curve,” says Carmi Levy, vice-president of Toronto-based technology consultancy AR Communications. For the time being he recommends DVDs and, to a lesser extent, CDs. Ideally, you’d have a disc in the studio, one in a fire-proof safe, and another at Grandma’s house or in a museum or university.

It seems that burning discs is the answer for today as well as insurance for tomorrow. Levy recommends using universal TIFF or JPEG formats. “While proprietary formats such as Adobe Photoshop’s PSD may be popular today,” says Levy, “they are riskier, because they can’t be read by other software and are controlled by a vendor who may change the format or not even be around in the future.”

Unfortunately, artists who might someday publish or print need a larger format, “high res” material often based on “raw” imagery. This means fewer images per disc — so more discs than ever. Another thing: you need searchable keys and labels, just like Grandma used to do in her old album: “This is me with Dad’s new car, June, 1, 1931, Elk Lake.” Giving your images the old “what, when, where, why and how” makes archiving a joy for now and gives value for future generations. Much better than a jumble of unidentified images rattling around somewhere on an obsolete laptop.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: “You need to schedule a process every few years to move your pics onto whatever technology is currently mainstream — to ensure they aren’t marooned on obsolete media.” (Carmi Levy)

Esoterica: Some experts prefer CDs over DVDs, and recommend the better-known premium brands. Also, be careful to store them away from other electronic devices, moisture and heat, and check them every few years for signs of degradation. Most of us are familiar with the gobbledygook that showed up on floppies after a few years, and apparently the same nonsense can appear on those precious discs.

 

Frost-free freezer archives
by Mark D. Gottsegen, Greensboro, NC, USA

 

The best current practice: Do all that you have suggested, and then back up the CDs from the original file every year. In addition, make hard copies of the images on the “best” current photo paper with the “best” ink matched to the paper, place the hard copies in a Mylar bag, put them in a frost-free freezer in the dark, and never take them out. It’s a good idea to have an uninterruptible power supply to the freezer, with a battery back-up.

 

Spreading your archives
by Joseph Jahn, Nibe, Denmark

 

original abstract painting by Joseph Jahn

original painting by Joseph Jahn

I photograph each painting as a part of the end process, then place the final edited photo five places, three on the Internet ( Google, Flickr, Deviant Art), and two on two different hard drives. And two other sites on the Internet if it is a masterpiece (MYARTSPACE, ArtMesh). If Google or one of the other online storage possibilities starts to fail, simply move your work on to the next online company.

 

 

 

 

Ansel Adams’ newly discovered photos
by Sue Grace Talley, New York, NY, USA

 

Kenji Sano photograph by Ansel Adams

Kenji Sano
photograph by Ansel Adams

Speaking of discovering lost or unknown images, there’s a new collection of Ansel Adams’ photographs preserved in the Smithsonian and is a carefully-worded but wonderful review of the World War II Japanese interment camp at Manzanar, California. The collection is full of Ansel Adams’ own text and photographs. I was not aware of this humanistic side of Adams and it is a reminder again that the “art spirit” is one that somehow illuminates the best of human values.

(RG note) Thanks, Sue. The collection, many of them cheerful portraits, can be found here.

 

Transparencies
by Casey Craig, Wimberley, TX, USA

 

Roadrunner on Bamboo ;torn paper collage 11 x 14 inches by Casey Craig

“Roadrunner on Bamboo”
torn paper collage 11 x 14 inches
by Casey Craig

I usually take a digital photo of my art for use on my website and emails that are in a jpeg format. I then take my favorite paintings to a photography lab and have them shoot a few 4×5 transparencies with a color and gray scale. That way, I am free to sell the originals without worrying if later I’ll need a hi-res image for printing or publishing. Transparencies can be scanned into whatever format is preferred by the publisher/printer. This is not as cheap as shooting your own digital images, but at least I don’t have to worry about the technology getting ahead of me and keeps me off the computer and in the studio.

