Well, not just yours, of course. They’re worried about our entire generation’s collection of photos and other data, saying we could end up as “forgotten century” if we’re not careful about how we archive these things. Google’s vice president Vint Cerf recently spoke of this at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting, reported on by The Guardian.
It wasn’t very long ago that data was “archived” on floppy disks. Just last month I gazed at my collection of college papers on 3.5″ disc, sighed, shrugged, and threw them out. There is no point in keeping them because there is no way of reading them. Even CDs and DVDs are becoming problematic as more and more laptops are produced without optical drives (I am actually considering a switch to USB drives instead of DVDs in my business). How safe are your photo “archives”? For how long?
This is a major reason that I create photo books for my family. No up-to-date software is needed, no obsolete hardware required to view these memories – they are simply there for me to see (unless you count a pretty intense eyeglass prescription as hardware, I suppose). Of course, physical photos are always subject to fire and other disasters – that’s why it’s important to back up your photos in multiple ways, including digitally in the cloud.
It comes down to this: with printed albums, I can imagine my grandchildren stumbling upon them some day and flipping through the pages. It’s awfully difficult to imagine them scaring up a computer that can read a 50-year-old hard drive of JPGs.