Digital Photos Never Fade they're just Filed Away

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Evad, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. Evad

    Evad Guest

    Forget Archival Inks and expensive paper just re-print them as needed for
    display.

    Now, how do you keep track of all your old digital photos?

    What indexing scheme do you use?


    Evad
     
    Evad, Feb 7, 2005
    #1
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  2. Evad

    P.R.Brady Guest


    If you look back over 50 years the picture is gloomy and this is a
    standard computing/archive question. It's not quite that simple I'm afraid.

    What's the life of the image on the medium before it fades or degrades?
    eg magnetic tape needed a rewind every 6 months, CD might degrade or
    absorb inks etc, photographic images fade in decades.

    What's the life cycle of the media you store it on and how long will you
    be able to buy a 'processing device'? Since the 1960s we've had 1"
    magnetic tape, 1/2 inch 7 track, 1/2 inch 9 track nrzi, 9 track phase
    encoded, exchangable disks of 30Mb, 60Mb, floppy disks of ?8"?, 5.25",
    3.5", single and double density, Zip drives, CDs, now DVD. For music
    we've had 78s, 45s, 33s, audio cassette, CD and now DVD coming. How
    long will CF, xD, SD, Sony stick, etc all exist? How long were 8mm
    movie and Betamax supported, how long will APS, 35mm and VHS be supported?

    What about recording software standards? Will JPEG still exist? Will
    Canon/Fuji/Nikon etc RAW formats still exist in 5,10,15,20 years?

    Will you still have the software to read it? Will future versions of
    Windoze/Unix/MAC OS still support the software or will it go the way of
    previous DOS applications?

    This isn't just a problem about digital photos - it's about any
    substantial volume of information which you want to keep - a library
    catalogue, the financial records of a company, design details of a car
    or plane, etc. You have to roll them over and copy them to new
    technologies as and when they change, and ensure that when you change
    software for new functionality that you can read previous data.

    That's the last 50 years and I'm sure the next 50 will accelerate the
    media development cycle because we all want more pixels, bigger images,
    better sound, more information, faster access.

    As for how do I currently keep track of my digital photos? A
    spreadsheet with image numbers, description, filename, folder, reference
    number of first archiving CD, reference number of final archiving CD.
    Crude but okay for the few hundred I have so far, but I know it's not a
    long term answer.

    Good luck!
    Phil
     
    P.R.Brady, Feb 7, 2005
    #2
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  3. Evad

    Owamanga Guest

    Cool isn't it?
    Yes, and in the last 50 years, how much music has been lost?

    ....none?

    Anything of any value is always available in the latest format, no
    matter how old the original material was. The shite stuff may die off,
    but someone, somewhere can still play it.
    Again, today you can get this stuff transferred onto the latest media.
    *IF* it's worth anything to you.
    The format exists today, so of course it will exist in the future.
    Have you got a problem running some DOS software? There are solutions.

    You can even play 1970's 8 bit Atari cartridge games on today's PCs
    using emulators. Because they are *worth keeping.*

    Open photoshop and just look at all those old image standards it can
    read - some are from early 8 bit OS's. That list will just get bigger
    and bigger, not a problem.
    So it's simple really. The new media has significantly more capacity
    than the old, the archive continues to physically shrink. My 1,200
    3.5" disk collection fit onto 3 CDRs, now this fits onto 1 DVDR, with
    space for another 2500 disk images. Today, it can be duplicated within
    15 minutes.
    We've had CDs for 25 years now, I don't see a replacement any time
    soon. CD's work well, there is little to improve on their design.
    DVD-Audio seems to have failed to make a dent, even though it's been
    out for a year now.

    Capacity of storage mediums *do* change fast. Because of that, CDR's
    may start to become rare in favor of DVDR.
    Spreadsheet? Yuchk...

    Spreadsheets are for adding numbers or sorting lists, not catalogs.

    In addition to your spreadsheet <shudder>, I suggest you consider
    something like JAlbum (its FREE):

    http://jalbum.net/

    ...or jump right to the samples page for eye-candy:

    http://jalbum.net/samples.jsp

    This can make web-page indexes of image collections, displaying
    thumbnails with small previews (600x400 for example) and EXIF data.
    The resulting files are small enough to be kept on your HD (about 8Mb
    per 100 pictures, smaller if you so configure it).
     
    Owamanga, Feb 7, 2005
    #3
  4. Evad

    Don Dunlap Guest

    Many people talk about the current technology fading and new technology
    taking its place. These same people imply that it is going to take place
    over night and that you will lose what you have on CD, for example, when
    something else takes its place.