 

Lesson learned
by Layne Larsen, Kingston, ON, Canada

 

My digital camera has the capability to take TIFF images as well as the compressed JPEGs, so I archive the high-res TIFF files on CD-RWs then burn a duplicate CD-R which I store at my daughter’s house. Having used computers since the mid 1960s — and have had the misfortune to suffer from such things as disk crashes, lost data due to power surges and shutdowns, etc., I never store anything on my computer’s hard drive except application software which can be reloaded from the original disks. I even back up important e-mails and text files.

 

Inorganic CDs
by Yaroslaw Rozputnyak, Moscow, Russia

 

TIFF and compressed TIFF give similar colour print, but PNG-format gives also similar print being less sized. JPG are dangerous thing for colour — to check its fullness is necessary each time when JPG is created. Any CD-DVD are plastic with entropy of amorphous body and nothing from organic is not so stable than inorganic, say I saw one ancient painting at copper plate — beautiful colours keeping and additionally going out light from copper through picture paint. Inorganic-based CDs are still a dream, but the dream also is limited — the ordinary glass is crystallized to non-transparent state after 5000 years.

 

File formats
by Robin Brooks

 

The Gale Abating oil painting on canvas 16 x 22 inches by Robin Brooks


“The Gale Abating”
oil on canvas 16 x 22 inches
by Robin Brooks

Please note that the PSD format for Photoshop is not intended as a format that is to be distributed. This is the “working” level of file that responds to many of the photoshop commands that do not work on “flattened” file types such as jpg. And while tiff files now allow layering, they are not the layering file type of choice except by people who do not know better. But you are right in that the PSD format from Kodak is now obsolete but can still be read by Photoshop because it is based on certain forms of file structure that will be around as long as we will be concerned about it.

 

Gold coated CDs
by Ion Danu

 

Orange Fire original watercolour painting by Ion Danu

“Orange Fire”
original watercolour by Ion Danu

Heavy subject, digital archiving! I do this since 1998, when I’ve immigrated to Canada and I had to take with me at least the IMAGE of the family photos and, especially, the reproductions from my work… I came here with 2 CDs of scanned images — I still use from time to time. Here, in Canada, I’ve scanned and archived regularly my drawings and paintings (still do!) and yes, I had some troubles with file format and even with CD-s quality until I’ve learned, the hard way, that JPEG for instance is the best solution (TIFF can be tricky if you change from Mac to PC and vice versa). Concerning CD and DVD quality (I thought initially that a CD or DVD, no matter who the maker, could last for ever… not any more!) I have a friend in Alberta who wrote me about a Californian firm, DELKIN, which produces gold coated CDs and DVDs, archival quality, quaranteed 100 years… Of course, they are not cheap.

 

Portable hard drives as storage
by Dustin Curtis, Decatur, AL, USA

 

In The Thick Of It acrylic painting on canvas 12 x 16 inches by Dustin Curtis

“In The Thick Of It”
acrylic on canvas 12 x 16 inches
by Dustin Curtis

Take advantage of separate hard drives too. I just purchased a 350 gig portable hard drive for around $90. That’s not too bad for that much space. You can get them with much more space, if needed. I just hook up my USB cable and copy the images and files over. Nothing is 100% guaranteed and hard drives can crash, but I’ve got them on the separate hard drive, plus my main computers hard drive. I’m planning on doing a third backup, to another separate hard drive and storing it in a separate location. When you get upwards of 10 or 15 gigs of images and files, including digital photographs, it becomes less efficient to back up to discs or DVDs. By the way, the 350 gig hard drive is about the size of a 5″x7″ picture frame, not some big, clunky thing that takes up a lot of room.

