Currently, I have over 10 TB of data floating in my life – a warehouse by comparison to the filing cabinets and tape shelves of my grandfathers. Every byte is kept for a reason: it has value. In the studio, on the drawing board, in the field, and at the gig, data is paying my bills. I’ve learned some hard lessons and have adopted practices to keep data sorted, searchable, active, and safe in an effort to ensure those bills get paid.
Working efficiently is profitable. Access to data is sped up significantly if it is easy to locate and launch. When naming files, folders, and filling in metadata, relevant information, details, and consistency in structure will help in the long run. When starting a project, think broad, then define specifics. Let the data sort and index itself with consistent practices. When starting a project, ask: “When do we do this? Who am I working with? How big is the project? What are we doing? What section is that? What version is this?” and answer in your own style:
Working safely ensures you have something to deliver. Single copies, clouds, and spinning things scare me. Mechanical failures, break-ins, fires, disagreements, and hackings turn receivables into debts. You cannot insure the data, but copies can prevent its loss. My projects have five active synchronized copies on five physical drives.** One:** working copy, local hard drive.** Two:** working backup, onsite local secondary drive (or synchronization with a firewalled LAN server).** Three:** off-site day-end backup, taken home daily.** Four:** safety deposit box (at my local bank) off-site backup, rotated bi-weekly with the third.** Five:** monthly archive for long-term storage. A system like this ensures redundancy and security. Having my archives constantly spinning has kept the data alive.
Keep your data active; move it or loose it. Tape, optical discs, and hard drives
Everyone’s data system is unique, personal and ever changing. Be consistent, maintain redundancies, and stay current with your hardware to ensure those bills get paid. Take the time to configure your software for reliable backups and archives. The end product is always a piece of art; the system creating it can be one too.
Anthony P. Kuzub has recorded over 400 songs including 15 albums through his three recording studios. He has managed a pro audio sales department, has been the technical director of a theatre, an Avid editor for a national broadcaster, and is a brother of I.A.T.S.E. local 300. He founded the Ward-Beck Systems Preservation Society (WBSps.ca), a website dedicated to maintaining and supporting users of the classic Canadian mixing consoles. Currently, Anthony is a staff technician at Toronto’s Revolution Recording, an A2 at Much Music, and is studying mathematics. (APKaudio.com)