Archiving prepress data

Once a job is printed many companies archive the customer data. This archive will be used if that customer ever orders reprints. A good archival procedure can also come in handy when a client accidentally loses their files and needs the digital assets for updates.

  • In some shops the archival terms are a line item in their quotes. This assures the customer is aware of the service and its value. They can request a different type of archiving schedule if needed.
  • Most shops do not charge for the service, since the cost of archiving is low and it is an easy way of increasing customer satisfaction. When a client realizes that they no longer have their original files, the printer suddenly offers a valuable service and is sure to get the print job. Not charging for the storage and retrieval assures that if a file is lost due to bad media or an operator error, there is no liability.

How to archive data

Most companies archive final files (and possibly some support files) on DVD. They typically create two sets of DVDs. The second set is kept at an off-site location and can come in handy in case of media failure.

A separate application is used to catalog the archive. This may be done using a custom-designed database. There are also dedicated applications for this, such as DiskCatalogMaker.

Archiving customer files on disk for reprints and safekeeping

How long are archives kept

Most companies keep digital archives forever. If they do purge them after some time, it is a good idea to contact the customer to give them a month’s notice.

Artwork, film, proofs or press sheets are only kept for a limited time since they take up so much space. Three years seems to be an industry average.



15 January 2017

2 responses to “Archiving prepress data”

  1. at my company – – we currently are using the new 50gig blueray’s with a quad speed burner, and using database software to track which jobs are on which blueray. Every job done by our company in the last 9 years has an assigned job number, which is referenced in the index, so, as long as the 2 different copies don’t fail, we have basically everything we have printed archived forever.

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