Long term archiving??

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What is the best way to store digital pictures for long time, say one or
two generations?? Any suggestion ??

AFH
 
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Its a tough call...I backup all work to a second drive....and burn DVD as
well.

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"A.F. Hobbacher" <hobbacher@t-online.de> wrote in message
news:423D1902.202B8735@t-online.de...
> What is the best way to store digital pictures for long time, say one or
> two generations?? Any suggestion ??
>
> AFH
>
 

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A.F. Hobbacher wrote:
> What is the best way to store digital pictures for long time, say one or
> two generations?? Any suggestion ??
>
> AFH
>

Good quality prints, passed around to numerous interested parties.

Bob
 
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"A.F. Hobbacher" <hobbacher@t-online.de> writes:

> What is the best way to store digital pictures for long time, say one or
> two generations?? Any suggestion ??

I don't think there is a way at this time. CDs were touted as the way for
awhile, but then they started falling apart and and people started saving
to DVDs.

Even if CDs last for generations, there's no way to know that they'll still
be viable as a resource -- like 5 1/4-inch floppies. Nobody has drives for
those that you've still got laying around.

Another issue is that nobody knows what's on a CD, so if your grandkids
stumble across one, they won't know it's your valued imagery -- same with a
DVD.

Many people who post here swear they'll keep up with changing technology
and convert all their data from CDs to DVDs to keep the images available. I
doubt it, but let's say you do manage to keep your files on a medium that's
current at your death. Who's going to do that for you for the next one or
two generations? Who's going to care?

With film, at least the film is there, maybe prints, so people can see what
the images are without having to have a converter or a computer or whatever
it takes to view the zeros and ones. But who knows whether the means to
create prints will continue to exist? Many archives are scanning their
negatives and prints, so the originals are preserved regardless of what
medium is used to present them digitally.

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"A.F. Hobbacher" <hobbacher@t-online.de> writes:

> What is the best way to store digital pictures for long time, say one or
> two generations?? Any suggestion ??

There's no way to do it that's a one-shot process; nothing you can
write the data to and then reliably count on being able to forget it
for a long time and safely read it later.

CDs will *mostly* last that long. I think it's probable that the
drives you have in your computer in 25-50 years will be able to read a
CD, but it's sure not certain. DVDs ditto. Actually, CDs may outlast
the current DVD format, because the current CD format *is* adequate
for its primary purpose, whereas the current DVD format *isn't*
adequate for HDTV-quality movies.

Also don't use weird proprietary file formats. TIFF and JPEG (with
the usual discussion about JPEG for archiving taken as read) will be
stable that long at least.

Take advantage of the fact that you *can* make multiple copies of
digital media. In addition to protecting you somewhat against media
degradation, it will *also* protect you against fire and loss.

Ideally, the physical media should be read by a program that reports
error levels every few years, so that you can copy to new media
*before* they become unreadable. You should also keep in mind the
changes in file formats and in available drives going on in the world
around you, and copy the data to new formats or new media as seems
wise. A digital archive managed with this level of attention will
outlast any analog media. However, a generation's lapse of attention
may lose all the data if you're unlucky.

The best archival-grade CDs are supposed to be good for over 100
years, unless there's some problem with the writer or a sample defect
or they get damaged or something. Kodak claims 120 years for their
Gold Ultima, for example. I've seen claims as high as 300 years for
some gold-reflector CDs.

All the info I've seen says store them up on edge in jewel cases, keep
them out of bright light, avoid extremes of temperature. There's a
report from NIST that's of relevance, at
<http://www.itl.nist.gov/div895/carefordisc/CDandDVDCareandHandlingGuide.pdf>.
--
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David Dyer-Bennet wrote:

> The best archival-grade CDs are supposed to be good for over 100
> years, unless there's some problem with the writer or a sample defect
> or they get damaged or something. Kodak claims 120 years for their
> Gold Ultima, for example.

