This topic discusses the difference between FotoStation and database-oriented asset management systems and discusses the implications this has for e.g. backup routines.
How FotoStation works
Unlike many database-based asset management systems, FotoStation does not need to import pictures from your drive into a special database for you to be able to work with them. When you use FotoStation as a stand-alone product, without a connection to other FotoWare server applications, you can simply point it to a folder on a local or a network drive to display the pictures stored within.
When you add metadata to your pictures, that metadata is embedded in the pictures, or in some rare cases, stored as a "sidecar" file that is handled transparently in FotoStation. That is, you will never actually see a sidecar file in the FotoStation user interface when working with your collections, but they will travel with the file wherever you choose to copy or move it from FotoStation.
This means that backup is made extremely easy - by backing up your files you also back up your metadata, so you never risk losing anything.
A note about sidecar files
Remember, though, that when accessing the file system using the Windows Explorer or the Mac Finder, you will sometimes see sidecar files in the file system. When manually copying files from the disk drives, the sidecar files are not automatically included, so care should be taken to include them to avoid metadata loss.
A sidecar file has the same name as the file it accompanies: If Picture.NEF has a sidecar it will be called Picture.xmp. Similarly, a sidecar for Presentation.ppt will be called Presentation.xmp. When copying files using Windows Explorer or the Mac Finder (or any other utility that lists the actual content in the file system) it may be practical to sort files by name to allow any sidecars in the folder to appear directly below their "master" files.