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Old 10-10-2012, 09:47 AM   #21
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Why should format matter for long-term storage? It's not like JPEGs will rot or deteriorate over time.

The physical medium though is a question mark. Who knows what happens to burned DVDs a couple of decades out. Hard drives, you have to have redundant drives and maybe one in a safe deposit box or somewhere away from home, just in case.

As for JPG vs. TIFF, unless the originals were pristine prints or negatives from 35 mm film and you plan to edit them, mess around with color and stuff, I don't think TIFFs would gain you much except require more disk storage. Also if you plan to print them out again.

I'd look at a JPG and a TIFF on a monitor and compare. Unless you're a pixel peeper blowing up the pics and poring over every corner, I don't think most people would notice.

The other thing is if you plan to burn to DVDs for displaying on an HDTV, again you can do that test, JPG vs. TIFF.
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:10 AM   #22
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Hard drives, you have to have redundant drives and maybe one in a safe deposit box or somewhere away from home, just in case.
I sent an SD card containing all my digitized family photos to each of several family members who will keep, cherish, and spread them throughout other family members in our large family. The photos are also on my desktop, laptop, and portable external hard drives, the latter two of which go with me (as well as the paper originals) during evacuations.

I am hoping this is sufficient. If it sounds like overkill, well, when Katrina hit I had not yet digitized them and the paper copies were in numerous, extremely extremely heavy and bulky photo albums left at home. That was our third or fourth evacuation that summer, and I took them on all the other evacuations. Luckily they were fine, but I never want to worry about them like that again. I have since ditched the albums due to their weight and carry the paper photos in one fairly light container.
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:56 PM   #23
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I second the recommendation to scan to .jpg files and store them in Picasa (from Google -- free). Once you have them in there, you can tag them, arbitrarily combine them into various collections (called albums), include captions (which become part of the .jpg header and can't be lost unless that file is lost), do simple enhancements, and many other useful things. It also has an automatic face recognition system that allows you to keep an album of each person, which is generated with little effort on your part. Then there is Google Web Albums that allow you to share your photos with your friends very easily.

No, I don't work for Google, but I did buy Picasa before Google bought them out. They have continued to enhance the product as the years have gone by.
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:04 PM   #24
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It seems counter-intuitive to use all of these redundant hard drives, SD cards, safe deposit boxes, etc., to store backups of digital files. Cloud storage is free or inexpensive depending on your needs. Use a couple of services if you are worried about their viability. The services do the backups and are available from anywhere.
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Old 10-10-2012, 03:12 PM   #25
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Anyone know of an application that has this feature set, or a way to approach this?
Also looking for suggestions on how to store the original photos. Some are old (early 1900ís) large and bulky.
Actually if you clickon file info on an image in photoshop elements a dialog box comes up with space for title author and caption with a scrollable area for the caption.
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:12 AM   #26
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In case it wasn't clear in my first post, I was recommending scan to tiff, and this implies saving as tiff. Your scanner may have ctif available, meaning compressed. Elements will read ctif. There you can make adjustments, crop, and save as jpg. Then on with your work flow.

As a comparison make jpg and tif scans. Compare them while you zoom in. Since disk space is cheap, go with tif for original scan, and also produce jpgs for your applications of dvd, Web, etc.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:08 AM   #27
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I am more encouraged after reading the suggestions here. Yesterday afternoon I stopped by the local bookstore to look at the Photoshop Elements book by Kloskowski, I think I'm going to get it today. (Thanks Walt). Still have to decide if I want the dead tree version or the "bytes don't pollute" e-book.

Picassa and the freeware mentioned here will be looked at in the next week or so, but I already have photoshop elements, now I know how to add notes (great tip, thanks), so I think I'm going to scan a couple of old photos into tiff format, add some notes - a sort of trial run - and then sit back for a day or three and talk it over with my kids (primary intended recipients) and other family members.

