Basic Principles of Archiving Photographs and Documents

Source: Archive History

Photograph inside the Beachy Store in Yoder, Kansas about 1933.

Photograph inside the Beachy Store in Yoder, Kansas about 1933.

Digital archives can greatly enhance the preservation and sharing of historical information.

An historical photograph archive intended to be accessible for at least 50 years will be handled differently than a personal photograph collection.

The master images in an historical archive are intended to be suitable for many different uses for decades in the future. The documentation for an item perpetually stays with the master image.

Working copies of the master images are made when adapting the images for particular uses.

At least three copies of the archive should be maintained, including at least one copy at a different location. Distributing copies of the archive to others can achieve this result.

With current technology, the digital files in the archive should be transferred to new storage media at least approximately every two to four years. This needs to be done even when the person establishing the archive is no longer able to do it.

For family archives, a good strategy for long-term preservation of the original items after the digital images have been made is to donate the items to a museum, library, or archive.

A backup copy of a digital archive must be made because the disk drive on a computer can irretrievably fail at any time. I had a hard disk failure several years ago and know a person who had a complete disk failure twice in the past few years. Also, backup copies are important protection from viruses and other malware that are a major threat to a computer system. Of course, backup copies of the entire computer system should also be made in addition to the historical archives.

Backups should be done frequently and migrated to new media. The media for storing the backup changes as technology advances. A few years ago I used CDs and DVDs for backup. Now I use external disk drives. An historical archive must be migrated to new media as technology changes. The idea that a person can make one backup copy that will last for decades is not applicable. The backup copy can fail and also has a high probability of becoming obsolete media. For an organization with a professionally managed computer network, backups will normally be handled by an Information Technology Department and should meet the criteria described here.

At least three copies of an archive should be maintained, and preferably more. At least one of the copies should be in a different location. The minimum copies of my historical archives typically include:
1. The primary copy on my computer.
2.  A backup copy on an external drive by the computer.
3.  Another backup copy on an external drive that is in a safe deposit box at a bank.
4.  One or more copies on Blu-Ray that have been given to people who are interested in the archive.

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Blu-Ray is a Great Way to Store a Lot of Stuff

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Source: Outdoor Photographer

blu-ray-disc-icon-1280x1024I want to try Blu-Ray for long-term photo backup. You see, I’ve had troubles with hard drives. Lots of troubles.

My typical method of protecting my photo files is to archive my images daily to another internal hard drive that serves as a short-term backup. Then on a monthly basis, I copy those images to an external hard drive and duplicate them onto a series of DVDs. That way I’ve got two backups—one magnetic and one optical—and they can be stored in separate locations.

It’s a good thing I make those DVD backups too, because I’m approaching a 100% failure rate on external hard drives. I’ve lost three this year. Two of them failed for no reason, one of them was damaged due to human error (when I dropped it). I duplicated all those DVDs each time, and it was a real pain. But at least I was able to recover my data from the DVD backups, and at least I once again have duplicate versions.

The problem is that I need to replace the long-term hard drive storage with a more efficient medium. DVDs are fine, as I end up burning anywhere from 10 to 30 of them every month. It would sure be nice to streamline that system into a single process—like I would get from a Blu-Ray disk with a capacity as much as six times greater than a DVD.

Why don’t I just invest in a Drobo hard drive system, or perhaps a full-scale RAID? It’s really a matter of money. Sure, the cost per gigabyte is better with these redundant-disk hard drive systems. But even the relatively affordable Drobo requires a more significant up front capital investment than a Blu-Ray burner (which can be had for $200, and five- to ten-dollar recordable discs). If you’re not backing up truly massive quantities of data, the 25-gigs of a single layer Blu-Ray is a great way to store a lot of stuff, relatively quickly and efficiently and affordably. Most of all, more archivally.

More than anything, as exciting as Drobo or Raid hard drive systems might be, they still would require a level of “maintenance” that I’m getting tired of. The genius of redundant drives is that when one fails, it can be swapped for a new one. That’s a great failsafe, but it’s based on a premise I still don’t love: “when” the drive fails.

