First, thank you Peter for the referral to StudioLine. I was not familiar with that software and the offloading feature, combined with the thumbnail database sounds perfect for those that do keep things on CD. And Donald, you are correct that DVDs would work better, which we have.
However, my response is more directed at the assumptions made by "aintnorainbowdorothy" and Donald by reading my post. I've re-read it a couple of times, and I can't find where I've left you with information to make your comments.
First, my "son" is a daughter, and daughters in the digital age are FAR more prolific with both pictures and music. If either of you have a teenage daughter NOW (not 20 years ago), then you would know that having 9000 photos isn't that enormous when you consider that she takes her camera everywhere, she's planning to major in journalism in college, she's the editor of her high school yearbook, she's a student council officer, she goes to at least one, generally two parties a week, she attends YoungLife once a week, goes on several "girls trips" (chaperoned) per year, and goes on several retreats (school, church) per year! Multiply ALL of those events of this outgoing and prolific young woman, times maybe 20-30 photos per event (who cares, they're free and aren't that big at 100KB), and you can see that it wouldn't take that long to get there. She also has 3000 songs on her iPOD, as do my two boys. Our family owns hundreds and hundreds of books and CDs, plus 100+ DVD movies & concerts.
My point is gentlemen that we are a family of creative people, all of which love music and creating images of where we were at certain times of our lives. To compare my daughter's enthusiasm with what she's doing with A) what a more left-brained person might do, B) what a male teen might do, C) what ANY male might do, D) what someone that has no interest in journalism might do, and E) what a 58 year-old tainted male might do, simply isn't very astute. Further, to assume that she's "spoiled" and has nothing else to do is REALLY sticking your neck out based on the lack of information you have. She works some during the school year, but full-time in the summer. Yes, she's been given the camera, computer and printer as gifts over the years, but surely that's not a crime, even in Kansas. In addition to the above mentioned credits and activities, she's also on the National Honor Roll, so why should I NOT feed her interest in photography and art?
The next piece of clarification is that I didn't say I was LOOKING for a solution myself, I was OFFERING one. I DO use three 250GB hard drives for nothing but image and music storage. One of them is internal and the other two are USB externals. The working drive duplicates to the USB Drive "A" on Day 1, then we swap out Drive "A" with Drive "B" on Day 2. Each of those drives was around $110 and even those prices will keep dropping, so why NOT store whatever images she'd like to store? She DOES purge out the junk files by the way, she DOES name them by the way, they are NOT dumped in one big folder as someone said, she DOES organize them by folders by the way (named for the event she photographed), and she DOES print out the most important photos she keeps in a scrapbook of her life, and that she distributes around the house, to family and friends. We DO have a great photo printer, but to print out archive copies of photos INSTEAD of archiving them on HDD, CD or DVD is ludicrous when these prints can get lost or damaged more easily than hard media, have significantly shorter life spans, and are FAR AND AWAY more expensive to print out than storing them on HDD. Having them digital means you can pull them up at any time in the future, manipulate them, print them again, then put them back in safe storage. We've got THREE of those HUGE Tupperware boxes FULL of nothing but printed photographs from when the children were little, but heaven forbid, if something happened to the house, it would be tough to get them out (though they are in one place). And to the comment that no one would ever see them, you are correct... to a degree. My mother has similar piles of photos at her house, many of which I STILL haven't seen. However, when you DO pull those photos out, maybe 30-40 years down the road, and in my daughter's case it will likely be on the new holographic iPOD for all media (release date: Jan.. 15, 2042), what a gift it will be from one generation to another to have those memories sealed and frozen in time to remind you of days gone by and to leave to the next generation to add color to the stories about Uncle Leo. So who cares if you have too many? Have you ever seen where they keep the Divinci notebooks? Talk about a waste of ink! Maybe his parents spoiled him by giving him all of that parchment to make those silly sketches on. He should have thrown that crap away. The helicopter wouldn't be invented for another 200 years anyway.
And so my friends, there is my rebuttal to your comments about a problem I didn't have to begin with. In closing, let me leave you with some handy (and free) advice when dealing with people both in person and on-line. First and most basically, be sure and read things carefully before making sweeping assumptions about what someone is doing or saying. Second, and most importantly, NEVER take pot-shots at someone's children. Though you didn't know it was my daughter, and while you never take pot-shots at ANY of someone's children, you sure as you-know-what don't EVER, EVER take pot-shots at a father's daughter. If you have one, you should know what I mean.
Other than that I'm having a pretty good day and happy to help you guys if I did.