With the amazing technology that we have around today we have an abundance of camera options and are taking more images than ever before. At the same time, the vast majority of our images are being stored on temporary media and never printed. Not surprisingly, being a digital generation places all of our images at greater risk of being lost forever.
Regardless of whether the images are from your professional photography session or those you have created yourself caring for them is so very important. The images created today will be your, your children’s and your grandchildren’s family treasures. We need to ensure that we take care of the most precious of our images, so I will look at measures to help protect your digital image files and, next week, at the steps that can be taken to preserve your printed images.
All digital media from the storage cards in our cameras, to the hard drives on our computers, the external drives we hook up to our computers or the media we backup to, is susceptible to deterioration, corruption, failure or simply not being accessible as technology changes. The occurrence of a corrupted or failed storage device can result in the partial or full loss of the data stored on there, in case our images. Sometimes the data is recoverable and often this recovery can be expensive. At all times, as anyone that this has happened to, it is an absolutely horrible feeling.
The media used to store data on also represents an issue as this changes over time. How many of us could access information stored on an old floppy disk today? What if that floppy was the back up you made at the time your first child was born? Sure you have a copy stored on your family computer but you have never thought to make a new backup as the media used in that computer changed. What happens if that computer fails? Who knows how long a CD or DVD will be the accepted medium for most computers? Who knows how long drives will be connected to a computer via a USB cable?
Ok so now having pointed out all the concerns with our digital image storage, lets look at protecting our images (and therefore our family’s treasures). Simply, the best approach to protecting your digital images files is to always have a number of redundancies at any one time. This includes a printed copy and next week will look at this separately and in detail because it is important on its own. Below are some of the different means we currently have available to store our images:
* Camera Storage Media (the Compact Flash or SD card for example)
* Internal Computer Storage
* USB thumbstick
* CD or DVD media storage
* External Hard Drive Storage, including multiple drives and storage locations via a Raid system.
* Photo hosting sites (like Flickr)
* An electronic storage service ‘in the cloud’