My magnetic media confidence has been shaken by all of my recent hard drive disasters. The idea of storing my photos on optical media—a disc that seems to be inherently more durable and stable than magnetic media drives—gets more appealing every day.

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Should I digitize my photo collection? Is it safe to throw away my original film and prints after I digitize them?

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Preserving Memories

Preserving Memories

You may want to digitize your photographs because it offers safe and easy access to the images in your collection. Once your photographs have been scanned, you can view them in electronic form and even make hard copies without risking damage to the originals. Do not throw away your original film and prints after you digitize them. Digitized images are not considered a replacement for originals. Data (i.e. your images) can be lost when the storage media deteriorates; and software and hardware technology become rapidly obsolete, in some cases making retrieval of the images difficult if not impossible.

If you are an archivist, curator, or custodian of a large photographic collection and are considering digitization.

For stable, reliable, high capacity, long life data storage, MAM-A Inc. has developed Gold Archive Grade, recordable DVD media and Gold Archive Grade, recordable CD media.

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

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Art From War

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Source: Library of Congress

Disabled veterans, Walter Reed Hospital.  1918.

Disabled veterans, Walter Reed Hospital.
1918.

Pictures can eloquently convey some of the ugliness of war. Creating art can also be a powerful means of communicating the experience of war and coping with war trauma.

On Thursday, January 22nd, Tara Tappert, an independent scholar who has spent the past twelve months as a David B. Larson Fellow in Health & Spirituality at the John W. Kluge Center, will examine how and why medical institutions and social organizations embraced arts and crafts making in the aftermath of war in a talk entitled, “Art from War: Documenting Devastation/Realizing Restoration.” Using examples from her research in Library of Congress visual and textual collections, Tappert will explore how two distinctly different artistic approaches to the experiences of war trauma–documentation and restoration–can be traced to the devastation of World War I.

The talk is being co-sponsored by the Library’s Veterans History Project and the Prints and Photographs Division, and a display of items from both collections will accompany the lecture. All are welcome to attend; no registration is necessary.

What: “Art from War: Documenting Devastation/Realizing Restoration” (talk by Tara Tappert, Larson Fellow at The John W. Kluge Center)
When: Thursday, January 22, at 4:00 p.m
Where: Library of Congress Jefferson Building, Room 119

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Archiving Means Staying Current on Latest Technologies

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video-distributionSource: Archivists Guide to Archiving Video

As you have likely experienced, technology changes rapidly and dramatically, and hardware does not last long. Even if your videos remain intact and uncorrupted in storage, at some point in the future they may become obsolete unplayable because new machines and software will not be able to read them.

Long-term preservation involves not only maintaining the original, but also regularly refreshing it on new storage media and, for access, migrating to up-to-date formats or building software that can play the obsolete format.

By definition, preservation requires ongoing resources. Whoever is going to preserve your videos has to be able to commit to investing what is necessary to retain, manage, and provide access over a long period of time. This includes technological and organizational infrastructure, skilled staff, financial resources, planning, and policies.

Archiving is an ongoing process that begins when a video is created and continues infinitely into the future.  Archiving is a process that can be incorporated into your existing video workflows.

Archiving is a way to ensure your videos remain authentic and intact, so you can use them as evidence. Archiving is a way to ensure your videos are available, findable and playable long into the future. However archiving is NOT a one-time action and archiving is NOT putting your videos on a hard drive and leaving it on a shelf.

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Backup, archiving and records management – different solutions for different challenges

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DATAMANAGEMENTThere is no doubt that data management and preservation are critically important to business. However, there may be misconceptions when it comes to the process around the differences between backup, archiving and records management.

While all three are important, depending on the size of the organization, they are not the same thing, and nor can they typically be handled by the same technology. Each of these data challenges requires a specific solution to perform specific functions, ensuring that data is not only available and preserved, but also easily managed.

