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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 
problem:

> 
> 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 
have answered].

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.

Kind regards,


George