This will take time, but I am prepared for that. The feedback and suggestions in this thread are very helpful.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:43 AM   #28
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Not sure about the notes being added in Elements. Ideally you'd want such information to be stored as EXIF data, and have it embedded in your jpgs with dates.

When you carry out your tests keep track of how long it takes to carry out each step of your work flow. If you have many pix to process, it helps to streamline everything. For example, if your scans are too light most times, you can change default settings.

Good luck with your project.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:55 AM   #29
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This will take time, but I am prepared for that. The feedback and suggestions in this thread are very helpful.
But what else are you gonna do all day?
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Old 10-11-2012, 03:50 PM   #30
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Some great ideas here - this is one of the projects on my long-term to-do list. I'm 2 years into RE and not even done with half of the short-term list yet so who knows when I'll get to this one!
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:11 PM   #31
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But what else are you gonna do all day?
I know exactly what you mean

Still thinking about forward compatibility of the the file formats and such. That is, making sure whatever formats and products we use will still be available to use in a couple of decades. In the basement we have a large box of VHS tapes I made in the late 70's and early 80's. Now we have no VHS, I know I can spend some money to buy some HW & SW to convert them to digital files but it is a minor pita.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:30 PM   #32
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I know exactly what you mean

Still thinking about forward compatibility of the the file formats and such. That is, making sure whatever formats and products we use will still be available to use in a couple of decades. In the basement we have a large box of VHS tapes I made in the late 70's and early 80's. Now we have no VHS, I know I can spend some money to buy some HW & SW to convert them to digital files but it is a minor pita.
As long as you don't fall too far behind the technology curve, this should not be an issue for your digitized photographs: Run batch conversion from whatever format you pick (TIFF, JPEG, etc.) to whatever the newest thing becomes, move the files from Amazon S3 containers to the next popular/cheaper storage spot, etc.

Even at the speed technology is moving now, I would hope you could let several years pass before starting to worry about this.
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:29 PM   #33
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I too have a parent wth a bunch of old photos waiting to be dealt with. Whatever format I end up saving the photos in, I am inclined to have them printed out in book form as well. There are a number of services that will do this. All these computers, storage media and file formats could be obsolete in 10 years or even less. Computers don't even have floppy disk drives in them any more. How long can we expect the currently "standard" formats and media to last?

I think the only medium capable of preserving photographs that has a proven track record of being able to survive intact for centuries and still be usable is ink on paper.
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:16 PM   #34
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As long as you don't fall too far behind the technology curve, this should not be an issue for your digitized photographs: Run batch conversion from whatever format you pick (TIFF, JPEG, etc.) to whatever the newest thing becomes, move the files from Amazon S3 containers to the next popular/cheaper storage spot, etc.

.
I would suspect that for a long time converters will exist after software no longer handles the native formats of jpeg and the like. Since JPEG is an international standards JPEG ISO/IEC 10918-1 thru 4 and a newer version has not yet come out, it will be a while before it is replaced, and any transition will take a long time. Today you can still find word and excel 97 converters for example. Plus as long as you can get an operating system that runs the old software to run in a virtual machine you could also work with the format.
So for Jpeg I would guess 10-15 years as a minimum life.
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:03 PM   #35
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If you are using Photoshop Elements 9 (or Picassa), there should be a dialog box / window somewhere in the program to enter IPTC information (International Press Telecommunications Council) which is meta-data associated with the image file. IPTC is a standard and will be readable by many programs and will include fields for things like caption, keywords, location, etc. EXIF is a similar form of metadata usually added by the camera to hold information like exposure settings, etc.

Many programs allow you to easily enter IPTC meta data for multiple images at once. For example, in lightroom you can select several images with your mouse and enter the caption "Bob's birthday party, Chicago" all at once. You can also do this with keywords. Using this batch entry of meta-data is very fast.

I believe Apple's iphoto and aperture programs will also perform face-recognition to caption/keyword photos to label people in the pictures. I have not used this functionality so I can't comment on it's effectiveness.

