Thursday, March 10, 2011

Obsolete File Formats

With regard to my earlier post regarding the archiving of RAW files or TIFFs, I now have a very good case study of what happens when you use a proprietary file format.

The Virtual Herbarium at one point used a proprietary file format (that shall remain anonymous) to display high resolution images online. The images are excellent, but there are downsides: the files are expensive, they cost money to generate and they are large, eating server and tape backup resources; the anonymous files require a plugin to view them online; and being proprietary, it makes them harder to share with others.

Our new online image viewer, FSI by NeptuneLabs, accesses our Jpeg derivative files. It's a Adobe Flash based viewer, and what computer these days doesn't come with Flash (except iPads and iPhones, but who uses those anyway)?

So, we have over 200,000 files eating 291 GB on our image server that aren't being used. They are now backed up and will be stored offline (probably next to my 8-track tape collection).

We still have all the images archived as RAW files (and TIFFs) and can therefore migrate the images to new file formats if need be. And isn't this the purpose of an archive?

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