Old floppy disks and hard drives going back to the 90's

The First Digital Preservation Day

Computers and disks going back to 1995.  CD's Floppy Disks, Hard Drives and Jaz & Zip disks along with an Apricot Computer found in the store rooms of THe Digital Asset Lab

Digital preservation community celebrates the inaugural International Digital Preservation Day on the 30th November 2017.

Being digital pioneers, prior to the formation of The Digital Asset Lab our staff were working with digital photography in 1995.

When we heard about International Digital Preservation Day, Organized by the Digital Preservation Coalition, for anyone interested in securing our digital legacy, we at the Digital Asset Lab, started looking in our own back yard.  Cupboards and storerooms were crammed with old hard drives, stacks of CD’s, videos, floppy disks, backup tapes and a few computers.

The International Digital Preservation Day logo for 2017 on The blog on The Digital Asset Lab website

Of course, this discovery had us wondering how we stand with the impending EU GDPR regulations, knowing that nearly every one of these storage devices held photographs.  The cost of finding out, to meet the Information Commissioner’s Office’s new demands may be prohibitive.  Simpler to crush them? That has to be wrong.

You can read more about the work of The Digital Preservation Coalition here https://www.dpconline.org

Stacks of old dusty CD's found in on shelves in the storerooms of The Digital Asset Lab.

We were told CD’s will last a hundred years. What Rubbish !

However the CD’s and DVD’s is a different story. Some could not be read and others were struggling only reading part of the discs.  Let’s see if reviving an old computer makes a difference.  We did dual disk backups so hopefully between the two disks we can obtain all the files.  I fear though the first CD disks used, before we were advised to use gold disks, may have rotted.

Would we ever be able to access some of the early SCSI hard drives that we had with the old Intergraph computers but then we’ve got the tons of Iomega Jaz & Zip drive disks and the drives were both SCSI & Parallel port connections? We’ll just have to see.

Our message to our client’s is, before you can preserve, you must first find and discover. Now is the time to start gathering.

The one good thing in our favour is that as we recover the files at least we can use MediaFiler, our own Digital Asset Management software to assist us in the cataloguing, sorting and culling of duplicate material before we copy everything to our NAS drives. Soon tons of boxes will become a few hard drives.