Yesterday I bought myself another portable hard drive out of paranoia about preserving my art images.
While I have my originals safely stored in cello sleeves in my closet,
much of my real work is in the form of digital images - various versions and adaptations of the original artwork. For example, I may have an original watercolor painting in the closet, from which I've made a greeting card, print, poster, or other work. All those adaptations are separate digital files, along with various versions or iterations of each one, such as ones with or without watermarks or in different sizes or file formats. I may end up with two dozen digital files for one painting, each of which represents my time and effort. I find it scary that these files can be so easily corrupted or destroyed - hense my paranoia.
I am currently exploring ways to put my files in "the cloud," in an online file storage facilitie such as Carbonite.com. Remember Han Solo preserved in carbonite?
In the mean time, and for purposes of everyday work, I have files stored on disks and hard drives. I began years ago by putting each of my designs on a separate CD. Unfortunately, this is tedious and I often don't keep up with this method. I guess I'm still old school, meaning it feels good to have an object which I can hold in my hand.
I also have a large backup drive, which backs up everything on my computer. It does this automatically so I suppose if my computer crashed, a smart young techie the age of one of my kids could retrieve things that way.
What I use every day is a portable external drive on which all of my art images are stored. This makes it easy for me to access all my art in one place. I take it with me when I travel or work downstairs in my "night studio." Note the address sticker on it and a "reward if found" note. I have indeed had things I've lost returned to me because of these stickers. Not everyone is evil.
But I've become wary of so much being stored in one place - besides this drive is pretty old and has begun making weird noises when it is activated so yesterday I bought a new one. Similar price as what I paid for the old one with nearly ten times the capacity.
My geeky friends remind me of the golden rule: Redundancy. Have several ways your digital files are stored so if one fails, there will always be another way to retrieve it. (Unless, of course, a terrorist hits my house with an EMP and everything is wiped out. But that's science fiction, right?)