“You will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” Though unattributed, this quote captures society’s fascination with recording important moments in our history. For example, many of the world’s greatest architectural achievements were motivated by a leader’s desire to be remembered. Even the Great Pyramids of Egypt are little more than a pharaoh’s fancy way of making his mark on history. And we continue that tradition today—albeit in the more personal and portable form of digital media that preserve our magic moments.
According to a recent Domo study, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created each day. Thanks to smartphones, a large chunk of that data is dedicated to photo files. If individuals were to average just three photos per day, each would take about 1,000 photos per year.
We’ve mastered the technique of digitally documenting life’s magic moments. The question is, “How can we master the art of organization?” By understanding how file storage has evolved throughout the centuries—from stone tablets to personal computers to modern-day cloud storage—we can appreciate how digital photo management tools are making file organization across multiple storage platforms possible today.
My Kingdom for a File
We’d like to believe that our modern computer technology is unique in human history. However, in many ways, it’s merely an adaptation of systems dating back millennia.
For example, the library of Ashurbanipal (king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, seventh century BCE) is estimated to have held 30,000 clay tablets. They contained hieroglyphs that detailed everything from legislation to foreign correspondences, sacred hymns, medicine, astronomy and also literature. Moreover, with that many tablets, it was essential for King Ashurbanipal to employ several librarians to keep them organized. When he wanted information, he summoned a librarian to fetch the requisite tablets.
This king–librarian relationship has persisted throughout history. We’ve seen iterations in the Library of Alexandria, the House of Wisdom in modern-day Iraq and the New York Public Library. They are massive stores of knowledge, each managed by experts of organizational systems. This physical structure was successful for thousands of years, but in a society that took pride in technological advancement, there came an easier way to organize and access valued information: the personal computer (PC).
Services Providing the Royal Treatment
The PC revolutionized the way people store and manage information. For the first time in history, a space the size of just one of Ashurbanipal’s clay tablets could house millions of image files. Early computers mimicked existing paper document organization systems of the day; they stored documents in folders, folders in filing cabinets and filing cabinets in libraries.
While that organizational process has worked well for decades, it doesn’t fully accommodate the mass amounts of images now stored daily. We need a next-generation file storage system that alleviates the concerns associated with traditional content classification systems. These concerns include storage device reliability; global accessibility; the aggregation of files from a variety of sources; extensive data security; as well as computing platform neutrality. It’s time to look to the cloud.
Power for the People
Today, we’ve traded the liability of desktop storage systems for the dependability, security and convenience of cloud-based solutions. Moreover, users can now consolidate, connect and search their files from different cloud storage locations (and desktops) using a single application.
Moving beyond file naming, artificial intelligence (AI) analyzes content and geolocation to generate extensive, searchable metadata. It has introduced a whole new level of efficiency to the retrieval process. For instance, perhaps you can’t recall the image file name of the prize-winning rainbow trout you caught last year. Thanks to AI, you can now simply search for “fish” or “rainbow” or “trout” to produce an entire photo series, narrowing your search to find your specific photo.
In addition, as their files multiply at a vigorous pace, photographers are discovering the benefits of digital asset management tools. Services like FileShadow aggregate files from multiple cloud sources (iCloud, Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe’s Lightroom solutions, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and OneDrive) as well as local storage devices (macOS, Windows Virtual Desktops, Windows PC, Drobo network and direct-attached storage—NAS/DAS) into a single, secure and searchable cloud vault. Furthermore, less time sifting through files means artists have more time to be creative.
Preserving Magic Moments Evolved
We’ve come a long way from the days of clay tablets and towering obelisks. However, the desire to preserve important moments remains a vibrant part of humankind.
Delivering on the intentions of ancient royal libraries, PCsand the cloud, today’s digital asset management tools provide instant access across multiple file storage platforms in a manner that is fit for a king—and everyone else, too.
Jeff Looman is the vice president of engineering at FileShadow. The company’s mission is to make finding photos and files stored among multiple clouds and devices safe, quick and easy.