Saving, maintaining and archiving my photography/image collection.

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by Zenquen, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. Zenquen

    Zenquen TPF Noob!

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    I have kind of an exceptionally large photography and digital image collection, plenty of images I use for general use, image editing, studying and many other purposes. I am wondering what is the best way to keep such a high volume of images safe and stop them from degrading on my hard drive.

    So far I have been keeping them on my PC but also every couple weeks I back them all up on an External Hard Drive. Is this a good method? If I defragment any of the hard drives will this decrease overall image quality? How can I keep up the images quality when i am constantly having to save them, load them, overwrite them and such?
     
  2. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What do you mean degrading? They should be fine on a hard drive although some go the multiple hard drive route. I haven't found that neccessary, although I'll be investing in a 1TB drive at some point. There is no 100% future proof method of keeping your stuff safe - just the nature of the beast.
     
  3. Zenquen

    Zenquen TPF Noob!

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    Someone told me that every time I rewrite, move, edit, change, transfer, or do anything with files and just as the hard drives age in general the actual files themselves come apart and data is lost overall decreasing image quality over a long period of time 1 year, 5 years, 10, 20, 40 years. I want all these images and all my work to be something for my children and grand children.
     
  4. RONDAL

    RONDAL TPF Noob!

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    first off whats your budget....and what kind of size are we talking here.

    All I have for my important files, including photos, is two seperate 1TB drives (they are like under $150 now each) and I just have them back up off of each other weekly. Basically they are mirrors of each other, but are handy in case one ever fails.

    That's the cheap solution, you can get dedicated storage servers like the "drobo" (google it) and stuff if you have larger amounts of data or need to be very certain it is kept safe
     
  5. Zenquen

    Zenquen TPF Noob!

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    Well, if I keep them on the Hard Drives what i am most worried about is what all causes the image quality to degrade, can I defragment the drives, do I have to treat each file with kid gloves so they do not get broken down over time? I am not so worried that I am going to spend thousands of dollars and i don't mind if one of the Hard Drives fails or whatever. I am mainly worried about maintaining the image and file quality. How badly does it really degrade?
     
  6. Dweller

    Dweller Inconspicuous Supporter

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    That is not true, exactly. If you took a file and opened it and saved it in a lossless format like TIFF 1000 times, then copy number 1000 would be identical to file number 1 regardless of how much time has passed. If you opened file number 1 and then saved it in a lossy format like JPEG then you may lose some data in copy number 2. Open up that copy and save again as JPEG and copy 3 would lose a little more. With the exception of a drive failure, the data that goes on a hard drive will come off in the exact same form regardless of the amount of time passing. There is no concern about data degrading with age.

    As for backup solutions, I have seen threads go for days and days on that subject with any 10 people offering at least 11 solutions. Here is what I do, with the caveat that it is still not perfect:

    When I am done shooting, I dump the photos onto my main workstation (copy 1). I then copy those directly to a file server that uses data mirroring similar to RAID (copy 2). I have the file server backed up weekly to a tape drive (copy 3). That gives me 3 live copies, but here is where there is a flaw in my system. All 3 copies are stored in the same building. If I had a fire, a meteor hit or Godzilla stepped on my house I would lose everything.

    The solution (that I am still working on) is to get an off-site copy going, preferably over the internet. There are subscriptions services for this where you can upload copies of your data and have them store it for you, or you could burn your pics to a CD/DVD/tape/External hard drive and keep it at work, or at a friends house.

    I admit my system is a bit overkill, but at the very least, someone with your concerns should be keeping at least 2 copies of everything, one local and one remote but ideally I think 2 local copies and one remote will give you a nice balance of security and accessibility.
     
  7. Zenquen

    Zenquen TPF Noob!

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    Sounds great, I think what i will do is have 3 1TB external harddrives and then every once in a while copy them onto eachother or overwrite them from the collection on my main PC.

    Then what about defragmenting, will defragmenting the harddrive degrade any of the files or the quality? I just worry because sometimes I notice some of my files have trouble loading or the thumbnails wont display properly. Or maybe they were just like that always since I downloaded them and I am just paranoid.
     
  8. Dweller

    Dweller Inconspicuous Supporter

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    no, defragging only rearranges the data. You should not need to do this more than once a month and even that is overkill for a lot of people.
     
  9. Zenquen

    Zenquen TPF Noob!

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    Well what is happening to me right now is that it nearly kills my computer trying to load up the different pictures and load all the thumbnails, is that a sign i should defrag?
     
  10. Dweller

    Dweller Inconspicuous Supporter

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    How much RAM do you have? How old is this system?
     
  11. Zenquen

    Zenquen TPF Noob!

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    1 GB of RAM and i bought the computer in 2001
     
  12. Dweller

    Dweller Inconspicuous Supporter

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    more RAM would probably help, but I am guessing you are running PC133 RAM which is going to be tough to find these days. Given the age of the computer I would probaby bump it up to 2GB but that is about all I would do with it. There is not much more you CAN do with it at this point I suspect.

    The RAM should be pretty cheap, if you do find it.
     

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