« on: November 14, 2012, 11:19:38 AM »
What do you mean by "Long Term" Do you mean hands off as compared to periodic maintenance and renewal?
5yr?, 10yr?, 50 Yr?, forever?
There really are no 50 or 100 year hands off storage solution, too many issues can and will happen over that time, and you will likely have to move image files to different media every 10 years or so.
Solid State Memory - forget it
Hard Drives - better, but no
Online storage - no
Prints - possibly
Certainly, storing them online is a poor answer, companies go out of business, their systems fail, you forget to pay your bill, not a 50 + year solution at all. In about 2000, my hard drive crashed and everythinng was lost. I had a one year old backup on CD of my images, and recent backups on floppy disks.
The CD's had deteriorated in only one year and were unrecoverable, but I did recover most from the floppy drives. I then started making copies to hard drives as well as CD's and DVD's. I also switched to a raid system. Since then, I've never had a crash that lost data, but its a matter of when, not if.
I have a box full of 100 year old B&W prints and another box of negatives going back to 1940 of my ancestors. The color prints starting in the 1950's are faded away, and I have some color negatives from the 1940's that have faded as well. Some of the prints have been copied and sent to me by relatives, so the process of distributing images to relatives who might want to keep them seemed to work. I have scanned them and backed up the scans as well.
Current printing technology has been said to produce 100+ year life prints, so that might be the best backup method, prints and a fireproof box. Send copies to relatives as well. Many may still be arounnd in 100 years when the files have long been lost.