    I have been successful with carrying over files that are valuable to me
    since using them on a CPM machine. They started out on 5 1/4 floppies, went
    to CD and now are on DVD. I am confident that when the DVD replalcement
    comes along, I will transfer these files to that replacement. There will be
    software to enable the transfer from old format to new format for quite some
    time after a new format comes in. Granted, there will be some who are too
    lazy or too dumb to do this, but the vast majority of computer users will
    get it done.

    If something replaces JPG, it also won't happen overnight. You will have
    ample time to convert files and I can guarantee that someone will come up
    with the software to get it done in batch format. Probably free software
    since it will be a relatively simple program.

    The argument of CD and DVD becoming obsolete and endangering your photos is
    not valid!!

    Don
     
    Don Dunlap, Feb 7, 2005
    #4
  5. Evad

    HvdV Guest

    It is likely that most people will loose 99% of the pictures they take
    eventually. 50 years probably means after the photographer has died. No old
    shoe box to discover in the attic, just a non-working beige box.
    Gloomy indeed!
    Some bright points:
    DLT tapes have a shelf life of > 30 years. With a capacity 20.000 - 200.000
    pictures each...
    To read TIFF and also JPEG and other well defined formats there are excellent
    open source C libraries. Programmers tend to be very conservative about their
    languages, so it is likely that with a little tinkering a working TIFF reader
    can be compiled after 50 years.
    IMO local image databases, especially the closed ones, offer no long term
    security. Good filenames are better, but also no match for a virus wiping
    your disks.

    Cheers, you'll need it, Hans
     
    HvdV, Feb 7, 2005
    #5
  6. Evad

    SteveJ Guest

    There has already been problems in some CDs 10 years old that has started
    loosing their data from the medium coming apart allowing air to migrate into
    the aluminum causing bad spots. If that goes that's 650 plus megs gone, now
    there is DVDs that could be over 4.5Gs lost. It isn't will there be a way to
    read then in the future, is will there be something there to read. Just a
    thought.
     
    SteveJ, Feb 7, 2005
    #6
  7. Evad

    Owamanga Guest

    DVDRs are the same diameter as CDRs. There, the similarity ends.

    DVDRs have a thick polymer substrate layer above and below the data
    layer, CDRs are missing the one above the data layer and therefore
    much more prone to air exposure of the data layer, and top-surface
    scratches.
     
    Owamanga, Feb 7, 2005
    #7
  8. Evad

    Peter Guest

    That is one of the more important aspects, often overlooked IMHO - open
    standards. Don't try to make an archive with closed formats/standards.
    Sooner or later you'll get into problems ( or the generation after you
    trying to move the archive to new media). This even holds for filesystems
    where you put the data on, &c., &c.

    -peter
     
    Peter, Feb 7, 2005
    #8
  9. Evad

    Jeremy Guest

    Unfortunately, that argument is quite valid.

    Your solution is to continue migrating as new file formats and/or media are
    introduced. That works well for a time.

    But eventually it will fall to some descendant to take up that project, and
    we know that not all families have people that will preserve things from
    previous generations.

    In the case of libraries and archives, there is going to be a significant
    budget requirement to migrate everything as time goes on. The volume of
    date will grow exponentially.

    There is a real concern that future budget crises may result in a lot of
    this stuff being left behind. Same thing for corporate records--how much of
    their bottom line will they sacrifice just to preserve 50-year-old tax
    returns?

    Kodak recommends that important photos be PRINTED and stored in as close to
    archival temperature/humidity conditions as possible.

    There is a distance possibility that, in the long run, that low-tech
    approach may be the best of all.
     
    Jeremy, Feb 7, 2005
    #9
  10. Evad

    Jeremy Guest

    Almost makes one want to go back to the simple card catalogue!

    My hometown library uses one, and has for over 100 years. They have a
    database, too, but everything is also printed up on cards, and the patrons
    can use either system.

    Low tech, pain-in-the-butt, but an excellent long-term strategy.
     
    Jeremy, Feb 7, 2005
    #10
  11. Evad

    HvdV Guest

    Or non-open source compression!
    BTW, anyone ideas how successful Adobe is in pushing a standard for RAW format?

    -- Hans
     
    HvdV, Feb 7, 2005
    #11
  12. Evad

    Owamanga Guest

    It'll work for as long as someone wants to keep the stuff. Same with
    any archival system.
    Yes, it's real easy to burn a box of photos too. Just like 90% of the
    8mm movies that were shot - they are either rotting or in the
    landfills now.
    Who the hell *wants* 50 year old tax returns?
    Ha. And if I owned a photo-paper company I'd tell people that too.

    Jeez.
    But we'll all be dead so who gives a crap?
     
