What Problems Does AC Solve?
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To answer this question we will use the example of a photographic project. It could be..
·a wedding photographer coming back from a wedding shoot  
·a sports photographer coming back from a game  
·a street photographer from an afternoon in NYC (that's me)  
·a photographer returning from a week long family vacation (that's not me)  
·6 months of shooting of a less avid photographer.  

In each case it is possible that gigabytes of data will need to be archived.

This generates 3 questions that really need to be asked, and their answers are the reason of why Archive Creator exists.

1 – How can I quickly Archive this project to multiple CDs and include a viewing index?

The current answer (before AC) is that it cannot be done quickly. So you resort to the method that is now common and many of us have struggled with for quite some time (which is why AC was conceived).A standard CD burning program is used to archive the large amount of files. The process goes something like this…
·a bunch of files are dragged into the burning list  
·You check to see if the CD is full enough  
·You add some more files  
·You check the total size again  
·You add more files  
·You check the total size again  
·Ooops…too many  
·You drag some out  
·You drag some more out  
·You add some more back in  
·You drag some out  
·You burn the CD  
·You come back 10 minutes later  
·You repeat the procedure for as many disks as it takes  

2 – How can I be sure that the data on the CD/DVD has integrity?

The current answer is for the most part you can't. Most of the commonly used CD burning programs do not check the total integrity of the data. They just report if a burning error has occurred. This will not ensure the integrity of the data. Some programs have verify options but they are generally hidden and are not turned on (although they should be) and some do not offer the option at all.

3 – How can I find a specific picture should I need to reference the archive?. How will I know which disk it is on?

The current answer is that you put in CD by CD until you find the picture that you want, or print some kind of catalog, or database the CDs in a program like Thumbs Plus. All acceptable solutions if you have the time and energy and a system to do it. Or you make a separate "Web Gallery" (an HTML picture index) and include it within your burn to CD. But you either have to make a separate gallery for each CD (which you can't do until you know which files will go onto each CD). Or if you make 1 large Gallery, there is no way to know which files are on which CDs as you look at the Index. And if you are working with RAW files, you will have to convert the RAW files to a standard format before you begin.

Now let's answer these same questions using Archive Creator.

1 – How can I quickly Archive this project to multiple disks?

Select the folder, folders or files that you want to Archive by selecting them in the File Selection Tree. Hit the Process button and the files will be spanned on the screen across as many CDs as are needed. If you like what you see (you can examine the contents that each CD will have), just begin burning. That's it…3 steps…select, process and burn. And along the way you can look at a preview of any Image, even most RAW files!

Jump to the Quick Start Guide
jump to the Detailed Operation Guide

2 – How can I be sure that the data on the CD has integrity?

AC has 4 verify options. When set to Full (the default), as part of the burning process AC does a quick verify that checks that each file exists and is the correct size, it then proceeds to do a byte-for-byte full verify process that compares the file on the CD against each byte of the source file on the hard drive. This ensures 100% integrity. If either test fails, the disk can be re-burned. In addition to these Quick and Full verify options, there is a "Medium" option that just ensures that every byte on the CD can be read, but does not compare it to the source data. A less secure form of verification, but faster than the full verify and better than none. Also, for speed, you can select the "No Verify" option and verify the disks later on the dedicated Verify page.

3 – How can I find the picture that I need should I need to reference the archive? How will I know which disk it is on?

AC can generate an HTML index of the entire project that is written onto each of the CDs. So that from any one of the CDs in the Archive Set, the entire Archive Set can be viewed and the proper file found regardless of which disk it is on. And this index may be built using..
·just file names  
·the file names plus thumbnails of the images  
·the filenames plus thumbnails plus viewing images (down-sampled versions of the original source file)  
·The HTML Index is even created if the source files are Canon or Nikon RAW files (and several other RAW types). No need for conversion.  

This index is written in pure and generic HTML and is designed to be read by any IE compatible browser (and Netscape is supported wherever possible). No other software is needed to read the images from an AC generated Archive CD…not even AC!

Jump to The Archived CDs

Of course, the above is a simplified description of what AC can do. In reality there are many options in the process that can further tailor its use for your needs.