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Author Topic : PRESERVATION OF YOUR IMAGE FILES 
Satyr

Thread Starter / Photographer
City: London
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: May 3, 2008
Posts: 20
Views : 1726  Jun 7, 2014 5:42am

Ever since I got a digital camera about ten years ago, the very first thing I’ve done after getting in from a shoot is to backup my images onto a CD (or more usually these days, one or more DVDs). I had always though like, I suspect, most people that once on a DVD they were preserved forever (providing, of course, that nothing untoward happened to the DVD).

Last Monday I saw an item in The Times which changed all that. Here’s what Kaya Burgess wrote:

"If you have photograph albums stored on CDs you should back them up to hard drives in case they degrade, experts have warned."

"The British Library plans to back up almost half a million CDs and DVDs in its audio-visual archive amid fears that the discs may become unplayable over time and the technology obsolete.

"Britons were introduced to the compact disc in a 1981 episode of Tomorrow’s World in which a special edition of the Bee Gees’ Living Eyes was shown to be apparently indestructible.

"Duncan Purver, who runs the website cdfixer, said: “We are seeing a large increase in the number of pre-nineties discs looking for restoration. [It is] unsurprising considering they are plastic and 30-plus years in age.”

"Mr Purver said that recordable CDs were particularly vulnerable, and that age could render back-ups and archived data useless. The data on factory-produced CDs is stored in pits and troughs inscribed into the disk. With recordable CDs made at home, known as CD-Rs, a series of dots and dashes is burnt into a thin layer of dye.

"Will Prentice, head of audio-visual technology services at the British Library said: “This dye doesn’t react very well to daylight and can become unreadable quite quickly.”

"Labels and marker pens can also damage discs with chemicals, he added. “For any digital data, have at least two copies, ideally on at least two technologies in two locations.”

"The British Library has 375,000 CDs and 60,000 CD-Rs in its audio archive. Mr Prentice said: “We are planning to copy everything within the next 15 years or so on to mass storage backed up around the country.”

"The Bodleian Library in Oxford is recruiting archivists for such issues. Christopher Fletcher, the keeper of special collections, said: “Floppy discs or CD-ROMs are incredibly short lived.”

"[Side Box]

"How To Save Your Discs

"• Don’t expose to excess daylight, hot, damp or humid conditions

"• Don’t bend or touch the surface. Ensure labels or marker pens don’t contain corrosive chemicals

"• Do not wipe in a circular motion; wipe from centre out towards edge with a non-abrasive cloth

"• Never place any weight on a CD

"• Store I individual cases or sleeves, not unprotected stacks

"• Back up important documents or photographs to hard drives"

(Burgess, K., (2014) ‘Happy memories don’t survive on CD’, in The Times (2 June).)

The warnings don’t stop there though. At the end of the second paragraph, Burgess reminds us that technology becomes obsolete.

A few years ago, while reading archaeology at a British university, I had the opportunity to visit (with the rest of my course) the reserve collection of one of the major London museums. This is a bit of the museum that isn’t ordinarily open to the public and a lot of the material is stored on open shelves in what is effectively a warehouse. As we were archaeologists, we were encouraged to handle the stuff and I recall a piece of Roman glassware being handed around. Somebody asked our host if they were concerned about it getting broken to which he replied to the effect that while they’d prefer things not to be damaged further, the pieces we were handling had already been damaged; some while being recovered by archaeologists. He told us that we may as well get used to handling it; on site this would be part and parcel of what we would have to do.

At the end of the tour, we stood in the large open-plan office; the desks cluttered with papers and, here and there, artefacts people were examining. Somebody noticed a row of old computers on high shelves and commented on them. Our host shook his head sadly. They’re not exhibits, he told us, but functioning computers retained to be able to run old programs and access old files that can’t be opened on newer machines because the hardware will no longer support the old program. Our host added that the museum had a digitisation project running that would put its digital collection onto a hard drive and that the files would be regularly checked to ensure that they could still be opened and if issues began to develop, they could be converted to newer formats.

