I’m in charge of scanning old family photo albums (dating back to the 1800s), and an saving them on CDs. After reading many articles, I am confused as to what I should use to save them on. CDs, USBs, external hard drives…. Do you have a suggestion? I don’t want a future generation to go to look or print from them, and find that they no longer are accessible.
Well, the short answer is that I would wave you off of CDs right away. For something that important, I think other solutions are called for.
As I’ve discussed before, the continual progress of storage technologies is an ongoing issue. What we choose today might not be appropriate in a few years or a few decades.
Rather than tell you what you should do, let me tell you what I do in case my photographs are ever of interest to future generations.
I had a thought about everything being digital: is there a chance that important information can be lost? From important and historical information to irreplaceable pictures, etc. I was holding a picture of me from 1980 (yes, genuine film). Had there been digital scanners and fast enough computers back then, the 5¼-inch disk would be unreadable by today’s drives. The disk would probably have errors, if you could find a used hard drive to even read it for your precious memories. Never mind historians, scholars, and the young storing all of their Facebook information in the Cloud only. I use external media and more than one type. I don’t know anyone who backs up a single thing, no matter how many speeches I give them.
Yes, it’s true. In fact, I hear about it pretty much every day: digital information can be lost quite easily.
But that’s not an indictment of digital technology at all. In fact, digital data opens up more possibilities for data retention than it closes.