My blog

Building an image archive (part 1)

If like me you are a passionate collector of old photographs weather taken by yourself or others sooner or later the one obvious question will hit you..... STORAGE.
I have been taking pictures since my early teens (I'm in my fifties now) and have built up quite a collection of slide, film and digital images plus those inherited through the family. Recently I inherited a substantial collection of film and slide images from my late uncle that go back to the 1920's. I set up an archive for my digital images a while ago but find myself with an ever growing storage problem for the film and slide collection. I thought it might make a good blog post (or two!) about how I have approached the problem and how it is still a work in progress.
For digital images of our more modern times electronic storage is obvious, or is it? Storing all those prized images on a simple external hard drive sounds ok but as an IT expert friend of mine once said, " there are two types of drive, those that have failed and those that haven't failed yet." With this in mind it soon becomes clear that the handy external drive is just that and not a secure archive. This gives us the option of something more serious in the home/office or resorting to a cloud based resource.
Many people have their own opinions on cloud storage and who is the best provider, I use icloud but only as a means of moving images from device to device and not really as storage. I would not wish to comment as to who provides the best option as I am no expert but cloud solutions are very popular.
For those who do not wish to use the cloud option there is the option of a home/office based storage solution which could be referred to as a server. This is not a cheep option BUT it does mean all those prized images are under your control and not somebody else's. There are many options and sizes to pick from and many different manufacturers as well. Shop wisely, pick a good brand and remember that your purchase is an investment for now AND the future so get the biggest you can afford. Storage can be configured in many ways from making your device into one massive hard drive without backup (not recommended!) to configuring using the RAID system which should be available through the software in your device. Most people (me included) go for RAID1, this configures so that your information is backed up on at least one other disc. In simple terms multiple disc failure would have to happen for your information to be lost. I use a ten disc array, not cheap as I said but what price those memories?
In part 2 I will look at archiving hard copies of images, IE prints, slides and negatives.

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