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Rediscovery of forgotten images in domestic photo collections


The exponential growth of digital photo collections, combined with the legacy of printed photographs, is leading families to experience difficulties in remembering and finding photographs. Paradoxically this creates new opportunities for the rediscovery of forgotten images. This paper reports a new study in this area, based on interviews and creative activities with ten families in the south-east of England. The study found that many triggers for photo reuse were either speculative or accidental and led people to reinterpret the meaning of photographs in the light of subsequent experience and social discussion. This suggests a need to support serendipitous browsing of photographs and a more fluid and provisional approach to the semantic tagging of personal media.

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This work was funded by Kodak Research Cambridge and carried out as a collaboration with Digital World Research Centre, University of Surrey. At the time of conducting this research, Steven Wall was an employee of University of Surrey and Graham Kiddle was an employee of Kodak European Research. The authors thank Elise van den Hoven and Kristen Eglinton for comments on the original manuscript.

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Correspondence to David M. Frohlich.

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Frohlich, D.M., Wall, S. & Kiddle, G. Rediscovery of forgotten images in domestic photo collections. Pers Ubiquit Comput 17, 729–740 (2013).

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  • Digital photography
  • Photo collection
  • Memory
  • Remembering
  • Retrieval
  • Browsing