It isn’t Tuesday and this isn’t Belgium, but I’ve just learned about a risk to people’s online photo collections on LiveJournal, so it’s a topic appropriate to this blog and something that shouldn’t wait.

Update: LiveJournal has just put out a public announcement.

LiveJournal has an online photo album feature called “ScrapBook.” The most generous description of it is “serviceable.” It lets users who have Plus or paid accounts upload photographs and organize them in galleries.

Recently LiveJournal announced — on an obscure forum, in Russian — that Scrapbook would be “upgraded.” There have been reports flying which I can’t confirm, not being able to read Russian, But there is now an announcement in English, though still with a Russian page title. The migration will be clumsy:

Once this update is deployed, it will no longer be possible for both old and new ScrapBook to co-exist for the same user. It will also not be possible to access new ScrapBook until your images from the old one have been migrated to it. This means that until your ScrapBook is migrated, you will not see the “Add Image” button on entry create/edit pages.

The only change that’s explained is a downgrade in custom security options to all-or-nothing. You may be able to restore custom settings by going through your whole collection manually afterward.

During the migration, images that were previously public will remain public. However, images that had any ‘friends only’ security level of any kind will be migrated as private images.

How do you initiate migration (leaving aside the question of why you’d want to)? You have your choice of asking LJ to do it on its own schedule or waiting for LJ to do it on its own schedule.

If you want to migrate your photos to new ScrapBook now (rather than waiting until next week for the mass migration), please leave the comment “+” to this entry.

Will links to the old Scrapbook break? It’s not clear. LJ says that “all the photos you have already uploaded will still remain visible in all entries and comments,” but it doesn’t say whether URLs will remain valid or LiveJournal entries and comments will somehow be fixed up. In any case, friends-only pictures will become invisible.

If you have a LiveJournal account, make sure that you wouldn’t lose any photos if they disappeared from Scrapbook. This is good advice at all times but especially now. If you have a LiveJournal account, please spread the word. I certainly wouldn’t object to a link to this post. 🙂