Under certain conditions, one of which includes that the disc be written
by a Kodak cd burner which is in spec. The first caveat of the study
(quoted below) is interesting. It says that if there are any mechanism
that degrade CDs that aren't affected by heat, then the study is
meaningless.

http://www.cd-info.com/CDIC/Technology/CD-R/Media/Kodak.html

QUOTE:

All lifetime predicitons are subject to the following caveats:

1. This methodology can only predict lifetimes limited by the
failure mechanisms which evident themselves at the temperatures and
times encompassed by the experiment. It is always possible that, at
temperatures closer to those experienced during normal use, a different
mechanism will have a higher rate than the mechanisms we have probed,
leading to a reduced product lifetime. The greater the difference
between ambient temperature and the lowest test temperature, the greater
the likelihood of this occurring. In order to cause change over the 3
months the discs were in the environmental chambers, very high
temperatures were required. ("Clock time", including testing and
analysis, was much longer than 3 months. Three month incubations are
common in the optical media industry.)
2. Poor recording or poor playback equipment can drastically reduce
the apparent lifetime of the media. (The obvious extreme: a broken
recorder can create unreadable discs; lifetime appears to be 0.) It is
very important that the initial BLER be representative of a well written
disc.
3. The prediction is only accurate if the Arrhenius model is valid
over the entire temperature range 100°C to 25°C.
 
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Phil Stripling <phil_stripling@cieux.zzn.com> writes:

> "A.F. Hobbacher" <hobbacher@t-online.de> writes:
>
>> What is the best way to store digital pictures for long time, say one or
>> two generations?? Any suggestion ??
>
> I don't think there is a way at this time. CDs were touted as the way for
> awhile, but then they started falling apart and and people started saving
> to DVDs.
>
> Even if CDs last for generations, there's no way to know that they'll still
> be viable as a resource -- like 5 1/4-inch floppies. Nobody has drives for
> those that you've still got laying around.

I've got working 5.25" drives, and professional data transfer services
do too. The problem, at this point, is that the *disks* are probably
not readable any more. Magnetic media are a very poor archiving
choice -- diskette, tape, whatever. Short lifespan. Not very
stable.

> Another issue is that nobody knows what's on a CD, so if your grandkids
> stumble across one, they won't know it's your valued imagery -- same with a
> DVD.

One should label them, certainly. And perhaps the boxes they're
stored in as well.

> Many people who post here swear they'll keep up with changing technology
> and convert all their data from CDs to DVDs to keep the images available. I
> doubt it, but let's say you do manage to keep your files on a medium that's
> current at your death. Who's going to do that for you for the next one or
> two generations? Who's going to care?

Probably nobody, but if so, then it doesn't matter.

*I* have been working to carry forward photo images from my
grandparents' and parents' generations, so it doesn't seem that
inconceivable that somebody might continue to care after me.

> With film, at least the film is there, maybe prints, so people can
> see what the images are without having to have a converter or a
> computer or whatever it takes to view the zeros and ones. But who
> knows whether the means to create prints will continue to exist?
> Many archives are scanning their negatives and prints, so the
> originals are preserved regardless of what medium is used to present
> them digitally.

Color prints from the 1960s are mostly gone, ditto negatives. The
materials have deteriorated. I've had to deal with prints, negs, and
slides that are badly faded in my work preserving family photos.

Modern chromagenic materials aren't nearly as bad as the 1960s stuff,
but you still shouldn't count on them for even 50 years in ordinary
household storage. You *might* get that, but you might not.
--
David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:dd-b@dd-b.net>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
RKBA: <http://noguns-nomoney.com/> <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/>
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rafe bustin <rafeb@speakeasy.net> writes:

> On Sun, 20 Mar 2005 19:29:54 -0600, David Dyer-Bennet <dd-b@dd-b.net>
> wrote:
>
>>Color prints from the 1960s are mostly gone, ditto negatives. The
>>materials have deteriorated.
>
>
> Not necessarily. I've got a few from the mid-sixties
> that still scan well. The slides have fared worse,
> except for the Kodachromes. 15 year old Ektar
> negatives scan perfectly.