The meta-data is stored as a header in the file, so it's only visible in a browser. If you want a caption to appear on the image itself, you will need to enter it manually with the text tool in PS. If you are good with scripting, you can probably also achieve this with automated actions (photoshop has this, not sure about elements) or with third party tools like ImageMagick and ExifTool.

On Tiff vs JPEG, I would recommend storing the images as high quality JPEGs. The reason most photographers prefer using TIFFs is that if you make a lot of edits to your image (and resave the file as a jpeg multiple times) you can get noticeable degradation. TIFF also supports 16bit images which is important if you do heavy postprocessing but probably unnecessary for snaps. The advantage of JPEGS is that the image files will be much smaller and easier to view especially for non-technical folks. Many professional photographers only shoot in JPEG because their smaller size makes them much easier to work with.

You will probably want to create two versions of the files: (1) A high-res "master" that captures the image at the full (or nearly full) resolution of the scanner. This is the file you should use if you want to print the image. (2) A smaller web sized picture that might be say 600x900 for sending to friends/family.

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Also looking for suggestions on how to store the original photos. Some are old (early 1900’s) large and bulky.
I would take them out of frames/albums and store them in archival boxes/envelopes.
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:14 PM   #36
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I would suspect that for a long time converters will exist after software no longer handles the native formats of jpeg and the like. (snip)
So for Jpeg I would guess 10-15 years as a minimum life.
But isn't there some loss or alteration of data with every format conversion--or at least potential for loss? After it has been through three or four successive file format conversions, is it still really the same photo you started off with? And ten or fifteen years per file format will pass the photos intact through forty to sixty years, which is perhaps not even the entire lifespan of grandchildren who are young now. My mother has actual original photographs of her parents as children, all four of her grandparents, and of other relatives, many over 100 years old. What, if anything, will be left of digitized photos 100 years from now?
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:42 PM   #37
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I would worry much more about the media to store the digital images than the formats themselves.

Many formats are lossy, but further conversions to a new format can be made in a lossless mode, I would hope, in order to not cause additional degradation.

On the other hand, I have had many CDRs and writable DVDs going bad on me. Just can't trust them! So, I have been keeping electronic copies on two different hard drives, but will have to keep them in separate locations. I thought about cloud storage, but because I have many GBs, I wonder if the cost is exorbitant.
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Old 10-11-2012, 11:33 PM   #38
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But isn't there some loss or alteration of data with every format conversion--or at least potential for loss? After it has been through three or four successive file format conversions, is it still really the same photo you started off with? And ten or fifteen years per file format will pass the photos intact through forty to sixty years, which is perhaps not even the entire lifespan of grandchildren who are young now. My mother has actual original photographs of her parents as children, all four of her grandparents, and of other relatives, many over 100 years old. What, if anything, will be left of digitized photos 100 years from now?
Let me put a question, what would be left of paper photos after a couple of generations of sorting as things are handed down? Once folks no longer know who the pictures are of then they might well be put in the trash.
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:05 AM   #39
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I have scanned some old family photos, and some of my own, such as from vacations, etc. Nice to have them, and may pass some down, but, quite frankly, no one, including me, really looks at them...
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:19 AM   #40
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...quite frankly, no one, including me, really looks at them...
Yes, ain't that sad!

Still, I do like to look at my old travel photos to jog my memories of where we have been. Scenic photos are usually only precious to myself, because nowadays, one quick look on the Web fetches hundreds of similar photos taken by better photographers.

But old photos of people when they were young would be something of interest to the younger generation. Those are the ones I most like to preserve. Some captions would help generate some interests, like the OP sought to accomplish, but I would not want to put captions on the archived files themselves. The complementary narration could accompany the images in a slide show, but the slide show may be too long for the casual viewer.

Is there a way or a software that can automatically display a linked caption when a viewer clicks on an image to view?
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