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Photography Question 
Joanne  Kramer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/16/2005
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How do you store and organize digital images?

I have my digital images stored (backed up) on CDs. Now I have to organize my CDs. I took them all out of jewel cases and put them in a folder case. To make it easier to know what is on each disk I open a thumbnail window of the photos....take a screen shot....print it out and fold it with the CD. Does anyone out there have other suggestions or helps in keeping it all straight? Saving to DVDs is probably my next step. I've heard that images last longer on "gold" cds and also longer on RW cds. At any rate I would be interested in whatever anyone has to suggest....if it doesn't get too technical.

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3/1/2008 12:45:40 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Hello Djoanne,

This is a difficult question to answer.
Many have agonized over this, especially now that we shoot so many images.

Organizing photos on a DVD or other medium can be a daunting task. I liken it to planning for retirement; if you don't start now, one day it's too late.

I'm almost ready to start "keywording" with my software. To date I have literally thousands of images. It is becoming a bit unwieldy. LOL

The problem really rears it's ugly head when one day we say to ourselves, "Where is that pic of Uncle Bill holding the roses I shot about 2 yrs ago?" Yeesh!

Here is what I do, and so far it is serving me ok.

I backup to a external HD AND to a DVD.

I label a DVD "2008" as an example.
Within the 2008 main folder I further subdivide..such as birthdays..holidays, shoot at zoo...creative...etc.

This is far from the best way to do it, but as I far it's ok.

"Keywording" works far better but also takes a lot more time.

One of the big problems I see in organizing our images is that the software we use today may not be compatible in a few yrs.

I refresh my DVD's about every 2 yrs..(i.e) make new copies since ALL media has a limited shelf life.

I am a strong advocate of backing up in more than just one medium..Disc AND HD.

all the best,


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3/1/2008 7:15:22 PM

Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
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  Hello Djoanne, I have a system that works for me. I store my pics into my 2008 folder and then create a subfolder that I name by event -example: High Sierra Music Festival 2008 (named as HSMF08) and this may contain 1000 images (its a 4 day festival). My friend labels everything by date as he can remember dates better. I can remember events better and can remember that the little girl chasing a ballon pic was taken at an outing I made to the Oregon Botanical Garden in 2006 (labelled as OBG06) but would have a harder time remembering the date it was taken.
Along with what Pete said - I have (2) 750GB external hard drives that I keep in rotation and then I also burn backups to DVD. These days I am usually shooting 4GB CF cards and this will just fit on a DVD. I usually make 2 DVDs - one for RAW images and another for the select processed .tif files I create from the raw files (since .tif files are much larger and can eat a lot of disk space). Now I have 2 hard-drives with the photos and DVD disks for backups.
Once I have filled up a hard-drive, I unplug it and set it on a shelf so I dont burn it up and plug in the new replacement. I have only had 1 hard drive fail on me over the years but I still dont trust them.
Sometimes I even create other subfolders such as in 2006 I spent a few months in Fresno, Ca - so I created a subfolder for Fresno & then more subfolders for events while I was there. So to retrieve the image of the swan with its head under water, I would look for my folder labelled "FresnoZoo" in 2006>Fresno>FresnoZoo and look at the thumbnails. I label my DVD backups the same way just to keep things straight.
This system works well for the way my brain operates but I still have to search around at times when I cant remember the exact event for a photo I am looking for.

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3/1/2008 8:05:53 PM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
  I was storing to CDs as well, but it just got out of hand.
I bought a 500gig external hard drive
for 89.00 and LOVE it!!
ll is off my computer,it's running faster!
and if I feel the need I can carry that little box with me.
I have all my work, Images and Music stored on it and have hardly made a dent in it's limit.
I hope this helps,

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3/1/2008 8:32:37 PM

Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  May I suggest you not put all your eggs in one basket? I've had a 160 gig external hard drive fail on me - and unless I wanted to spend well over $1,000 to try to retrieve the pics - the pics are permanently gone! I'm not a pro so in the end it was no big deal - but if you do care for your pics - back them up twice! On two different media if possible. And keep the 2nd copy not in your house!!

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3/2/2008 4:57:42 AM

Joanne  Kramer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/16/2005
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  I really appreciate your feedback/ideas. I like what "Pete" said...start now or it's too late. I have photos since 2000 so really do need to get that external hard drive. I also did a search on storing digital images and found some good info. Thanks all.

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3/2/2008 5:32:52 AM

R K Stephenson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/5/2007
  Hi, Guys,

With the size of images, CDs and even DVDs are becoming less and less practical.

With consideration for reliability, you might look into any of these relatively new Tera drives. They promote them as 1 terabyte (1000 GB) of storage but there is an interesting feature of these drives worth exploring.

Most can be setup with RAID 1 -- "redundant array of independent disks", which is a way of storing your data in two different places automatically. That is, the two 500GB drives are setup as redundant storage so you trade 1/2 the storage space for a built-in backup. If one drive goes bad, the information is still on the other drive. Slap in a new drive and it will automatically write the 'backup' to the other drive without losing a "bit".

Your local Best Buy/CompUSA/Circuit Cellar will have one or more brands and someone there should be able to fill you in on more of the technical info about RAID.



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3/3/2008 2:32:35 PM

External harddisks are very convenient, fast, and cheap (GB for GB). They are NOT reliable, though!

One harddisk crash can destroy ALL your photos!
And crash they do!

So I use 2 external backup harddisks, one backs up the other. And I save projects on duplicate sets of DVDs (one stored off site), which I reburn anew every 3 years.

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3/3/2008 3:56:02 PM

R K Stephenson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/5/2007
  Hi, W.,

I beg to differ that hard disks are "NOT reliable". Drive technology has advanced a lot since the days of frequent crashes and you can expect hundreds of thousands of hours of use out of quality hard drives.

That said, hard drives can and do fail and they can be rendered unusable. RAID addresses that. The chances of two hard drives dieing simultaneously is astronomical so the reliability factor is extremely high with RAID 1 or RAID 5. With RAID 5 (which you will have to build yourself -- no 'out of the box' solutions like the RAID 1 setup I mentioned earlier) the reliability is 100%.



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3/3/2008 4:10:12 PM

David A. Bliss   You really do not want to know how I store my files and what my organization entails... ;-)

There are more and more external options available. I am currently looking at the Linsys network mirror drive option.

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3/3/2008 4:51:12 PM

R K Stephenson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/5/2007
  Unfortunately -- or not -- my pics are not valuable enough to warrant that kind of heavy-duty storage. =^0

But that does bring up another option: online storage is still not 'cheap' but it is plentiful and as close to 100% as you're going to find.



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3/3/2008 5:11:30 PM

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