I presented a paper on Long-Term Digital Preservation of Photo Books at the International Symposium on Technologies for Digital Photo Fulfillment in Manchester, England. In this presentation, I highlighted the need to think about photo books as more than a printed book, but instead as a combination of the printed book with related electronic files
Photo books document life. They record activities, events, and people. They give context to photos. They provide an unparalleled source of information about life as it is happening. Photo books are today’s scrapbooks. They are a record of the times, providing a glimpse into everyday life. Preserving the digital photo book file is certainly worthwhile.
When the digital file that created the photo book is available, we are able to find, access, and reprint it. Google and other search services can index it, and it will retain the location, time, and subject information about the original photos.
Unfortunately, most manufacturers do not provide the digital file, focusing instead on offering the lowest possible price. These files are lost as soon as the book is printed or shortly thereafter and are unavailable to future generations, researchers, and others.
The exception to this is Forever. This company allows you to easily save and preserve the PDF file for any photo books that you create with Artisan software. I use this software to create my photo books.
If you use another service and you’re not getting the digital files with your photo book, ask yourself why not. Even better, ask the photo book supplier for the files, and tell them that if they are unwilling to provide the digital files you will go somewhere else that will.
For the original presentation, see Long-Term Digital Preservation of Photo Books.