John Clayton, a Union Leader columnist and local historian (I even got a brief mention in his first book), suggest that we should be print out our important photographs and writing the names and descriptions on the back. Certainly, he is able to cite examples from his own work where "it's a good thing someone did that" in some instances and "don't we wish someone had done that" in others. Most people who have gone through old family photographs have had the experience of wishing Aunt Edna were still alive to tell us who that other couple in the picture at the pond were.
Add to this Lewis Lapham's thought that paper may outlast Google Digital Library, and one has to wonder if we are making information so instantly recoverable that it is is also more disposable than we realise.
I'm not rooting for the old ways on this. Twenty years ago I would have, insisting that libraries should be libraries, dammit, with dusty books. But for information junkies, nostalgia has taken a far back seat to access. I like reading in my comfortable chair, and I have a very long wish list on Amazon - okay, that sort of gives away the game right there, doesn't it? - but I find I do less and less. My family (and Boethius's), may be among the last holdouts teaching their descendants the arcane art of reading off a page, but even for me it is becoming hobbyish.
Photographs are now a different experience as well. Waiting days for your prints to come back - sometimes only 12 to a roll - made each one more of a treasure, each spoiled one more of a loss. We are now deluged with photos that even we no longer look at, piles of them lying in their paper sleeves, accusing my poor wife of neglect while they await placement in their final home, an album with plastic covers on the pages.
Will anyone bother? Why should they? We have massive rolodex photo holders that chronicle our lives from 1975 - 2000, and guests sometimes like to browse those. Fun. But even with that last extra boost of accessibility, the photos go unnoticed and untouched from month to month.