 

Naming and backing up files
by Dwight Miller, Boone, NC, USA

 

At the very least, each file should have a meaningful name, as you suggest in your 1-25-08 release. However, that is just the start. From that point, each CD or DVD should have its own content log, something understood by the artist that can be printed and kept in a physical file folder or binder. It is far faster to read through a printed list of what’s on a CD or DVD than it is to search through each CD or DVD on the computer, no matter how fast that computer is. I would describe my own filing and logging process for the nearly 75,000 images that I’ve spent a lot of time culling, sorting, filing, backing up and cataloging. But I’m not certain how good my system is or how well it would apply to anyone else. To me, the most important thing is to use a system that each individual can find workable. I don’t use database management software. I use a word processor and simply write a table of contents for each disk (CD now, DVD soon).

 

Advice of a digital painter
by Jesse Silver, Burbank, CA, USA

 

I work in the entertainment industry as a matte painter, background painter and art director. Every painting I do these days is digital, whether done in Photoshop or Painter. I’ve been archiving materials for the last 15 years and can attest to the impermanence of various archiving media. Years ago we were advised to store onto magneto-optical discs as these had a lifespan of 75-100 years. However, this technology never really caught on, probably due to the expense of both the media and the players. I generally archive onto DVDs, because they’re readily available and cost effective. However, their lifespan is fairly short by archival standards, perhaps 10-15 years. I can’t say that I’m looking forward to re-burning several hundred DVDs. As to a bulletproof file format, there is none. Far from being coin of the realm, TIFF’s come in many types, some of them quite exotic. At Warner Brothers Animation, we were advised against using TIFFs for archiving. Rather, we used the TARGA format, which is about as close to coin of the realm as you’re likely to get. I archive in a variety of formats, much of it Photoshop because of the desire to save layered documents. Many applications don’t understand layered TIFFS, and TARGA is not a multilayered file format. While I archive everything, I only do multiple archive copies for core work. There’s just too much to save for possible reuse or revision to allow me the luxury of time to do multiple copies of everything. Frankly, traditional media will probably hold up much longer than digital, no matter what file format or storage is used. One thing is certain, archiving onto a magnetic hard drive is like playing Russian Roulette with all chambers loaded.

 

Problems with CDs
by Plamen Petkov, Las Vegas, NV, USA

 

original photograph by Plamen Petkov

original photograph
by Plamen Petkov

I have had numerous DVDs and CDs going “bad” on me and being unreadable due to scratches. Plus, CDs tend to “rot” after a few years. So far the SONY CDs are the worst. The “rot” first appears at the inside edge of the CD and then slowly proceeds to eat up more and more of the CD. Sometimes the rot appears at the outer age, but most often it begins from the inside. I’d advise to forget CDs totally for archiving purposes. Plus CDs are too small anyway, only 700 MB’s. DVDs are the way to go but make sure to make at least a copy of the copy. And check them every year. Keep them in cool AND dark place. I’d advise to get a second hard drive (external) and copy your stuff there, daily. Second, I totally disagree with the file format suggested. To begin with, jpegs are compressed lossy format. They are the absolute WORST thing to save images in. TIFF is much better and the Photoshop format PSD is not lossy therefore you can make the image as big as you need. Don’t worry about PSD not being around in a few years, that’s just plain silly. Even if it isn’t, you can still use Photoshop to switch the format to something else.

 

Pretty funny stuff
by Peter Brown, Oakland, CA, USA

 

Beaton Path oil painting on wood by Peter Brown

“Beaton Path”
oil on wood by Peter Brown

This talk of archiving is quite funny. It is funny because it moves in
two directions at once. The cave art in France is 35,000 years old. It was made with charcoal and saliva. And, for you artists today, get a web page, just put it all out there. And, don’t underestimate the color copiers. Also, go to Kodak’s web page, or Snapfish. You can get a 20 page book of digital photos for about five bucks. And, truly, if you are worried about permanence, there is oil paint. Many of the first oil paintings are still looking good. At the end of this obsession with archiving is the fact that nothing is truly permanent. Permanence has nothing to do with making art. All pigments are fugitive. Even as all human beings are fugitive. Enjoy this moment. It is splendid. We cannot predict the future. Live for this minute in time. Make an image! If your image is memorable, it will be remembered.

