IF YOU are anything like me, you may have got a bit slack at keeping your photo albums maintained over recent years.

After all, it is too easy to click away these days on our digital cameras, our phones, our tablets, and then load them up on our computer and forget all about them. Long gone for most of us is that expensive need to get each and every photo we ever took developed.

But apparently, this could be a bit of a mistake for the generations to come. Spare a thought for the celebrities of tomorrow who get ready to film the likes of Who Do You Think You Are? in the centuries to come, and find their tear-jerking historical resources a bit thinner than expected.

Vint Cerf, one of the pioneers of the internet and now one of Google’s top men (apparently also, one of the company’s only employees who wears a tie), told a science conference last week that he fears we might one day be seen as custodians of a ‘digital Dark Age’.

He believes the fiercely accelerating rate of technological advancement may leave our old file formats forgotten and gathering dust. It is all about obsolescence, he says, and that commonly used documents – jpegs and word docs, say – may one day be unreadable by our advancing computer programs, and instead will just sit there on file with no-one knowing quite what they are.

The equivalent, perhaps, of a water damaged storage box in the loft, filled with forgotten and mouldering papers well beyond saving.

It’s clear he has a point, as well, as anyone who has considered bashing in their new computer in frustration at its refusal to open the version of a word document saved in 1998 or thereabouts will know.

How ironic that, in an age when the world has never documented itself so thoroughly – to the point of utter triteness if you start paying attention to people who insist on posting what they had for breakfast on Twitter – that we could one day be in danger of losing it all. And with almost all our records going digital one way or another over the coming years, this is about more than mere family memories.

Nothing is permanent, of course, and no-one expects their photos and physical documents to last hundreds of years into the future. But how sad it would be to think so much of the information we have now may be so easily lost.

It’s not all ready to be consigned to the dustbin of history yet, mind you. Cerf is working on a way of solving this very problem. His plan sounds a bit convoluted, but he is a bright chap, by all accounts, so hopefully will manage it.

But in case he doesn’t, perhaps the technophobes have a point. By putting so much reliance on our digital world to store the treasures of information we have (along, let’s face it, with no shortage of dross in the digital form of selfies, pointless blogs and needless social media blather) we are surely making it easy for them to vanish without us even realising it until it’s too late.

So, with that in mind, perhaps those of us who have got a bit lazy with our photo albums should quickly get back in the habit of clicking on the ‘print’ icon.