15 year, sure. And of course there's a range of results from the
1960s materials (as you say, other than Kodachrome), but an awful lot
of the 1960s color consumer photos are gone (note "consumer").

> BTW, I've got pros telling me that DAT and DLT tape
> is good, reliable backup. Drives and media still
> widely available, and very high capacity (eg 20/40 G).

I know that 9-track 1/2" tape wasn't very stable, either. Maybe DAT
and DLT are a heck of a lot better, but I haven't been convinced yet.
Also the drives are darned expensive compared to DVD writers.

> But I used to deal with audio tape in 7" reels, and
> I saw some of that stuff degrade over 10-15 years.

Yep. Consumer 1/4" reel-to-reel, too.
--
David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:dd-b@dd-b.net>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
RKBA: <http://noguns-nomoney.com/> <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/>
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joel@exc.com (Dr. Joel M. Hoffman) writes:

>> What is the best way to store digital pictures for long time, say one or
>> two generations?? Any suggestion ??
>
> No one knows yet. I think a good photographic print, using
> time-tested technology, is a good idea for anything you know you want
> to have in a two generations.

Which means B&W silver-gelatine on fiber-base paper. Not color.
--
David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:dd-b@dd-b.net>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
RKBA: <http://noguns-nomoney.com/> <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/>
Pics: <http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/> <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/>
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On Sun, 20 Mar 2005 19:29:54 -0600, David Dyer-Bennet <dd-b@dd-b.net>
wrote:

>Color prints from the 1960s are mostly gone, ditto negatives. The
>materials have deteriorated.


Not necessarily. I've got a few from the mid-sixties
that still scan well. The slides have fared worse,
except for the Kodachromes. 15 year old Ektar
negatives scan perfectly.

BTW, I've got pros telling me that DAT and DLT tape
is good, reliable backup. Drives and media still
widely available, and very high capacity (eg 20/40 G).

But I used to deal with audio tape in 7" reels, and
I saw some of that stuff degrade over 10-15 years.


rafe b.
http://www.terrapinphoto.com
 
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There are a lot of people worrying about this very thing and I believe
that within 5 years there will be a good solution, but it does not
appear to be here yet. It is hard to predict what technology will be
like in 1 to 2 generations, it is very possible that your home computer
will be able to read either CDs or DVD, but there is no guaranty of
this. But I am sure there will be people in the business of reading
CDs and DVD long after they are long gone, like you can get 5.25 floppy
read now. Or supper 8 movies put on to DVD.

I print a selection of my photo from time to time, this is getting
cheaper all the time, at Costco the cost is $0.17 per print. These
prints will last as long as any photographic prints because they are in
fact photographic prints. Here is a photo that is close to 50 years
old that I scanned less then a year ago, it does show some degradation
but it has lasted 50 years fairly well.
http://www.pbase.com/konascott/image/30853013/large.jpg
and Yes I am one of the kids in the photo (I know I am old).
BTW none of the photographic prints that I have inherited come even
close to matching the quality the photos from my Nikon 995 (3.2 MP) and
they don't even come close to the photos from my 20D. And for that
mater printing out at 4 x 6 at Costco loses most of the detail in the
photos, but it could still be a photo worth having if it was the only
copy left.

I keep my two copies of my photos on two separate external hard drives
as well as backup of these photos on DVDs, I make new copies of the
photos every couple of years. I use external drives because the USB
interface to these is likely to be able to more to new computers with
greater ease that the IDE interface the internal drives on my computer
have.

I would say don't fully trust any one technology, they are all so
cheap you don't have to. Prints are good because once you are gone
the people going through you stuff will recognize them and go through
them if they have the interest. Files stored on your computer or a
collection of CDs and DVDs might not do so well.
But the digital files will be the cleanest copies if they are found and
read so by all means keep those as well. A lot depends on who is going
to be looking at your stuff when you are gone and how computer savvy
they are.

