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Preserving Data Integrity with Media Archiving

Information is the lifeblood of any company or educational institution. The amount of it accumulated over time can be considerable, but when the media used to store it becomes less reliable in the process, the results can be devastating. An entire history of information collection is vulnerable.

Media archiving is the ideal solution to avoid the risk of losing this critical data. The process, in a nutshell, involves migrating information from older analog formats, such as film and videotape, to digital formats such as DVD, or Flash, Windows Media, Quicktime, Realplayer or podcasts for use on the web. Further, it involves the creation of management functionality so that the data is both secure and more easily controlled.

Why Consider Media Archiving

1. Data security - Film and videotapes have a limited lifespan. Over time they degrade which can result in the loss of critical data. Migrating your data to a more reliable digital format safeguards your information for future use. Additionally, digital formats such as DVD or a hard drive provide greater storage capacity. It takes a smaller quantity of digital media to accommodate data currently stored on less reliable analog format.

2. Simplified media storage - Commonly used media, such as DVDs or hard drives, are more compact media than film or videotapes. With less bulk to consider, your storage needs require considerably less space. If your media is stored off-site, this can also translate into decreased storage costs.

3. Simplified access - Media archiving entails more than converting from an analog to digital format. The process also includes the creation of an archive database. The database in turn, provides tracking information that greatly simplifies locating the desired storage device and identifying the information in contains. Both time and money are saved when the information you need can be obtained so easily.

4. Better media management - One of the biggest frustrations stemming from an inventory of old media is the difficulty involved in knowing just what is available. The database generated during the media archiving process makes resource management possible. Critical reporting can be generated from the archive database. Whether you need a summary on the volume of media on hand that covers a specific topic or a simple listing of available records from a specific time, the database system provides resource control critical for managing your media assets.

5. Online access - Migrating data stored on videotapes and film to digital format provides greater opportunities to distribute your information to a wider audience. Whether converted as Flash, Windows Media, Quicktime, Realplayer or podcast files, a digital format enables you to share the information online. Access becomes virtually instant and incredibly convenient.

6. Storage options - Larger archiving projects may be better served by the robust storage capacity and sturdy construction of hard drives as opposed to discs. Drives currently on the market offer up to a terabyte of storage space. This translates to roughly 415 hours of video. The most basic solution would be a single external drive with a USB connection. More robust storage solutions include the use of NAS or Network Attached Storage. NAS provides simultaneous access to multiple drives that appear as a single resource to end users. In addition to tremendous storage capacity and convenient access, NAS configurations are manageable regardless of on hand resources. NAS can accommodate both EIDE (parallel connection) or SATA (serial connection) hard drives.

R. Harvey Bravman

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