He said web users needed to be more conscious that websites that seemed to be permanent fixtures of the online world could disappear within a few years. "Whatever social site, wherever you put your data, you should make sure that you can get it back and get it back in a standard form. And in fact if I were you I would do that regularly, just like you back up your computer … maybe our grandchildren depending on which website we use may or may not be able to see our photos.
The rest of the article is well worth reading, but the comment about photos is pertinent to my storyline project.
How much harder would it be for someone to rebuild my Mum's storyline when the data is fragmented and silo'd? When it was stored somewhere that is long gone? Even if the actual asset remains, the photo or whatever, the meta data will (probably) be long gone - the title, descriptions, tags, annotations, comments and conversations.
Almost everything that I'm drawing from for mums story is physical - diaries, books, letters, notes. Yes, paper degrades and I've no doubt lost a lot of information from paper that is no longer legible or too brittle to handle, but in general it still holds the meta data it started with - the writing on the back of a photo, an x above my Grandad's head on a group photo, the scrapbook of newspaper cuttings carefully cut out and annotated for the Hull Operatic society.
This stuff is important, without it my project would be so much harder, less evidenced, and more guess work.