Re: Digital storage
- From: floyd@xxxxxxxxxx (Floyd L. Davidson)
- Date: Mon, 06 Aug 2007 05:22:57 -0800
"Steve" <steve@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
"Stan Beck" <stan101@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
Storage format will always be an issue. We started with the 8",
single-sided floppy disk. Look where we are today. The trick is to
decide which new format will be around the longest. Consider video - it
started with a contest between Beta and VHS. It's hard to find Beta
equipment these days.
Storage format yes, the 1's and 0's on a 5¼" floppy could be transferred to
a 3½" and then to a zip drive and later to a DVD and then DVX as the
You can reasonably expect that whatever you are using
today will not be found easily in 50 years. Hence you
can not expect a DVD left in a time capsule for 50 years
to be something easily used by whoever finds it.
But of course if you do actively maintain an archive,
and re-write the data to new media on a fairly regular
basis, then yes it will be available for use in 50
But what of the image format itself? E.g. today it's
jpeg/RAW (NEF in my case), but finding a reader for the jpeg/RAW files of
today might be problematic in 20 years time.
That is not a likely scenario, even in 50 or 100 years.
The JPEG format has been standardized, the exact
requirements for the software are well known and stored
in so many separate places it is virtually impossible to
lose it in that short a time period.
The NEF format is only slightly different. It is
proprietary, but is not secret, and while it isn't
stored in nearly as many places as the JPEG standards,
there is virtually no possibility that it will be lost
either. If for no other reason that is true because of
Dave Coffin's work with DCRAW. It is written an ANSI
Standard C, making it entirely platform independent, and
it contains the information to decode NEF... as well as
virtually every other raw data format currently being
The essence is that the means to produce the software
required is going to be impossible to lose. It isn't
like what we had a few years back, when one company
might well own the entire archive for any given software
project, and could literally toss it all into a dumpster
out of ignorance. The Internet has diversified data
storage. (At least as far as major data collections are
concerned; we could still lose some seemingly
insignificant bit of code simply because everyone who
has it thinks somebody else is keeping it, so they all
do toss it.)
Is conversion really lossless
if I convert the jpegs to jp2 and in the future then convert the jp2's to
jpx to keep up with the image format of the day?
That won't make a difference, because someone will
probably be able to use a JPEG data file 500 years from
now, never mind only 50 years away.
Maybe I'll get run over by
a bus tomorrow and it won't matter, but I like to think that in 30 years
time I'll be able to look at photos that I take today as easily as I look at
photo's today that I took 30 years ago.
It should be *far* easier. Lots of 30 year old paper
prints simply don't make it. And each is unique too,
and cannot be exactly duplicated for storage in more
than one place. With digital, the archive can be burned
to the ground without losing a bit, because it can all
be *exactly* duplicated at a dozen other archive sites.
Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska) floyd@xxxxxxxxxx
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