Scott
 
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One more important thing I forgot to add, make sure you save your photo
as jpegs, it is fine to save the raw files as well but the jpeg
standard will be able to be read by programs for many years to come,
the same can not be said for the current raw formats, you also don't
want to force your relatives to try to figure out how to converter raw
files.
 
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joel@exc.com (Dr. Joel M. Hoffman) writes:

>>> No one knows yet. I think a good photographic print, using
>>> time-tested technology, is a good idea for anything you know you want
>>> to have in a two generations.
>>
>>Which means B&W silver-gelatine on fiber-base paper. Not color.
>
> Fair enough. (I don't know - print out CMYK separately?)

Certainly B&W separation prints would preserve the color -- you only
need three really, RGB like the film layers.

Or you could go to more exotic technologies -- dye transfer (but the
Kodak materials haven't been manufactured in years) is pretty stable
especially in the dark.

Or you could choose to believe the Wilhelm Research testing results on
inkjet inks, and make an Epson Ultrachrome print -- but we started
down this track to avoid relying on accelerated testing results, so
that's probably not the right choice! (I think the Wilhelm results
are the best we have on these new materials, but I still think they're
a long way from well-established fact.)

I've wondered how high a data density you could get in 2-dimensional
barcodes at page size. Could you print the data for say a 1MB jpeg on
an 8.5x11 sheet? You'd need a scanner and software to recover the
data, but those are unlikely to go away. And there's still the
question of the paper+ink stability. But maybe we could agree that a
carbon-based pigment black ink on pure cotton paper was stable enough?
And you can buy such inks for inkjet printers.
--
David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:dd-b@dd-b.net>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
RKBA: <http://noguns-nomoney.com/> <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/>
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"David J. Littleboy" <davidjl@gol.com> writes:

> By the way, is there a good utility for reading an already written CD-R and
> reporting how error-free the data is???

I'm still using an old copy of CD-R Diagnostic, but I don't think it's
available any more. Seems to me I found a number of programs in this
market segment when I googled around a while ago.
--
David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:dd-b@dd-b.net>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
RKBA: <http://noguns-nomoney.com/> <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/>
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> What is the best way to store digital pictures for long time, say one or
> two generations?? Any suggestion ??

No one knows yet. I think a good photographic print, using
time-tested technology, is a good idea for anything you know you want
to have in a two generations.

-Joel

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>> No one knows yet. I think a good photographic print, using
>> time-tested technology, is a good idea for anything you know you want
>> to have in a two generations.
>
>Which means B&W silver-gelatine on fiber-base paper. Not color.

Fair enough. (I don't know - print out CMYK separately?)

-Joel

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David Dyer-Bennet <dd-b@dd-b.net> writes:

> Phil Stripling <phil_stripling@cieux.zzn.com> writes:
>>SNIP<

> I've got working 5.25" drives, and professional data transfer services
> do too.

Three or four people do, and one of them always posts to point this
out. The people with the diskettes (and in coming generations, the CDs)
don't, though, and they'll just toss the diskettes since they can't read
it.

>SNIP<
> > Another issue is that nobody knows what's on a CD, so if your grandkids
> > stumble across one, they won't know it's your valued imagery -- same with a
> > DVD.
>
> One should label them, certainly. And perhaps the boxes they're
> stored in as well.

Yes, and that creates its own problems -- people are reporting that the
adhesives in the labels and the chemicals in the inks are wrecking CDs, and
the recommendation now appears to write in ink in the clear area in the
center of the CD. Not much room for a full reckoning of the contents, but
that's another story.

>
> > Many people who post here swear they'll keep up with changing technology
> > and convert all their data from CDs to DVDs to keep the images available. I
> > doubt it, but let's say you do manage to keep your files on a medium that's
> > current at your death. Who's going to do that for you for the next one or
> > two generations? Who's going to care?
>
> Probably nobody, but if so, then it doesn't matter.

