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"The ultimate backup - Put it in a bank box" article at overgaard.dk

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I just put a new article online about backing up photographic archives. Everything from Cloud to making negatives to preserve photographs. 

 

One thing that might surprise and amuse is storing harddrives in the bank box. A fairly inexpensive alternative to many other possibilities. 

 

http://www.overgaard.dk/the-story-behind-that-picture-0152_gb.html

 

Enjoy!

 

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Nice article. I never got "the cloud," and stuck to backing up to external hard drives, keeping one off-site. Bank deposit boxes are a good idea, but remember that Jacques Lowe kept his valuable negatives of the Kennedy family in a bank vault - in the basement of the World Trade Center.

 

A good reference I use is "Data Protection for Photographers," http://www.amazon.com/Data-Protection-Photographers-Protecting-Valuable/dp/1937538222/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1439237831&sr=8-1&keywords=data+protection+for+photographers, which has been out for a year or so. Of course, given the subject matter, some of the recommendations it makes are already out of date (nearly). But it has a good discussion of backup strategies and the like.

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Thanks Chuck,

I ordered the book from Amazon. I didn't know about it. 

 

Unlike negatives, digital files can be stores in several places, so that is one good thing about it. Except of course that you have to keep updating the media so you can still read the data throughout changing interfaces. 

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The bank vault at $110 per year sounds like a cost effective solution for offsite storage. Although I agree that keeping multiple copies can be a real hassle when trying to work out what has been backed-up, etc., I feel having only two copies (an original and a backup) is a little risky. As a sidenote, you mention the possibility of using SD cards for backup. Whilst the size of these cards (USB flash drives too) makes them an attractive proposition, the volatile nature of the memory (and the consequent risk of bit rot) makes them unsuitable for long term storage. At least that is the accepted wisdom.

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Leica photographers should at least be aware of Amazon's $11.99 per year Cloud Drive offer, which offers unlimited storage of photos:

 

https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/pricing?ref_=cd_lm_navpricing

 

The issue you need to be aware of is that not all raw files are recognized as "photos" - they may be recognized as normal files, and not qualify for the unlimited photo storage:

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201649930

 

However, Leica photographers should note that DNGs specifically ARE recognized as photos, which makes this a pretty good offer.

 

Sandy

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The problem is the upload time and internet costs to the user of transferring such large quantities of data, not necessarily the data storage cost itself.

I use multiple backup drives on & offsite, and have developed a very smooth system for rotating the drives around.

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The danger comes from undetected data corruption which will happen even on disks that are stored unused for long periods of time. Transferring the data to new disks won't necessarily reveal the problem, as the corrupted data will simply be copied along with the good portions from the old disk.

 

There are ways to (try to) protect oneself from this, but I'm too lazy or complacent to implement even more methods to safeguard my images. Right now I have a current small and fast working image disk, 2 larger disks for medium-term archived images, a monster backup disk at home and a replica in the work saferoom. I've additionally been backing-up everything to Amazon Glacier - but unfortunately the name doesn't refer to 'deep-freeze' storage but rather the glacially slow speed at which data is transferred both in and out.

 

All in all, I like having my film images as an additional backup - they are subject to their own sorts of decay, but I prefer relying on more than one medium to ensure the images (mostly my kids these days) are still around for them to see when they're grown up.

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Unlike negatives, digital files can be stores in several places, so that is one good thing about it. Except of course that you have to keep updating the media so you can still read the data throughout changing interfaces. 

 

Quite. I fortunately have an outboard ZipDrive from about 15 years ago, so I can still transfer files from that media. (One 100MB ZipDisk today would only hold about 3 DNG files from my Monochrom!) We'll see how long the WD Passport hard drives stay current.

 

Fortunately, Lowe kept his contact sheets elsewhere in NYC. Don't ask me how they did it, but his estate was able to put together exhibition prints from that source:

 

http://time.com/69269/when-an-archive-is-lost-jacques-lowes-rare-and-recently-restored-look-at-jfks-camelot/

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The Flash memory (SD-cards, SSD, etc) are depending on being powered up from time to time to keep the data uncorrupted. Nobody know for sure, but usually the manufacturers say 5-10 years for data on SD cards (not powered up).

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The bank vault at $110 per year sounds like a cost effective solution for offsite storage. Although I agree that keeping multiple copies can be a real hassle when trying to work out what has been backed-up, etc., I feel having only two copies (an original and a backup) is a little risky. As a sidenote, you mention the possibility of using SD cards for backup. Whilst the size of these cards (USB flash drives too) makes them an attractive proposition, the volatile nature of the memory (and the consequent risk of bit rot) makes them unsuitable for long term storage. At least that is the accepted wisdom.

7 years I have heard

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Not only the world Trade Center problem,  there is water.   I have watched many banks being built and the first thing they do is dig a hole and put the safety boxes in it.

 

The bank I use was built years ago and constructed with heavy stone and brick.  Boxes are ground level behind massive doors.  Confident it will hold up reasonably well to midwest tornado.

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I keep one original drive which gets backed up daily to a 2nd drive. Then I keep one more offsite which I periodically bring in and back up to get the most recent work on it. I used to keep it in a bank safe deposit box. But I recognized that I only need off site backup in the event of a disaster of some sort at home (fire, flood, theft...) that destroys both main drives. Additionally, it is quite an effort to go to the bank, go through their security procedures, retrieve the hard drive take it home, back it up, make another trip to the bank, go through security again, replace it in a safe deposit box and go home... Only to repeat the process in a month or two.

 

So, what I now do is keep the backup drive in my locker at my fitness club. It's secure as you must be a member with an encrypted keycard to enter the premises and additionally would need my locker combination (and have an improbable desire to steal my images). It's a commercial, hurricane-proof building, 2nd floor with fire protection systems so it is well protected from natural and man made disasters. And best of all, I can simply retrieve it after my regular workout and bring the updated drive back the next day.

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The NYC Citibank vault at their now closed branch at 111th and Broadway was flooded 2 years ago. The flooding was caused by FDNY putting out a fire above.  A friend lost his entire collection of watches....... I would definitely go for an above ground vault.

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Quite. I fortunately have an outboard ZipDrive from about 15 years ago, so I can still transfer files from that media.

 

Doesn't the Zip Drive use an obsolete SCSI cable?

.

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