It's getting far cheaper as basic supply economics kicks in. Kodak became Kodak by driving down the arcane structure and costs of film developing, and the exact same is occurring in digital with massive storage technologies and redundancies.
Originally Posted by lxdude
I find repeated copying to be very easy now that storage costs are plummeting (sans Thailand's floods...a temporary blip). Optical media is out. It's all about cheap magnetic hard drives and cloud services.
Digital copying gives the most bang for the buck by far, but with the caveat about readable file formats. Sticking to the photo theme, JPEG and PDF are ISO standards with long-term projections of functionality of 100+ years.
But only a fool sticks with one archival system for visual media. We do know that paper if stored properly is very durable. I advise all friends and family to print their works (acid free paper in photobooks is excellent; with a PDF of the layout) as well as digitally backing up locally and offsite. But the cost of printing can be very expensive, so it's best left to some edited amount of data. It can never be a complete record.
Data protection is all about redundancy. Digital is easier at redundant but more difficult for long term compatibility. Analog has options for long term archiving, but requires substantial editing to be cost-effective and has single site storage vulnerabilities.
Interesting from the article I linked to that Kodak and others were working with archival stakeholders on solving these problems as best and economically possible. It's another shame in the management of Kodak that some of this initiative was not made a core part of their business profile. It would never be a huge revenue generator, but Kodak had some brain power applied to it, and it seems all that business data went elsewhere.