Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Are Your Images Safe?

The VRC has returned from our all-too-short summer break -- welcome back! I'd like to kick off the new school year with a cautionary tale. This July my brother's and sister-in-law's home was flooded, destroying the family computer. They did have an automatic backup system in place, saving regularly to an external hard drive. However, the hard drive was also destroyed in the flood. Fortunately, they periodically saved data to DVDs and stored them elsewhere, but the family lost all of the information on the computer that had been created since the last backup.

Many of us invest a significant amount of time, energy, and money in creating, collecting, and storing our images: they support our professional activities and function as an archive for our most treasured memories. Have you thought carefully about the ways that yours are vulnerable? 

I have written about backup strategies before. Backups are a very important aspect of ensuring the ongoing safety and accessibility of your images. But there are other factors to consider, such as methods of organizing, file naming, migrating, and monitoring both your collection and developments in technology, products, and standards. is a nice site that provides a layperson's introduction to developing a strategy for curating your collection of personal images. Its main categories are:
  • Learn (hardware; software; other factors)
  • Prepare (plan; create categories; label photos; manage photos)
  • Protect (transfer to storage; make backup plan; how to backup)
  • Recover (camera card failure; hard drive crash; virus attack)
  • Resources (provides lots of links, organized into categories, to important sources for more information)
The VRC is always happy to discuss issues, share resources, and learn about new resources to better serve the needs of our faculty members' and students' personal image collections. Drop us a line and tell us what's on your mind!

Image: Rachel Zack, Mom, 2007. From Flickr, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license.