There are a couple of immediate conclusions to be drawn for those of us shooting digital. Firstly, back up to multiple hard drives rather than CD or DVD. Seagate, the hard drive manufacturer has recently moved from the industry standard ‘mean time between failures’ (which give a life for HDDs of between 30 and 120 years), to a standard it calls ‘annualised failure rates’. Seagate thinks this will give a better understanding of how long a drive will last (http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/174791en?language=en_US). The manufacurer warns that the MBTF and successor AFR statistic relates to the population (total number of such drives installed); and is not a guarantee that a particular drive will reach the calculated MTBF or AFR life.

Secondly, you’ll need to consider, as you upgrade your computer and/or its programs, whether you need to convert your .raw and .jpg files to a later version in order to be able to access them still.

Happy shooting!









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 Razoir



Photographer
City: Crediton
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Jan 17, 2006
Posts: 5028

Last night I spent some time looking at the relative costs of DVDs and HDDs and found that roughly speaking, if I buy a 4Tb external HDD it will cost me 12p per unit of data (where a unit is the equivalent of a DVDs worth) and 18p per unit onto standard DVDs.

I am in the process of investigating M-DVDs. Same 4.7Gb capacity but claiming a 1,000 year storage life. They are write once, then read only. I do not know how to test them as I was planning on dying at some time in the future and hanging about for that long rather puts my Valhalla plan on hold.

The delightful part is that M DVDs cost about £3 . 40p EACH!

At present I am thinking that I will archive most stuff to DVD as per usual and to HDDs. 1Tb being about fifty quid and alos write to M Disc when I consider it important enough.

As far as obsolete file types is concerned .dng is MEANT to be the cross platform, open it anywhere format that SHOULD be future proof. We will see. I have a lot of images on file I can't access, which is bloody irritating.

Huge Hairy Jeremy

Website: www.photoartimages.org

Remember, Trolls' brains are silica based and only function properly at temperatures lower than minus 72 degrees Kevin.

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 Myk



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City: Pant
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Jan 12, 2003
Posts: 1225

I remember early music CDs being covered in goo and then washed to show that they were easy to manage

The difference is that the process to make thousands of identical CDs is much more resilient to damage than the poxy things which are written on a cheap home drive

HDD are guaranteed to fail and therefore you have to manage multiple copies, but at least one can plan to keep tresured stuff that way

I use a huge fast flash drive for local stuff but they fail too !

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MrSpock

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City: Croydon
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: May 29, 2004
Posts: 42

DVDs are worse than CDs for storage, they degrade much sooner, after 5 years many DVD+-Rs will not read properly. I recently tried to use 3 DVD backups written at the same time, 2 worked 100% and 1 would not find any data, and came up on the system as blank, although looking at the tracks they looked fine and were the same as the other disks.

I use both HDD and Blu-Ray/DVD/CD to store my pictures. HDDs also fail, and I have seen a couple where the Disk inside the HDD has shattered and all data is gone for good, as the HDD storage disk is in 2,000,000 pieces.

Remember that 4TB takes a lot of BD-R disks even at 50GB a duel layer disk.

My pictures are stored on several HDD as well to cover most fails.

so far Blu-ray seem to be the best storage i have used, but few people have Blu-ray write drives in their systems. I have both a internal and external USB3 Blu-ray write drives, both very useful. 25GB on one disk also helps, early shoots most go on one disk. with modern cameras i get about 3 or 4 shoots per BD-R.

So the best method is to back up your DVDs every 4 years, and dont do them all at the same time, as they will fail at the same time. Make sure they are on other storage such as SCHD, USB dongles, HDD so if some go down you have the files to re-install and make another back up.

Remember also not to do a copy of the disk, but wrtite all the files again from either the hard drive or if from CD/DVD write them to a hard drive first and write a new disk from there. if you do a diskcopy, it copies any errors on the disk too


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MattMiller

Photographer
City: Southend on Sea
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Sep 18, 2004
Posts: 5747

I have learned the hard way that backups need backups of backups ... everything I have ever done is on CD (not DVD) on my old PC and an external hard drive, I also have the hard drives from nearly every PC I have ever owned removed and stored at various locations, my mum my ex girlfriend and an old school mate have backups of everything up to 2010 stored this way, more recent stuff is all backed up to the cloud (expensive but worth it) I also keep all my choice work on my current PC and laptop and my best work is printed and archived ... none of it is perfect and loss will always be a concern but hopefully I can keep it preserved for as long as possible.