 

World of Art Featured artist Sharon Sprung, New York, NY, USA  

'PR by Sharon Sprung, New York, NY, USA

PR

oil painting on panel, 40 x 48 inches by Sharon Sprung, New York, NY, USA

 

You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes Jacqulynn Mulyk of Calgary, AB, Canada who wrote, “Before you pay for that archival documentation, ask yourself, ‘Is this one I want to be remembered by?’ If not, then why are you worried about archiving it?”

And also Mayanna Howard of Las Cruces, NM, USA who wrote, “I store all my images in jpeg format on flash drives. This gives me the freedom to put them back into the computer and maneuver them into another size, put them onto cards, etc.”

And also Anonymous who wrote, “In the digital age, a roll of 24 exposures would seem like an easy matter compared to the two to three hundred photos I bring home from a photo expedition these days. Alas, it’s a mixed blessing!”

Thousands of negatives of photographs taken by Robert Capa during the Spanish Civil War, long thought to be lost forever, have resurfaced.

Thousands of negatives of photographs taken by Robert Capa during the Spanish Civil War, long thought to be lost forever, have resurfaced.

And also Amy Leftoff of Roswell, GA, USA who wrote, “We, at Gallery Street, use a Betterlight ScanBack, which is the state of the art way to digitize paintings. We archive all of the files in 3 different locations as well as give our artists DVDs of their files.”

And also Joris Van Daele of London, ON, Canada who wrote, “One huge flaw of computer made CDs/DVDs is that they can be made unreadable in just a few of weeks if left in sunlight, and even faster in a hot car.”

And also David Burris who wrote, “I recommend using Delkin Devices Archival Gold CD-R (or an equiv. brand) to store your digital images. They are tested to have a shelf life of 300 years, unlike conventional CDs which can degrade after 5 to 6 years. It’s what I use and so far so good.”

And also Warren Criswell who wrote, “An amazing lost and found story similar to Andre Kertesz but concerning Robert Capa and demonstrating an early example of archiving is here.”

 

Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for Digital archiving

 

 

 

From: Donna Brower Watts — Jan 25, 2008

With regard to archiving, I have been keeping my records and photos of my artwork on my Working Artist program. I guess I haven’t been as careful about getting the info onto disks of some kind as I should be. I appreciate the nudge in the letter. Thanks. Donna

From: Margo Buccini — Jan 29, 2008

I am so sorry about the loss of your painting, and the violation you must have felt to your privacy! At least the thief had superb judgment in stealing your painting, and not your laptop. While I was studying in New York, one of my paintings (4’x6′) was stolen. Luckily, I ‘found’ it in a gallery window, signed with someone else’s name! I hope that you find your painting, in good condition, and that there is a plausible explanation as to why someone would steal it. (Apart from just loving it, and having to have it)>

From: Tinker — Jan 29, 2008

Peter Brown you are so right on! Who among us is such a great master that they must “save records”?

From: Dayle Ann Stratton — Jan 29, 2008

“Ansel Adams’s Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar”: I believe this material is at the Library of Congress, not the Smithsonian. Here is a link that works: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/anseladams/

From: Dayle Ann Stratton — Jan 29, 2008

And on the subject at hand, that of archiving: I do take digital photos of those works I feel worth recording. I have done this primarily as a way of evaluating my development as an artist, and a way of presenting my work to people who might be interested in it. It would also be useful as a way of documenting loss, whether theft or other kinds of loss (I once lost nearly everything I owned, so this is not an abstract possibility for me). But I have to confess that I have no interest in getting anal about it, or worrying about creating archives that will outlast me. My compulsion is to create, and once something is done, I don’t worry about it a lot. If by some amazing series of events, I become an artist of significant interest, someone will no doubt develop some means of archiving and tracking my work. Won’t be me: I need my time and energy to make art.

