The best way to archive photo's for work

I am trying to figure out the best way to archive all my photo’s at work. Maybe there is a good online photo archive? It would have to be accessible to multiple people, but not public for everyone like Flickr. It would also be nice to be able to have information attached to the photo for example, the date, project number…

Could you set up an ftp server? I’ve been looking at the Drobo and Drobo Share as a way to back up my information and be able to access it online.

I use naming conventions and folder structures for my photos and projects.

Project Number: YYPPP
YY = two digit number the year the project started.
PPP = sequential number of the project proposals. If a project doesn’t come to be, I will not reuse that number.

Folder Names:
Project Number _ Description

File Names:
Project Number _ Date _ Description _ Sequential Number
example:
YYPPP_YYYYMMDD_Description_###

If your photo archive is anything like ours (lots of uncompressed full res images) then online isn’t really an option. You don’t want to archive good images to a smaller/lossier format like JPGS.

External hard drives are cheap and massive. It is easy to set up a drive as a network share, or get a dedicated network drive. Everyone can access it, and as a backup option you can have one machine which will take that archive and mirror it every month or however often you feel you need to. This way if it fails, or if you have someone accidentally delete everything, you still have a redundant backup.

If you have an extra machine thats always on the network (We’ve re-purposed old workstations for this) then it’s easy to connect the drives to those machines.

Just need to get people to conform to a standard. If things are a mess, it’s a good few days of intern work to have someone come in, clean up the archives and put everything into a sensable format. Also good if you have a lot of old files that are archived on CD/DVD or need converting to a new format (remember Kodak Photo CD’s? Good luck dealing with those these days).

I actually use FTP now to send large files to factories in China, but it doesn’t seem to be a good way to quickly browse through a lot of photos without downloading them off the FTP. It does need to be accessible to people in different parts of the country so backing up on CD’s or an hard drive is not a great option. As for high quality images that is really not an issue, we try to compress photo’s anyway. Does anyone ever use Google’s Picasa?

Can you quickly browse through photo’s when you’re accessing this online?

Let me preface this by saying I’m not an expert at all in this area.

But I would think a lot of things go into the speed on which you can browse images off an ftp.

  • Whether or not the FTP server is on your local network or if it’s strictly online.
  • Speed of your internet connection
  • Speed of the server
  • Speed of your computer