From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
Hi Robert and Charles, Richard, and Tom (those who have answered with wise
words until now),
I think that Robert has unwittingly said the words that are the cause of this
> We were recently told by IT here that we may lose our space on the
> server and our hard drives are also getting full soon. So here are my
questions: [all of which relate to the backup media, which the respondents
This essentially is where all this digitizing drive takes us. Archives have
to make their content available by remote access (intranet or internet), so
you put things on a server; this is today the only way that an archive can
demonstrate its value. Funding bodies know that by digitizing, the content is
preserved - everybody says so. So often, one-off funding is given to putting
a definite collection on a server. However, they do not see to it that
digital repository content is created at the same time, to be the background
store that the server material is picked from. As you increase digitization
you cannot automatically make all the material available all the time - this
would need enormous and growing servers. This is why you will lose your
space. You are growing too fast.
There are two ways out: either you must present a small selection and
possibly thumbnails of the content (meaning small files) as well as a search
facility on your present server. This will keep the requirement for size
small. If something is needed in better than thumbnail quality, this will
require handling time so that the content can be uploaded locally from the
repository to some remotely accessible server - not necessarily the same as
your present server. The client will be told that in two working days a
particular website will have the requested material available in a window of,
say, a week.
Or else you must continuously expand your server.
The administrators think that digitization is the solution to everything - it
is not, and there are huge administrative costs. The only way to avoid these
is to invest in larger servers - once on it, forever accessible. But then the
administrative costs are merely replaced by server costs - hardware and
backup. Pick your account, there is no free meal!
There was a lot to be said for rarely used content to be physically present
on durable carriers in stacks, to be handpicked and prepared for use by means
of equally durable machines. But then you had storage costs as well as
maintenance costs. There is no way to win.