. . . all the more reason to get them onto hard drives ASAP and teach those folks how to plug a hard-drive into a USB port and migrate to the images. As you and I know, it's no more difficult than inserting a CD into a tray.
Indeed, you are absolutely correct. However, my thought is whether a USB hard-drive which had been kept in a cupboard for fifteen or twenty years (which is the way a museum would likely deal with it) would have any better chance of being readable if you were to pull it out, plug it in and hope for the best in 2030, say. Glad you liked the photos, by the way.
I'm not at all sure if this is an appropriate place to post this, but as we are talking about archiving . . . I took the opportunity here at work yesterday to check through our CDR archive (which is not a primary one but a sort of belt-and-braces security which is stored in a fire-proof safe). We started with this in 1997 (but gave up on it in 2005 when we got corporate securities), so it might be of some interest. The data is a mix of photos, scans, data sets and documents. It's a pretty small sample, too.
Anyhow, here are the results:
Total CDRs checked: 26
The oldest: 1997 (a 13 year old Sony) checked OK
Ten years old or more: 14 (1999-2000). 12 checked OK, two failed (both stationary suppliers own-brand CDRs). The 12 readable CDs were all Verbatim.
Five to Nine years old: 11 (2001-2005). All 11 checked OK, a mix of Verbatim, Sony, and one Maxell.
So from the 26 checked spanning a period from 1997 to 2005 two failed, but both were no-name CDs from a stationary supplier. All the quality branded CDs were readable and a random selection of files was loaded from each one without problem. So the implication of that seems to be that top-branded CDRs are probably good for ten years at least in reasonable storage conditions. Avoid cheap no-name or store's own brands like the plague.