Once again a disaster has illustrated the need for members of historical societies to regularly back up their data, including any images that they have scanned. The recent bushfires in Victoria have resulted in the loss of a number of collections including the collection and building of the Marysville Historical Society. Realistically, as virtually the whole town of Marysville was destroyed, it is unlikely that the collection could have been saved, however fortunately events such as the destruction of Marysville are very rare.
Digital image collections can be backed up on to CD-Roms or DVDs. USB drives are also useful for backing up files. Portable hard drives are another useful medium for backing up files.
It is important to remember that all of these devices, like floppy disks which preceded them, may fail so do not rely on one source for backing up files.
More than one back up should be made.
At least one back up should be stored off site.
In the future it will also be easier to store images online - a number of sites are already providing this service for a fee and no doubt there will be further developments in this area.
Including records in online image databases such as Picture Victoria, as well as making the images available to the public and promoting your collection, also serves as a way of backing up low resolution copies of digital images.