X-Message-Number: 2658
Date: 21 Mar 94 04:56:41 EST
From: "Steven B. Harris" <>

Dear Cryonet:

    Relative to archiving, I will repost some information here
that I've posted before.  I notice that there have been a few
comments about film which have not made much distinction between
film and prints.   Film is the stuff that goes in your camera,
and which you get back in strips from the photo store (unless you
have an "instant print" camera like the various Poloroid 
instamatics; but no instant print film is any good for archiving,
so forget it).  For film which requires developing by a 
processor, you get a choice between slide and print film.  With
slide film the film itself is developed as a positive, and that's
what you get, cut up, in those little cardboard holders to be 
projected as "slides."  With print film, the film is developed as
a color negative, and prints are developed by projecting light
through the negatives onto color paper.  

    The most common 35 mm films are print films, and generally
any film which ends with the suffix "--color" is a print film. 
The Fujicolor, Kodacolor (Gold), and Ektar series are all print
films.  All are developed by a standard E-6 type one-step
process, and are the kind of thing you can get done in a 1 hour
photostore.  They are generally printed on standard paper, and
are what most people use for photos.  For archival purposes, they
are not too bad.  Standard prints lose color in a decade or so
(faster if stored in stickup store-bought "zip" photo albums
against gummed acid paper, or out on display where UV can damage
them; less if stored in all plastic pocket archival folders), but
the print is not usually what is archived anyway.  Prints are for
display and are usually assumed to have a limited life.  They are
bulky, and archival quality prints with stable colors that need
long life are quite expensive and have easily damaged surfaces
(archival color prints are available as CibaChrome or FujiChrome
processes).  E-6 negatives, however, hold up better than prints,
and should be good for at least 30 years without too much color

   You can also buy slide films, which give you a direct 
positive film, but which can also be printed to make positive
paper prints with a photo-reverse process.  Films which end with
"-chrome" are slide films: Fujichrome, Ektachrome, Kodachrome,
etc.  All but Kodachrome are developed with the quick and
standard E-6 process (slides in an hour), and have about the same
archival quality of other E-6 print films.  A much more stable
slide film, and odds-on the best archival film of all, is 
Kodachrome, which is the original color film introduced by Kodak
in 1937.  Kodachrome is developed in a rather complicated 3 step
process, and must be sent to a professional lab (waiting time:
several days) for development.  The reward is slide film which is
exceptionally stable: many Kodachromes which have not been
mistreated looked pretty much unchanged after 50 years.  It takes
a bit more space to store slide film than print negative film,
but Kodachrome may make the difference worth it for shots that
you know you are going to keep (if you like you can also have
Kodachrome processed and supplied in strips, like negatives,
unmounted).   There is no reason other than Kodachrome why you
would ever want to shoot slide film for archival purposes, since
you never want to damage primary archival film material by
projecting light through it.   This holds for Kodachrome itself
as well, of course: you'll want to have prints made from it or
slide copies if you want to view material which you've archived.

    How long can you keep film?   What about a century or more? 
If sealed at optimal 35% humidity in a plastic/aluminized Kodak
storage envelope and kept in a refrigerator at 5 degrees 
Centigrade, developed films (negatives or slides) do very well. 
Since you get a factor of 4 in deterioration for every 20 C drop
in storage temperature, simply refrigerating stored negatives at
ordinary refrigerator temperatures should keep them safe well
beyond a century.  Your refrigerator also doubles as a good fire
safe in this regard, provided you have some way to latch the door
(all modern refrigerators have only a burnable rubber magnetic
seal for safety reasons, so you'll have to add a chain if you
want a dedicated refrigerator that acts as a fire-safe by not
coming open significantly in a fire).  Remember, standard plastic
fire-safe boxes for papers will NOT protect negatives-- 
photographic materials require much more expensive fire safes
that cost as much as a refrigerator does anyway, but which do not
refrigerate!  My advice is to take advantage of the engineering
done for you in the modern refrigerator, and store negatives in
hermetic envelopes within a standard plastic document fire-safe
box, inside a dedicated door-secured refrigerator.  It really is
not necessary to store any color film with a three-color 
separation technique, so long as you are willing to refrigerate
even mildly.

