March 17, 2013
by Thijs Elenbaas
For a long time I have not had much interest in taking photos, until we had two kid, who by strange coincidence turned out to be the most photogenic children ever. The great thing about digital photos is that it is incredibly easy to make them. The bad thing is that is almost just as easy to lose them. A crashed hard disk, a 8 Gbyte, 1000+ photos containing SD card getting lost, etc.. Meanwhile, my analog physical photos are still somewhere down in the closet, perhaps getting a little bit more yellow (instagrammed) with time.
It seems that that long term survival for analog photos is an analog state (gradual degradation ), whereas survival for digital photos is a digital state. either they are bit perfect or they are corrupted. Off course, the degradation of the storage material is gradual, but at some point, the number of read errors will beyond the error-correcting capabilities of the DVD. When it comes to optical discs, there are not many on the market that can be trusted for long-term storage. In a thorough long-term stress test by the well regarded German c’t magazine (c’t 16/2008, pages 116-123), only one DVD type was found that would survive for 20 years and longer. According to the test, the Verbatim Gold Archival DVD-R had a minimum durability of 18 years and an average durability of 32 to 127 years (at 25C, 50% humidity). No other disc came anywhere close to these values, the second best DVD-R had a minimum durability of only 5 years. Of course, the test did not take 18 years. Instead, the DVDs where subjected to extreme conditions, and from these real lifetimes where extrapolated.
Lifetime DVD-r under humid and hot conditions
However, keeping lots of data backed up on DVDs requires a lot of work. In order to preserve our family photos, as well as our free time we have acquired a NAS, a Synology DiskStation412+. The Synology DiskStation comes with a lot of cool extensions to begin with, for example the Photo Station+. It is a photo server, that comes with clients for IOS and Android. We use these to automatically upload all new photos directly to the NAS.
But there is so much more we can do…
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