From: Loretta Markell — Jan 29, 2008

Your story of the stolen painting made me laugh, not that I am insensitive to your loss but because it brought to mind something similar happening to me years ago. I was taking a printmaking class and did a really nice mono-type of a nude figure sort of in the style of Matisse. After class everyone in the class hung their work on the wall outside the print studio. When I returned to class a few days later, I was looking at everyone’s work and then to my surprise didn’t see mine. I asked the professor. He didn’t know where it was. The only answer was that it was stolen. My first reaction was anger which soon changed to thoughts of that was a great print. It’s an irreplaceable one of a kind. Can I ever do anything as wonderful again?” I was flattered and outraged simultaneously. We can forgive the thief with good taste.

From: Marie Martin — Jan 29, 2008

I keep hard copy inventories to navigate through the images stored on an external HD and on a set of DVD’s; my photographer has a set on his hard drive too. The hard copy inventory is completed by prints of the images onto ordinary paper. I simply go to my main photo library source file and print the entire thing in Mac’s a “contact page” format which produces a thumbnail of each with the ID number I’ve assigned. Not sure anything compares to the speed and efficiency of an eyeball scan of a printed page. After handling lots of images, I gave up grouping via a numbering/naming system. New paintings get the next number in line. The inventory system, created in Excel, allows sorting data by any category I can dream up. Categories include size, title, date created, where the painting has traveled, etc. Another great tool is the iPod. I’ve got over 100 Tiff files stored on an iPod I carry with me everywhere. It acts as a great marketing tool. Not to mention, you can show family and friends what you do all day! You can set up a mini slide show with interesting dissolves from one image to another. Everyone seems to love it. Added bonus: when you’re away from all of your paintings and that moment of “how did I handle the sky in the thus-and-such painting” occurs, viewing that piece on your iPod brings it freshly to mind. Two points: First, I agree with everyone who’s made a mention about priorities. While important to archive properly and make good use of relevant technology, it’s a challenge to not let painting time get eaten up by all this. For me, it’s enough to simply remain aware of the clock. Second, for those doubters who ask why worry about all this archiving … I take archiving seriously in order to honor the hard work I’ve put in, not to mention that it is a wonderful self-teaching tool. But I also do this for my family who believes in and supports me — especially on those days when I feel like chucking the whole thing. I spend a great deal of our family’s resources (time and money) on this little thing called art, and no one ever complains. They believe in me. Honoring my work by archiving it with serious intent is one way to honor my family for their trust and support. And who knows? We all know that artists more often than not become famous after death. Well, I’ve got this wonderful little 7-yr old grandson who already has quite an eye for color and composition. Who knows, maybe taking my work seriously will help him set his goals. Marie Martin www.marie-martin.com

From: Mel Lammers — Jan 29, 2008

Archiving: Plan on having to re-do your archive every 5-10 years to keep up with the technology. When you get to 15 K images (I have over that many photos), only hard drives makes sense. Just plan on having many copies on multiple HDDs. I keep 2 external drives in a safe deposit box in addition to a 1.3 TB Drobo array. Check out www.drobo.com Mel

From: Tom Swanson — Jan 29, 2008

I’m a geek, who digitizes and Photoshops my wife’s (Diann Haist’s) artwork for making giclee prints. Regarding digital archiving, here are some points to ponder:

1) First, consider the fact that just one print-image for a full run of top-selling limited-edition prints might well be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Thus, for a well-established professional artist, price should be of no consequence where a high quality backup system and archival storage media are concerned.

2) Images should initially be digitized in the largest available size, and NEVER saved/archived in JPG format.

Practically speaking, an 8 Megapixel (or better) camera should be used, with the “save as TIFF” (or RAW) format option selected. Initial files should be over 15 megabytes in size, possibly up to 25 or 30 megabytes for each single TIFF or RAW image. The bigger, the better.