   Forget about liquid nitrogen-- you can store everything non-
biological for as long as you want in a standard refrigerator or
freezer.  With dedicated freezer facilities at -20 C you should
certainly be able to store all properly protected archival
materials for several centuries (so long as somebody is willing
to tend your freezer).  Paper records can be photocopied onto
acid free paper (and should be), and stored indefinitely in a
salt mine.  This is expensive, but it has the virtue of near 
indestructibility, off-site backup, and little need for tending. 
You can also get "indefinite" storage options.  Possibly the
single best storage medium today for print is microfilm, which
turns out film which can be archivally stored with exactly the
same techniques as color slides or negatives, and for even longer
times (and can likely be stored essentially forever even in non-
refrigerated salt mines, if carefully protected).  Digital
storage of photos or text is now tempting, but (in my opinion) is
going to suffer from the horrible fate of medium and technique
obsolescence every 10 years, for as far into the future as all of
us can imagine.  This will never be true for Kodachromes or

   What about magnetic tape/video footage?  I suspect that the
same time stretch factor of 2 for every 10 C below ambient
applies, and that we could squeeze 50 years of life even out of
primary media without transfers, if attention were paid to
storage in refrigerated and hermetically sealed containers.  At
best, this is practical only for 8mm format for most of us, even
with a dedicated refrigerator.  If you are really serious about
having some footage survive with you (and I agree that motion
pictures contain information impossible to capture otherwise), a
tape of edited video footage can be transferred to 16 mm film,
after which it is independent of technology changes.  We know how
to store 16 mm color film as long as we like.  Sound can be
stored on more conventional cassette tape, which is archivally
far more forgiving than videotape, as several people have noted.

   A word about liquid nitrogen: after long experimentation with
VHS and 8mm tape, computer diskettes, 35 mm film, etc, etc, I
have come to the conclusion that there are probably no modern
media which cannot easily withstand fairly rapid cooling and
immersion in liquid nitrogen, with *no* loss of data or image. 
In short, you can dunk it all, from diskettes to films to
videotapes, and it would all last forever if you had the LN2 to
do it.   All that is realistically required is a hermetic pouch
to protect the item from moisture condensation on warming to
ambient.   This option should prove attractive to people who
already have access to LN2 storage (cryonics companies), although
again I suspect that realistically only developed fine grain
color film and perhaps microfilm has both the information density
and the medium independence to be worthy of storage that way.  

    I should here note that even neurocans end up with quite a
bit of empty space inside which should be used to *very* good end
by storing selected color film and microfilm cassettes along with
the patient.  It might profit every cryonicist to make up a few
small packets of representative film/microfilm, to be kept in the
freezer before clinical death, and in the LN2 with you after. 
For those of us storing information on behalf of people in
suspension, it's time for us to take off the arrogance of assumed
immortality, and get busy reducing some of that information into
compact and LN2 storable form, and get it put in with the proper
patient now.  If there's one thing a lifetime has taught me is
that things get lost and go to hell naturally, quite on their
own.  Even if cryonics works perfectly, a great many cryonauts
are going to come out the other end with no personal information
at all besides what is in the public domain (newspapers, library
material) and what is stored in their own brains and those other
resuscitees.  Think about how much you know of the life of your
own great-great-grandfather.  How many things exist in your
family that belonged to him?  What?  None?  That's the 
devastation of entropy that we all face.  The living have their
own problems which have little to do with keeping the memories of
dead people fresh.

                                  Steve Harris

P.S.  As an afternote, for serious people I should recommend the
following company:

University Products, Inc.
517 Main Street (P.O. Box 101)
Holyoke, MA 01041-0101
FAX 1-800-532-9281

  They have archival quality acid-free papers and storage
materials for photographic materials, tapes, papers, etc.,
besides a wealth of specialty products for keeping things safe
from the revenges of time like constant humidity packets, UV
filters, photosafe adhesives, Tyvek products, aluminized plastic
pouches, and so forth.


Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=2658