Preservation Is Forever

Mizen_Preservation is Forever_20150925_Page_01

[Presented at Forever Live! in Buckhead, Georgia, September 25, 2015]

This past year I went to Disney with my family. The trip lased one week; yet, the memories are forever.

Mizen_Preservation is Forever_20150925_Page_04For Disney, Forever means 30 days, since all photos in Disney MemoryMaker expire in 30 days. Disney will even tell you the very minute photos expire. They expire at 11:59pm EST on the 30th day.

Disney is not alone. Photos on other online photo sites have expirations as well. For Costco, Snapfish, Walgreens, and Walmart this expiration date is one year, if you don’t place an order. Heritage Maker’s gives you a bit longer with 18 months.

Mizen_Preservation is Forever_20150925_Page_07Forever, on the other hand, promises to preserve your photos for 100 years or longer and they give you specific details. Your content will be available for your lifetime plus 100 years, it will be accessible with current technology, and it will be preserved through natural disasters, wars, terrorism, economic depressions, and other events that cause major disruptions in society.

The Forever Guarantee Fund ensures permanent preservation. This fund provides the financial resources to preserve files stored on Forever.

Mizen_Preservation is Forever_20150925_Page_13The situation is actually much worse than I have described because most services can shut down and delete your photos at any time.   Shutterfly and Dropbox explicitly state that they can terminate your account at any time. Pinterest simply reserves the right to refuse service at any time. All this talk about termination is scary!

Mizen_Preservation is Forever_20150925_Page_14Terms of Service can also change at any time. Facebook is noted for continually changing its service, and Google can suspend or stop a service altogether.

To understand this situation, we need to look at the business models companies operate under. E-commerce and social media sites are not photo preservation sites. E-commerce sites sell products, and social media sites sell advertising. Photo preservation sites preserve photos. The objectives are different. Do not confuse them. Photo preservation requires a site with a business model based on preserving photos, not one based on advertising or selling photo products.

Now for a quiz:

  1. Digital photos are…
    A. Just like traditional film photos.
    B. Preserved in digital cameras or on cell phones.
    C. Saved by posting them to Facebook.
    D. Vulnerable to viruses, hardware failure, deletion, and easily lost to new technology.
  2. The average photo site will preserve photos…
    A. For the next 365 days, except for leap year when you get an extra day.
    B. Until you run out of money and stop ordering.
    C. Until it runs out of money and fails.
    D. All of the above.
  3. E-commerce and preservation are
    A. The headings from two Jeopardy categories.
    B. The names of two competing NFL teams.
    C. Two rock bands.
    D. Different business objectives that should not be confused.
  4. The Forever Guarantee Fund is
    A. A Department of Homeland Security plan to fight terrorism.
    B. Volkswagen’s proposal to pay for violating air pollution laws.
    C. The U.S. Government’s program to bail out the banking industry.
    D. Over a million dollars dedicated to preserving photos for the future.
  5. Ed and Noah are
    A. 40,000 photos old.
    B. The future.
    C. Preserved for at least 100 years with Forever.
    D. All of the above.

In all cases, the answer is D.

The complete presentation is available at Mizen_Preservation is Forever_20150925.


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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4 Responses to Preservation Is Forever

  1. Nancy says:

    Fantastic presentation, Mark! I sure wanted to go. Thanks for sharing with us.

  2. Pingback: The Statistics of Forever | All About Images Blog

  3. Pingback: Forever Live! Video Now Available | All About Images Blog

  4. Pingback: Understanding Digital Preservation | All About Images Blog

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