Comparatively speaking, a similar image taken by that same camera, set for the JPG format, will be compressed down to 4 or 5 megapixels in size, and since JPG uses a “lossy” file compression scheme, this visibly degrades the detail of the image (you might say that it goes a bit out of focus), and therefore is unacceptable if you wish to retain the quality of your images. (Also, each time you open a JPG image — with Photoshop, for example — and edit and then re-save that image, the JPG compression process degrades that image one more time. It’s additive, in other words.) TIFF DOESN’T DEGRADE THE IMAGES. JPG DOES.

Moral of the story: Always use the TIFF format, except maybe when you wish to clone a copy of a large TIFF file down to a small JPG, for emailing or other internet purposes.

3) The original images should be edited in Photoshop (or equivalent editor) and then saved with a pixel density of at least 300 dots-per-inch, at the same inch-size as the original image. This indeed creates huge image files, but so what? Today’s technology is built to handle it, and it’s constantly improving.

Example: The uncompressed filesize of a typical 14″ x 18″ TIFF image at 300 DPI, is around 65 megabytes. Some of my largest image files are over 450 megabytes in size, which is astounding when you consider that the first hard drive that the IBM PC came out with 20 years ago had a total capacity of just 10 megabytes. (That’s back when a PC with two floppy drives and one 10MB hard drive, cost $4,500.)

Photoshop gives you the option of saving a TIFF file using the “LZW” compression scheme, which is what’s called a “loss-less” scheme, meaning it will create a smaller file, but it won’t degrade the quality of your image like JPG does. Saved with the LZW compression format, a 65 megabyte file might shrink to just 30-40 megabytes, which is significant when saving several dozen such images to an archival media. I always save my TIFF’s using the LZW option.

3) Backup and storage: As a minimum, I recommend having two large hard drives inside your computer, plus a large external USB HD for short-term backup and another which is saved in a fireproof safe, plus a DVD recorder using long-life disc media such as the above-mentioned 300-year-life DELKIN product. When editing in Photoshop, save copies to both hard drives.

I highly recommend plugging your computer and monitor into a battery-backed Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) so you won’t lose anything if there’s a power outage. They aren’t very expensive, and certainly cheaper than half a day of your time if you had to re-do all of the work that you invested in Photoshopping a good image (which you hadn’t yet saved), just before a power outage temporarily lobotomized your computer’s memory.

I highly recommend Norton GHOST, as a very efficient overall automatic backup program. My next backup upgrade will be an external dual-drive networked hard drive setup (two 500-GB “RAID” drives in parallel), which automatically clones and shares each file onto both hard drives. That way if one hard drive ever craps out, it gives you an alarm and you just replace that drive, after which the remaining good drive automatically clones all of its data over onto the new drive (automatically replacing the broken one), and then proceeds to do its normal storage as usual. Anyone on your home or office network can use that system for storage.

4) Image file database: Do you need a simple, inexpensive relational database which lets you include a visual image of each piece of artwork with each record? I finally found one, with FileAmigo Pro, and it’s a delight to use. It only costs $40, and it does everything that I ask. It also allows several networked computers to access a single database file, which is quite handy. Look into it. Archiving is an ongoing process which gets easier and better each year.