Data backup is essential for everyday operations. This process in essence creates a copy of current data and stores it in another location. For example, should a set of data go missing or become corrupt, or a notebook or desktop is lost, stolen or fails, this information can be restored exactly as it was from the last backup. A backup is a working file that includes all of the data, as well as how it was arranged and stored on an on-going working basis.  It can be stored on an external hard drive, a storage server, in the cloud, or a combination of these tools. Backups can be performed manually, but a more efficient process is to make use of a solution that automates this process and backs up data incrementally, so that there is always one copy of the most current information available to be restored. This also reduces the time taken to backup data significantly.

Archiving, on the other hand, consists of static information as opposed to a working file – a repository of old information that is not required on a daily, on-going basis. Archives cannot be used to restore a machine that has failed, but are used to find a particular file for a particular purpose. Examples of this include emails older than a certain date, as well as records and customer data that needs to be retained, but is not accessed regularly.

Data often needs to be retained for compliance and eDiscovery purposes – many industries are required to keep five years of financial data, for example, in the event that authorities require an audit.  Another example is the healthcare sector must keep patient records for up to 20 years. This information does not necessarily have to be easily retrievable, but must be accessible if necessary, and maintaining all of this data in tier-one storage such as a backup is expensive and unnecessary. This is where archiving solutions come in and this older data is usually stored on less expensive media.

Many organizations require both backup and archiving, which typically cannot be accomplished using the same tool. However, they need to work together to ensure efficiency. For large organizations where data volumes are high and data is stored in a variety of different formats, records management may be an essential supplementary tool.

Records management helps enterprises to organize, manage, and govern records of all types, including physical files, electronic documents, and emails. Records management solutions are essentially governance solutions for capturing, classifying, tracking, scheduling, and managing media of all types, and assist with minimizing risk.

When faced with managing data, many organizations may be the impression that an all-encompassing system for backup, archiving and records management is the most efficient solution. However, with the sheer volume and variety of data, from paper to electronic records, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, records retention, archiving, email and more, these cannot efficiently be tackled as a single project, as the objectives and outcomes of backup, archiving and records management, while similar, are not identical. When looking to implement data management solutions, it is essential for organizations to first analyze their requirements before taking the decision as to whether they require backup, archiving or records management, or a combination of these tools, or even all three.

Gareth Tudor, CEO of Altonet

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

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Caught Our Eyes: Window Shopping

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WINDOW SHOPPING

Window shoppers watching toy display in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. Photo by Jack Delano, Dec. 1940.

Source: Library of Congress
December 24, 2014
By Kristi Finefield

When searching for that perfect gift, many of us now turn to the computer and the convenience of online shopping. However, I can’t help but be nostalgic for a time when shopping often meant looking at elaborate window displays of the newest toys or gadgets instead of tapping on a keyboard. I can almost hear the young boy below working on his wish list for Santa as he gazes at this toy display:

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Neon Lights Up the Night

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December 18, 2014 by Jeff Bridgers
Source: Library of Congress

Hacienda Horse and Rider, historic neon sign, Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006.

Hacienda Horse and Rider, historic neon sign, Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006.

This neon caballero astride his rearing horse proved an instant favorite.. In this season of special holiday lighting, year-round bright lights come to mind — the neon signs featured in these photographs by Carol M. Highsmith. There are plenty more where these came from at The Library of Congress website. Enjoy!

Historic Vegas neon sign, Freemont Street, Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, July 9, 2009

Historic Vegas neon sign, Freemont Street, Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, July 9, 2009

Historic Vegas neon sign, Freemont Street, Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, July 9, 2009

Historic Vegas neon sign, Freemont Street, Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, July 9, 2009

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MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

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Deep Eddy municipal pool, Austin, Texas. Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, April 19, 2014.

Deep Eddy municipal pool, Austin, Texas. Photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, April 19, 2014.