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Damien

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City: Bristol
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Sep 13, 2003
Posts: 5390

Most of the CDRs I wrote back in the days when I had a 2x CD writer are still readable but the CDRWs have fared badly. However their capacity means they are useless for back ups nowadays. My first solution was to buy a 360GB USB2 drive. Its a Maxtor and they no longer exist. I then bought two WD 1TB drives and rotated backups to keep one on site and another in the safekeeping of a friend. Sadly that now has borderline capacity so I bought a Seagate USB3 3TB drive. Now I share backups across the two WD drives and alternately back up to the Seagate. I keep the 360GB for intermediate backups of important new files.

So far none of the external drives has failed and they are only run when needed. I've had two harddrive failures on internal drives. The first one was before I had started regular backups and I was fortunate that I saw warning signs. That was when I did my first complete backup of my personal data to multiple floppy disks. The harddrive failed a few days later and I was able to replace the HD, reinstall the OS (windows 3.11) if I remember correctly and recover all my files. It was long winded and not much fun.

My more recent failure must have been about 5 years ago. By that time I was creating disk images in addition to backing up my files. On this occasion it was so easy. I restored the disk image to the replacement HD and copied the recent files. I probably still have all the images I created since I got my first digital compact. The old ones take up so little room it doesn't seem worth the effort of going through them.

I hope the systems I have in place will see me through the rest of my life and I don't imagine I will worry about it after I've gone

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DMGPhotography

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City: Croydon
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Apr 13, 2004
Posts: 1012

... and that's the reason I still shoot on film :P

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sparky101020

Photographer
City: Leamington
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Jun 17, 2009
Posts: 216

As already posted light is the biggest killer of DVD+/-R.

I've got a variety of cheapo brand / unbranded DVD+/-R's and some are now 10+ years old. I have yet to have one refuse to play, but I'm not naive enough to assume they will not become unreadable so have recent copies of those valuable to me.

The only main loss I have experienced was a batch of data backups at work all on TDK DVD-R stored in disc wallet then a cupboard that were unreadable in 3-4 years. As soon as I found out I copied those still readable.

For anything critical I now always Verbatim DVD-R. I always burn at 4x and verify the disc.
The slimline drives in laptops are far less reliable or consistent than desktop PC drives due to the flimsier construction, the disc just located by clips and less power available for the laser.

DVD+/-RW, as I understand, are only intended for temporary storage e.g. location transfer, testing and time-shifting with TV DVD recorders. For the former USB flash drives and HDD's have mostly made RW redundant while HDD devices now standard for TV time-shifting.

I have my photos on at least two hard drives and DVD-R.

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JanNelsonPhotography

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City: Prestatyn
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Oct 28, 2007
Posts: 91

I stopped using DVD's when one went with a bang in the computer and it cost me quite a bit for a repair. Was told by the repair guy it doesn't happen that often but he has repaired a few computers when the DVD goes bang and bits and piece are all over the place.

I now only use ex hard drives and cloud for back up

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JanNelsonPhotography

Photographer
City: Prestatyn
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Oct 28, 2007
Posts: 91

I stopped using DVD's when one went with a bang in the computer and it cost me quite a bit for a repair. Was told by the repair guy it doesn't happen that often but he has repaired a few computers when the DVD goes bang and bits and piece are all over the place.

I now only use ex hard drives and cloud for back up

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 Razoir



Photographer
City: Crediton
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Jan 17, 2006
Posts: 5028
RE: PRESERVATION OF YOUR IMAGE FILES Jun 10, 2014 11:08am

Does anyone have any knowledge or experience with M Discs? I have just bought a few discs and an external drive. The drive was very cheap, the discs were not!

At £50 for a Tb. I reckon from now on it will be burn to multiple drives, for me.

Huge Hairy Jeremy

Website: www.photoartimages.org

Remember, Trolls' brains are silica based and only function properly at temperatures lower than minus 72 degrees Kevin.

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