Regards, Tom Swanson

From: Rick Rotante — Jan 30, 2008

I am going to get into hot water here after commenting on Sharon Sprung’s painting. But I usually go where angels fear to tread. I have a problem with the whole New York school of realist artists. In fact, I have a problem with Realist artists as a whole. Being an artist, I certainly can appreciate the work involved in her/their work. (I also went to view her website) Obviously, my comments will not hurt her career in any way. She is doing fine all by herself. Her paintings though well executed are not my cup of tea. This is what makes the world go round. Please, I don’t want a mess of anti-comments to come to my website on this. I’m expressing only one opinion on Realism as a whole. I prefer a looser more expressive form of art. Realism is obviously not that. I know it’s a cliché by now but if I wanted the image to be exact, I would take a photograph. The only expression I get from Ms. Spring’s work is in the attitude of the models. Here she excels. Classical artists, though realist, lifted their subjects to lofty heights thereby changing the “realist” attitude of their subjects for me making it more palatable. I’m all for classical paintings. The work is impeccable. William Bouguereau is one of my favorite painters expressly for this reason. Much of what I see today with realism is only a demonstration of technique. Ms Sprung is one artist that has gotten close to a “classical” feel with her posing attitudes. There is intrigue and mystery and a sense of the person painted. Especially with the stare of the women in PR featured on this website. As for the rest, I don’t care to see the chair as detailed or the feet or toes or every hair on her pretty head. I’ve said that I prefer to see the artist reflected in their paintings but now I realize that maybe I am seeing the artist. And with most other artists, I see more technique than substance. I also think realism is more digestible for the common person. They can absorb this more easily than a style of painting that they don’t understand. All the pieces in their place. It’s safe.

From: Larry Malone — Jan 30, 2008

Rick– If you think Ms Sprung’s painting looks like a photograph I am dying to hear what kind of camera you use!

From: Tom Swanson — Feb 05, 2008

I’ve just looked at the DROBO storage system and it looks almost perfect for my needs mentioned above, replacing the dual-RAID drive system that I mentioned. Check it out at DROBO.COM and watch their video demo. Quite impressive.

From: Gene Essman — Feb 07, 2008
From: Comments moderator — Feb 08, 2008
From: Gene Essman — Feb 11, 2008

Please forgive me for what seems to be a disjointed post. It seems evidently that I did something to cause my first post to not appear. I’ll offer the Cliff notes on what I had to say in my first message. I shared that in my experience of about fourty years with computers, no media is fool-proof over time. Floppies become defective, CDs and DVDs rot, tapes stick together, and hard drives fail. Still, backups are essential. What I wanted to recommend is that multiple copies on multiple hard drives, even RAID arrays should be utilized along with backup power supplies and that hard drives should be backed up on GOLD CDs and DVDs, multiple copies, stored in different locations, checked often, perhaps every six months, and new duplicates made every two years. Further, as the size of images push us to require more and larger hard drives, I suggest that the old ones not be wiped clean but rather that they be retired prior to reaching the end of their functional lives and that they too be stored in a safe, dry, non-magnetic environment. An additional problem is that, while they’re all supposed to produce a universally accepted standard of recording, often a CD or DVD drive in one computer cannot read discs recorded in another computer. With changes in hardware and software as they are currently being made, one cannot predict what will be usable a few years from now. Pro photographers prefer a RAW format image to work with because it gives them the closest thing to a photo lab-like flexibility with which to work but each camera manufacturer has its own version of what RAW is and not all RAW images are equal and not all RAW images can be effectively used with all “RAW software.” There is a good article in this month’s Shutterbug magazine that addresses this issue. I have lost so much data and so many images over the years that I make copies on every type of media available to me at that time and store the copies all over the place. Each CD or DVD should be stored in its own sleeve and above all, do not write on the disc. Some discs say you can not only write on them but can even print on them. Well, only time will tell how accurate that suggestion is and the only way to make sure that doing that will not lead to disc rot is to not do it. I’m not in the business of beta testing a disc manufacturer’s effeciency. I need backups and so far nothing I’ve used is fool-proof. Gold, multiple copies, stored in multiple locations – period. Sorry for any confusion created due to the loss of my first post.

 

Share.

Leave A Reply

No Featured Workshop
No Featured Workshop
Share.

Robert and Sara Genn Twice-Weekly Letters

Subscribe and receive the Twice-Weekly letter on art. You’ll be joining a worldwide community of artists.
Subscription is free.