The fun and exciting world of offsite data backups

Scanning all these magazines means I also have to back them up. If the whole point is to preserve them, it’s kinda dumb just to palm the files off to the Internet Archive, delete my copies and hope for the best.

Whilst the Internet Archive is great and all, there’s a non-zero chance that one day they’ll have funding cut or donations dry up and they’ll need to rationalise their storage. That could mean nothing but PDFs stick around, certain types of content disappear or some other situation where the high quality, large file size originals are lost.

What am I gonna do with this data???

I thought I’d take a good look at my off-site backup options based around storing 5TB for 10 years. I don’t know exactly how much data I’ll be hoarding over that time-span, but 5TB for a decade feels like a good starting point for comparison purposes.

Completed Scans

Australian Macworld 2004-2010

Everyone goes through stages in their life where they identify with a certain community or culture. For some people it’s a genre of music, cars, a sport or similar. For me it’s Apple between 2003 and 2013, which is why I’m grateful to @georgeharito for donating his personal collection of Australian Macworld magazines from 2004 to 2010 for me to scan.


My scanning & upload workflow

The short version of this post is simply:

  • Cut the spine off the magazine
  • Scan it in at 600DPI as an uncompressed TIFF
  • Convert those TIFFs into a bunch of JPGs inside a PDF
  • Put all the TIFFs into a ZIP file
  • Upload the PDF and ZIP file to the Internet Archive
  • Backup the original scans

But that’s no use to you if you’ve never scanned in a magazine or book before and want to get started, is it? Let me break down each step and explain the methods that have worked for me.

Completed Scans

Electronics Australia 1962-1973

The first batch of magazines I completed scanning is an almost complete set of Electronics Australia (also called Radio, Television and Hobbies prior to March 1965) spanning over a decade from 1962 to 1973.

A copy of Electronics Australia in the process of being digitised.