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May 20, 2008



Very thought provoking post. Thanks! Of course even if students wanted to keep their yearbooks for 70 years I don't believe Facebook or MySpace as organizations in their currently recognized form will be around a fraction of that time which is what makes print the compelling medium when migrating digital content is such a huge challenge.

And yet I think you've touched on a potentially huge market for an inventive entrepreneur or social network partnership: Aggregating student profiles into Print On Demand books at the end of each school year. Students could create a personalized "yearbook page" and that page would essentially be frozen in time to be combined with others and ordered online through an existing company (like www.lulu.com). Now that would be a great project for the (former) high school senior yearbook committee.

Along those same lines why not even create a family yearbook? My father used to write a yearly Christmas letter but imagine the possibilities of getting extended families to create their own pages and publishing them all at once for a holiday or family reunion? Similar to scrap-booking but without the need for glue and prepackaged decorations, not to mention less stress for those with limited time and budgets...?!

Heather McLeland-Wieser

I work in a public library with a fabulous collection of local yearbooks. We help people everyday who either didn't buy the yearbook or lost their copy and who now need/want/crave a copy of that photo and sometimes many different photos. I can't imagine how we will be able to help these people 20 years from now.

Larry Lehmer

Tori: Those are some excellent ideas that you mention. I wish I had saved all those Christmas letters I've received over the years. They are, in fact, mini yearbooks.

Heather: A huge tip of the hat for the work you do. Many people don't realize what a great resource their local library is, and not just for circulating books. I'm amazed at how well my local library is able to keep up with the constant change in this digital age.

Stefani Twyford

Wow Larry, what an interesting story about the lawyer using yearbook therapy. Such a unique way of connecting the dots from the past to the present and I'm sure a huge surprise to whomever person was chosen from the entire book to be recipient of his gift. I love it. It brings to mind the Lost and Found Photos website (http://www.lostandfoundphotos.com) and all the other lost items floating around in the world with people looking at how to reunite them with their owners. Love letters or messages in a bottle, washed up on shore, find their way to their rightful owner due to some person's sheer determination to deliver them. Beautiful and moving story!
Great comments by Tori and Heather. More ideas to think about and develop aimed at preserving the past and creating snapshots in time.

Larry Lehmer

That whole lost and found thing is fascinating, Stefani. It's one of the delightful unintended consequences of the Internet that people are able to connect in ways that were previously impossible. Thanks for getting this thread rolling.

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