When you have been imaging for some time you will find that you have problems to find a specific image or the related unprocessed images.

This tutorial explains how I have set up my archives. I am sure that there are many other ways to get to the same or even better results, but - so far - it works for me.

And this approach goes hand-in-hand with my procedure to log your camera settings.

On my hard disk I have a special directory to store the images I capture: D:\Sterrenkund\Rawpics\today.

When imaging K3CCDTools always writes the AVI's to that directory.

Immediately after an imaging session I rename the ‘today’ directory into today’s date: for January 20, 2009 I use the format yyyymmdd, so it becomes 20090120. I use this partcular date format because then everything will be nicely sorted by Windows: easy for me.
I do not mind if the imaging session passes midnight: I give it the date when I started imaging. In the odd case that I would go out both very early in the morning and in the evening before midnight on the same day I would use the suffix A (for the morning session)and B (for the evening session). In this way I always have a unique directory per session.
While packing up and closing my observatory I ZIP the folder, resulting into the 20090120.ZIP file: nice as a temporary backup, as I only delete this file when the post processing has been fully completed for all the AVIs contained bt this zip file.

At startup time K3CCDTools checks if my favourite AVI directory ( ../today) does exist. If K3CCDTools cannot find this directory K3CCDTools asks me if it should be created for you ... I always say "yes, please" :o)

When back indoors I create a directory [=folder] per object imaged, whereby I use a for me meaningful name, such as. 20090120_venus_lx200.
Next I move all the related files to the appropriate folder and ZIP the folder.
I do the same for all the objects imaged during the session.
> Benefit: when I do something stupid with my raw data, I can always go restore from the ZIPPED file and thus undo my error: it is nice to have a safety belt!

After having completed the post processing I compress the AVI's with VirtualDub (freeware) which results in filesizes of about 10% of the original filesize: amazing!
And apparently without loss of quality ...
When saving the AVI I use the original filename with the suffix " _virtdub.avi"
Note: I only do this for huge AVI's; for long exposure material it is not necessary as the files are small anyhow.

The following compression setting works fine for me:

Next I verify with K3CCDTools that the "VirtualDubbed" AVI's are indeed readable, after which I delete the original AVI's from the folder.

After this I ZIP the folder again, which now also contains all the post processing files.

When I have sufficient ZIP files I burn all my ZIPPED files to a CD-R or DVD-R, verify that the CD/DVD which I just created is indeed readable by restoring all files to a separate test directory, and - when I am satisfied that all is in order - I delete the ZIPPED files from my hard disk.

With a special felt pen I write the start date and the last date of the ZIPPED files on the CD/DVD and my archive is ready.

Of course my website also doubles as my images archive, so whenever I want to retrieve the original files I just use the date of the image on my website and locate the relevant CD/DVD in seconds, after which restoring is a small matter.

Nothing spectacular, I think. But this is the way I have organised my archiving and I hope it helps you in setting up your own archives.