Archiving Pictures in Lightroom

I wish there was a good solution for archiving old pictures in Lightroom, but I have not found one. I don’t need all my pictures immediately available for editing so I am happy to write old ones to a CD or DVD and free the disk storage.

But I want the information stored in my Lightroom catalog available. That way I can find all my pictures of a particular subject wherever they are located. I’d like Lightroom to keep track of which DVD I wrote the picture to and ask me to load it if I want to retrieve or edit the original file.

My old image database, ThumbsPlus, did this in a simple way. It could keep track of offline disks and CD-ROMs with the thumbnails and other metadata still in the database.


ThumbsPlus Archive

ThumbsPlus Archive


My problem was that I had so many pictures and archive CDs that I overloaded the ThumbsPlus (Microsoft Access) database. So I had to move the archives to a separate ThumbsPlus database. That was not optimal but at least I had a way of searching hundreds of archive CDs quickly.

There’s a post in the NY Times “Gadgetwise” blog here that addresses the same issue in a simple way. Read the first comment – a typical sarcastic Brit!

The problem for a vendor like Adobe is that there are so many ways to do archiving. After all it’s been an issue in data processing for ever. But now regular users have terabytes of information it’s a real challenge to make something that is simple but powerful for photographers – not DP professionals.

One solution that I like is to open up Lightroom more so that third parties can write archiving plugins. Then users could choose without Adobe having to support them.

Note how archive is different from backup. With backup you are making a copy of your files elsewhere but the originals remain in place. Archive moves the files but enables them to be located easily. It’s a different issue as my online backup tool Mozy Home observes.

Do you have any suggestions?


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