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03-03-2010, 10:17 AM   #1
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Photo inventory management?

I am finally deciding to do something wiser about my photo storage/management.

right now, i have a ton of copies of images spread over a collection of 5 or more hard drives. nothing wrong with redundant drives, but.....

In terms of software, I have Lightroom 2, iPhoto and Picasa 3 on a Mac. I have not done too much in recent months, between work and a lack of a ton of photos--most end up in iPhoto tho.

What I want to do:

1-Purchase a new, clean drive, likely a 1TB or 2TB drive, solely for the main photo drive.

2-connect that and then individually connect my other drives, scan them for photos and import them to the new drive.

At the end, I want to have a main drive with all my photos on it, and then format one of my existing drives and use that as a redundant backup. I am hoping there is a software out there, or that I already have, that can drive-by-drive, detect the photos (not just the thumbnails) and import them, and is smart enough to detect that a file is a duplicate and not bring it over. I probably have 3+TB in drives tied up with images, and in terms of unique images I am willing to bet the amount is closer to 500gb and thats probably still high.

looking for hints and tips

thanks

03-03-2010, 10:36 AM   #2
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Lightroom can detect duplicates when importing images and ask what to do with them. LR also allows you to either leave the images where they are or to move them to the LR library. I have never done the latter, as I already have my images consolidated on a single "Masterdrive" (a RAID 6 NAS), though I am not sure about the details of moving the original files. But you could simply consult the LR online manual for that purpose.

Ben
03-03-2010, 12:00 PM   #3
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In Lightroom, start a new catalog and import one drive after the other. Tell Lightroom to not import suspected duplicates. Make sure that you tell the program to copy the files to a new location, and make that location the new hard drive.

Make note of what it doesn't import (I think it will tell you) so that you can manually check for duplicates.
If you are willing to take the time, add keywords to the files as you import them so that you can find files easier.
03-03-2010, 01:16 PM   #4
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You've got the softare and hardware under control, it seems - what you need primarily is a strategy. To that end, I'll make my standard recommendation for "The DAM Book" by Peter Krogh.

I assume part of the reason you anticipate trouble identifying duplicates is that you don't have a sufficiently well-designed storage scheme, so you are ending up with duplicates in random different folders. First step will be to stop doing that - design a storage & naming scheme that guarantees one unique location for the original of each file, and that makes derivatives reasonably easy to associate back to their originals. That's Krogh can help with.

Then the trick is taking what you have now and moving it into the new scheme. Luckily, this isn't as hard as you might think if your new storage/namign scheme follows the advice of Krogh and is based on date primarily. Simply use your software to line up all your existing photos in order of EXIF time/date. Duplicates will be adjancent in the list. Depending on exactly how you've been doing things, it could simialrly be pretty simple to identify the original from each of those (like maybe they are all under one root folder, or they have the earlier file-modified times if you are in the habit of not overwriting them, etc).

03-03-2010, 06:56 PM   #5
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Check out a Drobo for data backup. You might be able to use some of your existing drives for backup once the data is moved off of them. I used a ReadyNAS system to back up my files and keep a catalog in Expression Media.
03-04-2010, 03:41 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by tybeck Quote
Check out a Drobo for data backup. You might be able to use some of your existing drives for backup once the data is moved off of them. I used a ReadyNAS system to back up my files and keep a catalog in Expression Media.
Drives are so cheap these, I would discard the old ones. The Drobo looks nice on paper and in advertising, but I have tested it. I would even prefer a simple Terastation over itů

Ben
03-04-2010, 06:34 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
Drives are so cheap these, I would discard the old ones. The Drobo looks nice on paper and in advertising, but I have tested it. I would even prefer a simple Terastation over itů

Ben
I've been using a Drobo for about a year and a half now. Other than the USB connection being somewhat slow (I think they have a faster version now), it works precisely as advertised.
What didn't you like about it?
03-04-2010, 11:58 AM   #8
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Original Poster
thanks for the responses

ive never used the drobo, but as an IT geek I can tell you what i don't like about it (could be a minor thing) but i am not a fan of the proprietary RAID that it uses. I'd sooner use a standard RAID config, even if it means I need to spend a bit more on the drives because it isnt compressing as much data like the DROBO is. then again, my intention is to end up with a live drive and 2 exact mirrors of it, with one drive local and the 2nd mirror off site, making notes to update the mirrors as needed.

thanks a bunch

03-04-2010, 02:40 PM   #9
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If you have a Mac I’d look into Aperture as it makes the whole library management and backup a breeze. I love the folders & smart folders capability. It also handles multiple external drive backups, can automatically backup photos on import, and can also handle video coming off your DSLR.
03-05-2010, 03:24 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I've been using a Drobo for about a year and a half now. Other than the USB connection being somewhat slow (I think they have a faster version now), it works precisely as advertised.
What didn't you like about it?
First, it is too slow. With my NAS I get more than 100 MByte/s throughput, which is even faster than the internal drive of my Macbook.

Secondly, I felt very nervous with the Drobo, because it offers NO security whenever it reorganizes. That means, when you add a new drive or replace a faulty one, the Drobo, as every other RAID systm needs to reaorganize the data. Good RAID systems can do that while maintaining RAID security. This important, because during this reorganization the drives are working much more, than during normal use. The Drobo has no security during this important phase. If then a single drive fails, all the data are gone.

Ben
03-05-2010, 06:26 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
First, it is too slow. With my NAS I get more than 100 MByte/s throughput, which is even faster than the internal drive of my Macbook.

Secondly, I felt very nervous with the Drobo, because it offers NO security whenever it reorganizes. That means, when you add a new drive or replace a faulty one, the Drobo, as every other RAID systm needs to reaorganize the data. Good RAID systems can do that while maintaining RAID security. This important, because during this reorganization the drives are working much more, than during normal use. The Drobo has no security during this important phase. If then a single drive fails, all the data are gone.

Ben
Thanks for that. I didn't realize that one drive going out could bomb the system. Perhaps I'll turn one of my old boxes into a RAID.
03-05-2010, 08:21 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Thanks for that. I didn't realize that one drive going out could bomb the system. Perhaps I'll turn one of my old boxes into a RAID.
That's the good thing about the faling prices: We all have a large collection of redundant drives lying around

I have assembled my own simple mirrored RAIDs as backup-drives for my main-NAS, too.

Ben
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