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Online train crash: aftermath of the Digital Railroad’s closure

November 5th, 2008Posted by in Online Journalism, Photography

It would be a terrifying discovery for a photographer: to find you had just a few days to retrieve all your data from an online photo archive.

That’s exactly what happened to users of the Digital Railroad (DRR), when the site found itself in financial trouble, as we reported on here the other week.

Vincent Lafloret describes over at his blog how, although he personally has not lost out (he uses PhotoShelter) he thinks what has happened is ‘shameful’ and ‘inexcusable’.

“…you add the fact that everyone will then try to download their content simultaneously – and your bandwidth will dwindle instantly – and your pretty much ensure the digital apocalypse…few if any will be able to retrieve all of their images in time – before the servers are shut down.   This is utterly irresponsible of them – it’s completely reprehensible.  It’s something they should revisit immediately.”

A message on the defunct site doesn’t provide much support:

This afternoon PaidContentUK reports that the site is now reviewing a buy-out offer, which could make the photos accessible again. According to PaidContent:

…”DRR’s adminstrator Diablo Management also said it had a letter of intent to buy the site’s hardware and software, with the suitor intending to make the photos accessible once again. Who’s the buyer? Diablo cryptically said it was a “20-year fixture” in the business that “owns a multi-agency digital media marketplace composing more than 25 million images, news stories, and video clips” which it licenses to 5,000 news media customers.”

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