Tuesday, 22 April 2014

storing media

Arts organisations generate large amounts of digital content and particularly photographs from documenting work and events. These archives are generally stored on hard drives which have an expected life span of 3-5 years. Backblaze, online storage company say that '78% of the drives we buy are living longer than four years'. Which also means that 22% of their drives didn't last longer than four years. There is no way of knowing which one will fail. Hard drives are a temporary storage solution. An effective hard drive archiving system would use an array of hard drives requiring dedicated maintenance and even then can not guarantee against data loss.

Storing all media online offsets the the maintenance of the drives to a storage company. Publishing the media online has the added benefit of making the content accessible to anyone with a networked computer. Online storage requires initial work in appropriately labelling and describing all media content but then increases an organisation's web presence. A greater range of potential search terms (appropriately tagged media) increases the number of internet paths to an art's organisation's content.

Online storage options
  1. Your own web server
    Set up a a computer as your own web server and serve up your own content.
    pro - complete control over your own content
    con - very high maintenance levels
  2. Store them in the cloud with a storage provider.
    pro - he best cloud storage companies distribute their content across hundred of servers so that when one machine dies or the power fails the customer can still access their data.
    con - most servers are located in the US and the data is not protected by the European Data Protection Act.
    Cloud storage is subscription based, when a customer stops paying their susbscription the content is deleted.
  3. Store them in an image hosting site like flickr
    pro - very cheap and increases web presence through social media networks
    con - access to the content can change at any time and potential vendor failure would lead to loss of data
Any archive solution needs to be a mix of different strategies. The only idiot proof no-maintenance solution is to print the content on archival stock and store in a bomb proof time capsule but this would have accessibility issues.