February 20, 2006
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The Great Digitization
Something that I wanted to do for a little bit is start to archive all my families photos. This isn't a small task, we're talking of 1000's of slides to start with, not including all the prints and negitives.
One solution is to get a bulk slide scanner, but I think that's a lot of money for something with a super specific task. As soon as I would finish, then scanner is going to be useless to me. So at this time I am leaning towards a flatbed scanner with a slide / negitive / print attachement. I figure that would be the best way to go.
Now I have to think about storage. I'm thinking of using RAID, but have no experience of this right now. So, the plan that's currently in my head is to either wipe my linux box and put WinXP on it or I can try and use linux to do the scanning. It's a little bit of an older computer and I would have to put in a USB 2 connection in it...
Why do I want to do this? Am I just nuts? That discussion aside, it's because I want to know who is in the pictures, and the only way to do that is ask the people who know while they are still around. Otherwise the pictures will just in some drawer or box not to be seen by anyone. If they are digitized in some way, then we can make DVD presentations, slide shows, ... just about anything.
I just feel like it's something more, something of a record of the journey our my families life rather than just the same old Birth Marriage Death (BMD) info. Either way, it's a big task and it's something that I'll start early. I just have to start with one single step... ;-)
Posted by jim at February 20, 2006 09:21 PM
I think that if you have a lot of stuff to scan, then you might want to look at seeing if you can rent a bulk scanner. I'm not sure where you'd find one, but doing the mass input of all the stuff you have up until now is going to take a while. Once that's done, scan stuff as it comes along. Get a scanner that can do slides, negatives, and pictures. Even then it's a pain. Scanning 10 pictures in archive quality, will probably take about 5-10 minutes, and that's if you're really focused. Then you have to find a good program to store them in. Scanning on linux is a bit of a pain sometimes, but only in the department of getting your scanner to work. once it's working, it's about as good as windows.
As far as storage goes, I don't think raid is what you're looking for. It's redundant, so if one drive goes, then you'll still have everything, but isn't really necessary for archiving, more of use for something that has to have 100% availability. You'll probably just want a couple harddrives, and store all the pictures on both of them for redundancy, putting everything on the first hard drive, and having a nightly job that copies the new files to the second drive. And maybe weekly backups to some other drive. I don't recommend DVDs or CDs because they have a bad record of degrading, and since you won't be using them on a day to day basis, you'll have no idea if this has happened. If you have another family member with high speed internet, see what you can do about doing nightly transfers to their computer. Offsite storage is essential if you want to ensure that you don't lose data.
I agree with Kibbee: offsite storage is key. Even if you have a RAID setup, have the pictures somewhere else. How about a regular web host? For a monthly fee you can have gigs of storage that's regularly backed up by THEM.
Plus the added benefit is that the pictures are available to anyone with a net connection (and a password).
The only other recommendation I'd make is to scan the slides and pictures at high resolution. Even if it takes up a lot of space now, in 5 years it won't matter. You don't want to have to do that all over again.
If you can't rent a bulk scanner, buy one and re-sell it on eBay.
One of the things that I thought of using would be my flickr account to hold it all. Great offsite storage and organization, but I don't know if my folks wanted their photos uploaded to a external site. I'd have to make sure that the photos are only accessable by family.
I just have to figure out how to scan stuff and not die of boredom. Maybe do it while I am doing something else, like watching tv.
Any more suggestions? Those have been helpful. ;-)
Yeah, a web host is a good way to get offsite storage, and you can password protect the directories to make sure that nobody gets access to them that shouldn't. You'll have to trust your web hosting company though. Most web hosts come with tools for managing images, and even have bulk uploads. I use Coppermine on my website, and I think it's pretty good, Although I don't have a whole lot stored there. The problem is, is if there's a lot of (thousands) pictures, you could eat up your alotted space pretty easily.
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