Archiving and Its Role in Keeping the Office Tidy

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DISC STORAGESource: Lok’nStore
Have you heard the idea that a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind? Apparently this is true, so if you expand that to a cluttered office instead, well… you can imagine how cluttered your mind would feel. Where is everything? Where’s that piece of paperwork you had to file? What about that order that came in – where did that go?
In short you spend so much time trying to find things; you can easily get frustrated and get less work done as a result. Fast forward a few years when you have a few more years’ worth of paperwork on top of the horrors mentioned above, you get the idea.

Archiving keeps all the old paperwork well-organized and yet still easy to access, just in case you should ever need to lay your hands on it. Furthermore you don’t even have to keep archived stuff in the office anymore. Thanks to the rise and rise of self-storage you’ve now got a practical and cheap solution to finding somewhere to put it all. After all it’s still easy to lay your hands on it all if you need it, and yet you don’t need that much space to keep it all in.

So let’s assume you decide to go for the archiving in self-storage solution. What would your office space look like now? The chances are it would be leaner, meaner and a lot tidier than before. You’d have more space. With everything neatly archived or filed away, you’d have more desk space and the whole room would seem more relaxing. In fact you might find that once you get rid of the clutter, your mind will feel a lot clearer too. Why not try it and see how it works for you?

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A Designed to Last
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Platinum Photographs: Art from a Noble Metal

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October 16, 2014 by Barbara Orbach Natanson
The following is a guest post by Verna Curtis, Curator of Photography, Prints and Photographs Division.

RODINPortrait of Auguste Rodin in his studio. Platinum photograph on Japanese paper by Gertrude Käsebier, ca. 1906.

Imagine how people understood photographs in 1900, when photography had been around for just over sixty years. Were photographs factual documents? Could they be a new form of artistic expression? Those producing photographic prints knew, but the public was unsure whether photographs could be art.

A highlight of the growing international effort to exhibit photographs as art was the groundbreaking Internationale Ausstellung Künstlerischer Photographien (International Exhibition of Art Photographers) in Vienna in 1891. American Pictorialists (“pictorial” was the favored term for art photography) soon dominated shows in a variety of locations, including Chicago; San Francisco; Pittsburgh; and Newark, Ohio.

The Pictorialists shared with their counterparts in the graphic arts an interest in old master and Japanese prints, subtle printing effects, and technical experimentation. Among the experiments were photographs with the precious platinum metal as their base. The photographs are highly prized for their broad tonal range and delicate non-reflective surface. Their blacks or browns convey the qualities of softness and warmth. Yet, they could last a very long time. The artful platinum photographs of F. Holland Day, Clarence H. White, and Gertrude Käsebier are a special strength within the Prints and Photographs Division’s photography collections.

F. Holland Day (1864-1933), bibliophile, publisher, and photographer, was the New England leader of the Pictorialist Movement. Hallmarks of his style include the innovative use of cutout shapes and colored papers for mounting his photographs.

Platinum15841rClarence H. White (1871-1925), is best known as a teacher and founder of an American art school for photographers. The Library acquired Clarence H. White’s photographs early in 1926. His eponymous New York school for photography was the first in America to integrate design into its curriculum. White’s students were pioneers in the fields of photojournalism and advertising.

Spring. A triptych (Letitia Felix), Newark, Ohio. Platinum photograph by Clarence White, 1898.

The beauty of platinum photographs and their special qualities are receiving particular attention this fall. Twenty outstanding examples of original platinum printing will soon go on display at the Library of Congress (Jefferson Building, 1stFloor, South, October 20 to November 8, 2014). The display coincides with a symposium organized by the National Gallery of Art presenting collaborative research on the technical, chemical, and aesthetic history and practice of platinum photography (Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, October 21-24, 2014).

At MAM-A Inc. We offer recordable media that is more reliable and longer lasting than any other recording media available today.

MAM-A Inc. is the optical media specialist. We provide the best high quality 24kt pure Gold archive grade recordable media which offers superior longevity.

Our exclusive online store offers customers a comprehensive selection of the latest recordable media, including CD-R, DVD-R/+R, DVD+R DL, M-DISC, UDO & BD-R/RE.

MAM-A Designed to Last
http://www.mam-a-store.com/