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Backing up just metadata
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Author Topic: Backing up just metadata  (Read 4343 times)
jayp
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« on: August 30, 2009, 05:09:58 PM »

This post isn't quite as stupid as the title makes it sound...

I've had nothing but harddrive backups for a good while now, but I've had my data on four disks (a primary, a local backup run nightly, and two offsite backup drives) and I felt fairly good that all four drives wouldn't fail me at once. My collection has grown to the point that I needed to purchase some larger drives and as I thought it through, I decided it would be more cost effective to have a primary archive external drive at home, an offsite archive backup drive that I bring home only when adding more files to the archive, and then burn DVDs kept in a different town as a greater level of protection.

I'm having some heartburn about metadata. I occasionally go through old pictures, add keywords, change ratings, etc. I then immediately annotate the changes back to the original files. (I never trust that an xMedia catalog might not go belly up and therefore need to be recreated from the pictures themselves.) The problem with DVDs of course is that once they're burned, that's it. (That's also quite an advantage in different circumstances, I'm well aware.)

Instead of having to burn an entire bucket to DVD when the metadata changes on files, I was wondering if exporting the metadata and just back that up would work. That way, in the event of a disaster, after recovering the pictures from DVD, I could take the most recent backups of the metadata and have all my work. Because metadata is so small, backing it up would be easy.

The one issue that concerns me is just how to restore metadata to files. I know that something like ExifTool can do just such a thing, but it makes me a little nervous to rely on something that might not be around into the future.

How do others handle this? Burn whole buckets again every time the metadata changes? Never change an image once it's archived? Accept that in the unlikely event of a catastrophic failure, metadata changes get lost?

Thanks.
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Jay Packer
peterkrogh
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2009, 05:20:23 PM »

Jay,
Just catalog the files and backup the catalog.
Peter
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jayp
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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2009, 05:54:03 PM »

Doesn't this imply that the catalog won't get corrupted or become unreadable? While I don't expect my DVDs to last forever (or even 50 years), I worry about problems where a catalog becomes corrupted and you only learn of problems when you try annotating back to the files. Also, it wouldn't take much change to have a cataloging program fall out of use and no longer run on current operating systems. You might have a catalog but no program to read it. I know this is probably a long shot, but always having your metadata stored in the files themselves seems like an extra layer of data protection.

I suppose you're advise is good, since I can still annotate the files on my external drives and only rely on the catalog + DVD copies in the event of a complete loss (fire, theft, etc).

Thanks as always! No more questions for me today  Grin
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Jay Packer
peterkrogh
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« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2009, 05:37:50 PM »

Jay,
Make a DVD periodically holding the catalogs (that's what I do).
If you want to be really safe, make sure the burned catalog will open.
And when you move to a different catalog program, do the same thing with the new program.
Don't over-think it.
Peter
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Chris Bishop
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2009, 02:50:26 AM »

Don't over-think it.
Love that expression
Chris
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