    Owamanga, Feb 7, 2005
    #12
  13. snipped
    Those who have a sense of responsibility to future generations, just
    as our forebears had for us.


    ************************************************************

    "People, in various places and times, have not merely
    thought different things. They have thought them
    differently. It is probable that their most fundamental
    cerebral process have changed through time.
    Their deepest emotional drives and desires may themselves
    have been transformed. Significant elements of
    continuity cannot be understood without a sense of the
    discontinuities, too."

    David Hackett Fischer
    _Historians' Fallicies_
     
    John A. Stovall, Feb 7, 2005
    #13
  14. Now, how do you keep track of all your old digital photos?

    Photos are named with the year/month and then a 3-letter identifier, and
    then a consecutive number for the series. A photo taken today to start a
    new series would be named something like:
    0502home001

    And the 132nd vacation photo taken in San Francisco last month would be
    named something like:
    0501sfo132

    These are put into folders that would string out alphabetically (by year and
    month) in Windows Explorer like this:
    2004 12 xmas
    2005 01 san francisco
    2005 02 cleveland
    2005 02 home shots

    These folders--years worth--all can be grouped into folders by year, so that
    there would be a 2004 folder, a 2005 folder, etc--and they would all show up
    in Windows Explorer in consecutive order. Within each year folder would
    be a smattering of month-specific folders that would automatically organize
    themselves by month, and then by alphabetized name (if you don't want the
    Venice shots from July, 2003 to come before the Munich shots that month ,
    you could name the Munich folder "2003 07 Italy" instead of "2003 07
    Venice", so that it appears before the folder named "2003 07 Munich").

    So, if any of the pictures or folders were to be thrown together with
    others, they would order themselves by month and location (except that those
    pictures from the last century might show up after the pictures from this
    century--no big deal).

    Then the finished collection gets saved to MULTIPLE hard-drives, including
    at least one portable hard-drive that is not on the premises. Hard-drives
    are very likely a more secure medium than CD's--and can hold your entire
    collection.
     
    Douglas W. Hoyt, Feb 8, 2005
    #14
  15. Evad

    SteveJ Guest

    There has already been problems in some CDs 10 years old that has started
    loosing their data from the medium coming apart allowing air to migrate into
    the aluminum causing bad spots. If that goes that's 650 plus megs gone, now
    there is DVDs that could be over 4.5Gs lost. It isn't will there be a way to
    read then in the future, is will there be something there to read. Just a
    thought.
    Answer #1
    DVDRs are the same diameter as CDRs. There, the similarity ends.

    DVDRs have a thick polymer substrate layer above and below the data
    layer, CDRs are missing the one above the data layer and therefore
    much more prone to air exposure of the data layer, and top-surface
    scratches.

    One thing about a good book. NO power required to read.
     
    SteveJ, Feb 8, 2005
    #15
  16. Evad

    SteveJ Guest

    Even Egyptian Hieroglyphics will fade out in time.
     
    SteveJ, Feb 8, 2005
    #16
  17. Evad

    Dr. J Guest

    That is exactly the conclusion I came to last year. When searching through
    family belongings covered in an inch of dust I found 3 photo albums. These
    albums contained valuable family photos some of them over 60 years old. As
    I flipped through the albums I realized that if these photos where recorded
    on some type of electronic disk I would have most likely tossed them out
    without going to the trouble of finding the device capable of reading the
    content of the disks.

    The advantage of low tech approach is that there is no need for any type of
    electronic device in order to see the photos. You need only your eyeballs,
    no electronics, no electricity, no nothing :)

    I keep two copies of my digital photos on DVD+R disks, but I have decided to
    print very few of good family photos on paper and keep them in an album. 60
    years from now if a family member stumbles upon the DVD+R disks and the
    paper album they most likely will toss away the DVD disks but curiously will
    flip through the album. Also, it is very important to have some notes or
    annotations at the back of photo.
     
    Dr. J, Feb 8, 2005
    #17
  18. Evad

    HvdV Guest

    Never rely on something over which you have absolutely no control like
    Explorer. Though in this case I suppose it won't do harm.

    If you are as paranoid as I think you are or myself you'd better get a RAID
    disk array with a journaling file system, a linear tape drive and a vault for
    the tapes. It's what banks use and reasonably affordable nowadays.

    -- Hans
     
    HvdV, Feb 8, 2005
    #18
  19. Evad

    P.R.Brady Guest

    Owamanga wrote:

    [snipped]


    I suggest you consider
    Thanks Owamanga,
    Looks interesting if it can handle and index media other than hard
    disk.
    Phil
     
    P.R.Brady, Feb 8, 2005
    #19
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