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Long term digital storage??

Posted on 2007-09-28
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I'm digitalizing my family photo album, I have like 10,000 photos, many of them very old, I would like to store them permanently so they can last tens if not hundreds of years in a digital format.

However I've heard that most current storage systems (ordinary DVD, CD, etc...) Last only for 5-10 years, no more.

Then, what can I do??
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Question by:axtur
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by:rindi
ID: 19978075
Tapes are still the way to archive data. The problem there is that possibly the tape drive might not work anymore by that time, but it is likely that you'll still be able to find someone who can repair your drive or read the tape, even after so many Years.

DVD's and CD's are also good for long term storage, but you must ensure that the media are properly stored. Best is to use a cool, dry and dark place. Also don't rely on one media, copy them to multiple ones, and you can always copy the media to new media every 5 years.
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by:axtur
ID: 19978169
What DVD brands can be good for this purpose?? I know some are always better than others, I have DVD burned 4-5 years ago that I can read perfectly, however I have some burned just 1 year ago and they cant be read due to their low quality.
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by:rindi
ID: 19978229
The best are supposed to be Taiyo Yuden DVD's. Often you can also check what brands are recommended for your writer on the specs page.
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by:uid0aixomaha
ID: 19979184
An additional task you might consider is to generate and store parity data. A free, widely-used program that does this for you is QuickPar.  You tell QuickPar what files you want to protect, select a block size and file name root, select a recovery percentage, and it generates checksums of all files and recovery blocks in the form of PAR2 files.

The PAR2 files may be used any any point in the future to check the integrity of the original files and repair as necessary.

It has one current down side in that protecting files is easiest done if they are all on the same directory. It's not impossible, though. It will still generate the parity files but fail to recover until all files are put in the same directory.  If you have directory trees, I suggest using WinRAR to archive them into large flat files. Then generate the parity information. Then write all to DVDs. As previous posts indicate, refresh in 4-6 years and proper storage is the key to longevity.

www.quickpar.org.uk
www.rarlab.com
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by:andyalder
ID: 19980029
Magneto-Optical has supposedly the longest data retention time, HP claim 100 years - www.hp.com/products1/storage/products/storagemedia/worm_disks/faqs.html
Personally I wouldn't trust them for more than 30 years without a second copy. Unfortunately the high capacity UDO drives are rather expensive but you can probably still find old 1.2GB ones.
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by:axtur
ID: 19980828
And how do I write on a magneto-optical disc?? Do I need any special hardware or can i just burn them with my toaster :)
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by:andyalder
ID: 19981359
You can use a felt pen for all I care but as I mentioned earlier the drives are quite expensive. You asked for something that would last 100 years and the only other thing likely to last that long Is on its way out of the solar system on Voyager.

9GB drives cost about $3000 but for example this 1.3GB one is only $255, www.ocmicrosupply.com/nextag/product_info.php?products_id=845 - you'll probably need a SCSI adapter as well, they're about $40.
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by:Duncan Meyers
ID: 19982201
There's always CAS systems like EMC's Celerra...

:-)
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by:Duncan Meyers
ID: 19982202
Damn brain-fade!! Centera.
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by:
nobus earned 2000 total points
ID: 19983363
here they say to put it on microfilm :   http://www.uky.edu/~kiernan/DL/hedstrom.html
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Probably the most commonly used preservation strategy is to transfer digital information from less stable magnetic and optical media by printing page images on paper or microfilm. It seems ironic that just as libraries and archives are discovering digital conversion as a cost-effective preservation method for certain deteriorating materials, much information that begins its life in electronic form is printed on paper or microfilm for safe, secure long-term storage. Yet, high-quality acid neutral paper can last a century or longer while archival quality microfilm is projected to last 300 years or more. Paper and microfilm have the additional advantage of requiring no special hardware or software for retrieval or viewing. Perhaps this explains why in many digital conversion projects, the digital images serve as a complement to rather than a replacement for the original hard copy materials (Conway, 1994).
AND :
The limited life of magnetic and optical media pose a significant problem, although this is not the primary limiting factor for digital preservation. Recent research on the longevity of magnetic media indicate a useful life span of 10 to 30 years if they are handled and stored properly. Some optical disk technologies promise life spans of up to 100 years. Most authorities argue that enhanced media longevity is of little value because current media outlast the software and devices needed to retrieve recorded information.
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more info :  http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/bytopic/electronic-records/electronic-storage-media/critiss.html

Also, remeber to keep the software needed for reading the data back also - your data may outlive the application !
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by:nobus
ID: 20232655
i thought i contributed valuable info
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by:uid0aixomaha
ID: 20237031
Split sounds good. All suggested information was useful.
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by:andyalder
ID: 20237148
I concur. Putting it on microfiche as nobus said certainly fits the bill well if they are photos.
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Author Comment

by:axtur
ID: 20238534
My mistake, I forgot to close this question. Done :)
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by:nobus
ID: 20239616
while i'm happy you gave all the points to me, i feel others deserve a bit too..
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