Are you going to lose all your photos and valuable records through obsolescence?

People wish to keep their photos and their records for lifetime or even generations, yet many appear unconcerned about the fact that in a few years' time current devices and on-line services may no longer be in use, and even the file formats might not be supported. Old fashioned printed books and documents are still the best. Fortunately they are much easier to produce now..

Our Survwy

Incartek has conducted a survey on behalf of OPUS albums and found out that:

41% of responders say their photos should be kept and found the rest of their lives.

56% of responders say that they should be kept for 'generations'

Only 3% said they should be kept for 10 years or less.

We have also placed polls on a number of forums asking for thoughts on how long files can be read. Not significant enough yet, but

40% thought that computers in 2020 would be able to read current CD’s and JPG files.

50% thought that they would be able to read JPG files but NOT current CD’s.

10% thought that neither CD’s nor JPG files would be supported.

What is your opinion? E-mail me. (

We asked Microsoft for their view. This is the response of a spokesperson:

"Microsoft has always spent a huge amount of time and resources in providing backward compatibility, wherever possible, in its products. We will continue to take this approach. However, it is impossible for any technology company to see as far into the future as 2020 with the degree of certainty suggested."

Even they can’t be sure. I think you get the point.

We also placed a poll Will photo-share (like Flikr) and video-share (like You Tube) be around in 20 years time? – with the responses

Both of these services will be doing fine (even if they've changed ownership or name)

Yes this sort of thing will be around - but those particular services will have gone (with their databases)

No - things will have moved on by then. Something else will be the rage

No - we'll be back to pen and paper

We have not yet received enough responses on this one. Your comments are welcome.

Our Conclusions

Our times are in God’s hands we know; how long the ‘rest of our lives are’ we don’t know. Some readers, not me, might hope to live to 2080 – generations would mean 100 years or more! Can one foresee the electronic media that would be around then? CD’s will have gone the way of the floppy and tape cassette. If one wants to keep your records indefinitely, electronic media – at home or at a central repository – cannot be relied on. One thing is for sure though – well printed documents on archival acid free papers with permanent (pigmented) ink should last, especially if kept in a good environment. This is where companies like come in. is a specialist in home and office printed albums, scrapbooks, creative and archival papers. It is part of Ink Cartridge Technologies Ltd, Rochester, England.

Incartekis a specialist management consultancy specialising in the imaging supplies industry. It is associated with Excelsis Enterprises, a full range consultancy.

Daniel Roberts has been in the supplies and peripherals aftermarket for 30 years holding senior management positions

PS Ecademists can still contribute to these polls:

How long do you wish to keep your best digital photos

Will Windows 2020 support .JPG files?

Will Windows 2020 support current CD’s

Will Flikr and You Tube be around in 20 years time?

or enter the full questionnaire

Business Builder

Incartek (Ink Cartridge Technologies Ltd)


Personal website:

E-commerce websites:

- print-your-own albums for digital photographers - creative papers - you have to look us up to appreciate the range!

Author of "What day is Brand Freedom Day?"

Make a great Photo Album (or Digital Scrapbook) yourself“Make a great Photo Album (or Digital Scrapbook) yourself”

Your article must be written in English

July 20, 2007


I am afraid this study is biased; it is about scaring people and trying to measure how much they are scared. It doesn t prove anything.
I have no worry about backwards compatibility with JPEG, if the memory support is not altered (which probably means transition from one physical support to another one).

What is true however is that some raw files might not be readable because of lack of documentation on the formats by manufacturer.

What is true also is that some ink/printers are really good and some are of very poor quality regarding durability of prints. And they both good and bad are about the same price range today.

Related image searches
Lifetime related image searches