Archiving poor advice.

  robgf 15 Oct 11

I was reading an article in Micro Mart about archiving photographs and other files. The idea was that you save your photographs digitally, rather than as prints and they will be safer.

I have photographs in my album that are as good as new and fifty years old, my mum has photographs of her mum as a child, that are still pretty good.

What are the chances of a DVD, SD card, USB stick, etc, retaining data for fifty, or a hundred years. And would the equipment still exist to read the format. Also, if you were rummaging through the attic and came across an old DVD, would you bother to play it, or would you just throw it away.

To be fair, the article does say that you must renew the archive every couple of years, although would you remember and once stored in the attic, there is very little chance of an update.

I would argue that photographs are far more future proof, than any digital medium. Simply because you can view them without any equipment. Granted an SD card may hold a wealth of data, but it is useless, if your great, great grandson pulls it out of a box, squints at it, thinks its a bit of plastic and throws it away.

  woodchip 15 Oct 11

Would you be around after all that time and Hardware would not be there to get them back from Technology is moving too fast. Plain old photos on Paper are the best way of keeping them

  rdave13 15 Oct 11

I agree but the photos mus be kept in a secure state. Free from oxidizing, damp, sunlight and many more ageing processes let alone insect infestation and mice.

  spuds 16 Oct 11

I recall the days when various video formats were all the rage, and in-keeping with prosperity and safeguard of evidence for the future.

I wonder how many people have lost treasures from that era?.

  Chegs ®™ 16 Oct 11

I recalled finding hundreds of old photos in the loft when we were moving house,of family/me from many years ago.My daughter is just 15yrds old but I have no photos in digital formats of her as a toddler,the earliest digital format image I have is of her learning to ride a bicycle at 5yrs & its on an old website where the ISP gave customers a few Mbs free space.I have often regretted keeping the digital stills on my computers,as I'm now on about my 4th & previous PC's ultimately ate their hard-drives losing thousands of photos.The backups were on seperate drives which had been stored away,these too refused to work in more modern machines without the drives requiring reformats.I saved quite a few backups to DVD,these are missing from the cupboards and until they're found,I'm stuffed.

  interzone55 16 Oct 11

You have a point, but this is only the case for old prints from film. If you printed out your digital photographs they'd only last a few years before fading.

Very little seems to last for ever with some kind of restoration work.

I was reading about the British Film Institute's new archive the other week. It's had to be built with special fire safety features, not in case of arson attacks, but because the old nitrate film stock has a nasty habit of spontaneously combusting.

  Woolwell 17 Oct 11

alan14 - "If you printed out your digital photographs they'd only last a few years before fading.". True for inkjet printers but is that the case with prints from the likes of Snapfish, Jessops, Kodak, etc?

I have some old colour photographs and they have regrettably faded and in some cases changed colour with time inspite of being in an album and not kept in sunlight. The old black and white ones have lasted much longer.

My slides have also suffered some colour degradation.

  interzone55 17 Oct 11


Photos online will last longer than home printed, but not for ever - Kodak quote 75 years for their high quality photo paper

  john bunyan 17 Oct 11

Vellum is very long - lived. Some Parliament bills back to the 1400's are still readable and vellum (goat's skin in this case) is still used for the record copy of Bills! Can't see any current media lasting 600 years! Difficult to feed into my printer though!

  Aitchbee 17 Oct 11

I recently had 6 copies of a small, treasured, b&w photo enlarged and printed, by Asda, for just over 2 pounds.I have other old, b&w family snaps, which I want duplicated.I have the original negatives as well for most of them.

Do the little negatives give better scanning results than the actual photographs?

  john bunyan 17 Oct 11

I have a Canon 8800f scanner which can scan either negatives or prints. With 35 mm slides or negatives you have to scan at high resolution (1600 dpi or more). I scan prints at between 300 dpi for large ones and 600 dpi for small ones. Re negatives versus prints, I do not think there is a definitive answer as it will depend on the relative deterioration of each medium over time. When I have finished correcting I save photos at 300dpi in A4 size as printing is quite good at this level. If for just viewing on screen, 72 dpi is fine.


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