Well, I'll disagree with that. Someone in this thread has posted about
'old' photos with "Jill and the Ghost," and his assumptions about who is
referred to. Identifying the persons may end up of less interest than the
car, the clothing, or the location. The town I live in has large,
wall-sized blow ups of photos from the teens and twenties of the last
century. Nobody has a clue who the people are, but there's quite a bit of
interest in what buildings still survive, the fact that "B" Street is dirt
in the photos, and so on. Just because we don't know now who Jill and the
Ghost are doesn't mean that the photos won't have an interest that
transcends the individual identies when it's one or two generations later.

>
> *I* have been working to carry forward photo images from my
> grandparents' and parents' generations, so it doesn't seem that
> inconceivable that somebody might continue to care after me.

You're saying 'photo images.' I take it these are prints and maybe
negatives. There likely will be interest, but one of the reasons is that
there is no intermediary required to view the 'photo images.' People pick
up the print and are immediately (or not -- they may not be interested)
drawn to the picture. No need to boot a computer, find an appropriate
access mechanism (CD or DVD or tape drive), launch applications, and so on.

>SNIP<
> Color prints from the 1960s are mostly gone, ditto negatives. The
> materials have deteriorated. I've had to deal with prints, negs, and
> slides that are badly faded in my work preserving family photos.
>
> Modern chromagenic materials aren't nearly as bad as the 1960s stuff,
> but you still shouldn't count on them for even 50 years in ordinary
> household storage. You *might* get that, but you might not.

You've gotten other answers on this, but I refer you to your own
photographs which you are working to carry forward.

Another thing to consider is that the old prints may be folded, torn,
stained, color-shifted or otherwise damages, but those people are still in
there in the frame smiling into the sun with those old black cars with
running boards. Analogue imagery survives, doesn't it? Fold a CD, spill
coffee on a 5 1/4-inch diskette -- the digital media don't quite hold up to
the wears and tears. The pink-cast prints from the 60s are still
recoverable with some scanning and Photoshopping, even in the hands of a
consumer. Recovering data from a broken DVD or coffee-soaked archive tape
may be beyond the capabillities of mere mortals, and without knowing what's
on the recorded medium, I fear the temptation is just to toss it.

I don't think this is an answer to the original question, though. Sure, you
can argue with my points, but answer the original question. That will be
the best refutation of my comments.
--
Phil Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
The Civilized Explorer | spam and read later. email from this URL
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Dr. Joel M. Hoffman wrote:
>>What is the best way to store digital pictures for long time, say one or
>>two generations?? Any suggestion ??
>
>
> No one knows yet. I think a good photographic print, using
> time-tested technology, is a good idea for anything you know you want
> to have in a two generations.
>


Here's a really good tip though: Label the pictures. There's a plastic
bag of photos in my office that are from the 20's through the 50's. I
was looking at them this AM. I've got no clue who anyone is. There's not
much point to old photos, if you don't know who they are.

It's not enough to lable them with first names either. There's one I saw
that is labeled. It says "Jill and the Ghost." The Ghost is obviously
the big white car Jill is posing next to, but I've got no clue who Jill
is, or if she might be related to my wife.

The pictures came from her parents house, but most of them were acquired
by them from one of her aunts. Keep that in mind as you label -- you
don't know what path your photos will take.

Bob
 

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Dr. Joel M. Hoffman wrote:
>>>No one knows yet. I think a good photographic print, using
>>>time-tested technology, is a good idea for anything you know you want
>>>to have in a two generations.
>>
>>Which means B&W silver-gelatine on fiber-base paper. Not color.
>
>
> Fair enough. (I don't know - print out CMYK separately?)
>

I've been wondering about color LaserJet prints on acid free paper. They
seem to be very durable. They don't fade on my dashboard; even in the
yard they retain toner for a good while.

Our office has photocopies that are 20 years old and show no signs of
deterioration.

Bob
 

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