Where to put photographs for posterity?

Member for

10 years

Posts: 167

I'm scanning some of my parents' photographs, and a number of them have 40s and 50s aviation content.

Where should I leave them on the web so that they are available independently of what happens to my own collection? I'd bet that Google storage will still be here in five years, but couldn't say the same for Flickr or Photobucket. Are any real or virtual museums opening up their servers to host images?

The scans come out at 60 odd Mb in .tiff format, which I have been batch editing down to about 1Mb as .jpegs for my web use. Which format/size do we think that future historians might want? Silly question really, because 60Mb will be a trivial amount of data quite soon, but there's still the sensible argument that a monitor can't display them any better.

Obviously I'll put 'em up here when I've finished!

Original post

Member for

10 years 4 months

Posts: 2,536

The long term storage of media is something that interests me.
Are you looking to store images for you lifetime, or for generations to come?
`The cloud` is where most people store their images but lke you say what happens when said organisation goes bust?
Presumably the pictures are lost.
My advice would be.
1. Store on your PC and backup to an external hard disc. £40 should get you a decent one. That gives you two backups and should prevent imminent loss.
2. Burn images periodically to DVD. Store these in a cool, dark place. DVD's are suggested to last 100 years before delamination.
3. Upload to photobucket or similar services.
4. Share some with relatives. That way at least some will survive somewhere.

As far as I am aware most images on Google are just hyperlinked from other sources?
Would be interesting if there is a world library being built somewhere to permanently save images.

Member for

10 years

Posts: 167

My motive is to ensure that, whatever happens to my own data, the relevant pictures are still available.

If, f'rinstance, Photobucket went bust, the images that they host are not owned by them, and any business picking over the remains could only offer a continuation of free hosting to the existing users, so there's no guarantee that it would happen. Bear in mind that increasingly large numbers of users will have lost interest or died, and their 'old' pcs will go to landfill with their pictures. Nobody else will be allowed to transfer the pictures and I'd imagine that a liquidator would have to delete them.

As far as my own data is concerned, commercial cloud storage is too expensive (and the free cloud that I have only totals about 40Gb, in about five 'locations', so I have my own cloud. It's a server with a 3Tb drive that holds a copy of everything, available through a VPN to the kids and I. DVDs are already too small (I scanned 6Gb of .tiffs today and yesterday), and hard drives are so cheap that it's more effective to have several backups stored in different places. We have a set of three external 3Tb drives which are for backup only, and we swop when we see each other. I've done the best I can do to ensure that the kids and I can't lose data which ranges from their coursework, music, films, and the rather massive family archive that I'm making at the moment.

When I shuffle off, they'll probably have no interest in keeping some pictures of old aeroplanes available to the general public. Hence my question.

Profile picture for user OneEighthBit

Member for

11 years 9 months

Posts: 729

All well and good until future generations can't read the disk/medium/file format.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Domesday_Project#Preservation

20 years and the data was almost irretrievable.

Sure, scan the originals and put them on-line anywhere that Google can index them and just accept the fact that unless you want to pro-actively want to maintain that archive, it may well at some point be lost. You can avoid that by duplicating it to many sites and just hosting a web page with links to them as a "master index".

But to be honest, the best thing to do is to make multiple duplicate copies of the originals onto archival quality paper and hand them over to a responsible archive/museum as public domain. Won't guarantee someone doesn't commercialise them at some point but thats the way the world works these days.

Member for

20 years

Posts: 246

Hi all,

I am currently in the process of getting 578 squadrons WWII record books and photographs digitised.

I am going to make backups as suggested and also distribute copies to others.

However I am also looking at archive institutions. You could start at your local library. Most Cities have their own archives. Just a thought. That way they should be preserved in a sympathetic way.

Profile picture for user OneEighthBit

Member for

11 years 9 months

Posts: 729

Hi all,

I am currently in the process of getting 578 squadrons WWII record books and photographs digitised.

I am going to make backups as suggested and also distribute copies to others.

However I am also looking at archive institutions. You could start at your local library. Most Cities have their own archives. Just a thought. That way they should be preserved in a sympathetic way.

You might find some of the information here useful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_preservation