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Shoebox cloud storage closes photo site

Published 13 May 2019


It's a constant struggle to maintain a digital heritage. Shoebox was an offering of Cloud Storage services for your photos then permanently closing. This is a good example of cloud storage services may appear as a permanent storage option for your photos that dissapear with only limited notice.

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It has been an ongoing conversation on these pages of the need to have a personal digital archiving strategy for your own digital records. We believe that we are in the midst of what will be known as the Digital Dark Ages. Online cloud storage can be an excellent service to solve both storage capacity needs and easy access needs. This can be particularly helpful when users want to share photos and photo albums with friends.

Whilst we never have used the Shoebox services, we do use cloud storage solutions. There are many cloud storage services that spring to mind, including Dropbox, Apple iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive, and Google CloudDrive as examples.

and in just seven short years ...

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These services may appear to be permanent and always online in the future. They have been around for years, may be run by large corporations, and may no indication that they are considering terminating their services. Please do not be fooled into thinking that these services will last for ever. We do not have a crystal ball and can not see into the future so we do not know if any of these services will cease operation. However, if your digital records and important to you and you would like to have your digital archives survive the next tech-crunch then you will need to implement your own digital archiving strategy.

The need for a digital archiving strategy was already known before Shoebox announced its services. The year before, in February 2011, there was the Personal Digital Archiving Conference. We have written a peice on the excellent presentation Jason Scott gave on Personal Digital Archiving.

You may not get much warning that the services you rely on are going to cease. Shoebox wrote an announcement on their homepage that Shoebox is shutting down (wayback) on 22 May 2018. Shoebox stated that you can "... export your photos and videos (it only takes 5 minutes!)". Shoebox appears to have taken some of user-friendly steps such as giving notice of intentions to cease services, and a method to export your files.

The announcement is dated 23 April 2019. That is just one short month. You may think that a month is ample time. However, what happens if you were on a 6-week overseas holiday and saving all of your files to this service. You may not have practical or affordable access to download gigabytes, maybe even terrabytes, of data. There may be metadata developed on the service (that you may have paid services for) that might not be accessable after the service closes. We in no way provide critcism of what Shoebox has chosen to do. We are only chosing to use this as an example of why cloud storage services should not be your only storage facility.

you will need to implement
your own
digital archiving strategy

Article tags: personal digital archiving

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