Thursday, February 18, 2010

Winter 2010 GeneaBloggers Games - Day 6

This day seemed like the same routine as before, work, nap, GeneaBlogger Games activity and now the Winter Olympics on TV.  I did have a very productive day working on labeling, and adding descriptions to my documents and photos. Yesterday I wasn't sure how I was going to process my files.  After a good nights sleep, I decided on putting my scanned images into a holding file. That way I would remember to go back after the games and finish my processing them. I did around 60 in all so I covered both tasks.  Here's a recap

Category: "Organize Your Research!"

Task B: Organize at least 20 digital files into folders, label, add metadata, add descriptions, add tags, etc.
Task D: Organize at least 20 digital photos into folders, label, add metadata, add descriptions, add tags, etc.

Earlier this week I finished:
Task E: Create at least 20 data entries in your database, or scan 20 photos, or scan 20 documents.
Task A: Organize at least 20 hard files or ancestral items (books, fabrics, inherited items) into file folders, boxes, envelopes, containers, etc.; archival-quality where appropriate.

So far I have to complete.
Task C: Organize at least 20 photos into photo albums, scrapbooks, collages, protective holders, boxes, etc.Task F: Create a master list of your files and notify your family members of where it is stored.

Since I have completed 4 tasks I have obtained a Diamond Medal. The highest medal, Platinum, is awarded when you have completed 5 or more tasks.  My goal is to complete all 6.

I did have a reader ask for more details on how I am adding labels, metadata, descriptions, and tags, etc. to my digital photos and documents.

Miriam Robbin Midkiff, author of the AnceStories blog, wrote two excellent articles in Dec 2008 on this subject.
Tuesday's Tips: Organizing Your Digital Files
Tuesday's Tips: Organizing Digital Research Notes, Emails, and Reports

Now, I don't name my files exactly the way Miriam does, but after reading her articles you can develop your own method you are comfortable with.  That said this method won't work forever.  I discovered that when I backed up files onto CDs that the information added in the files Summary Tab did not stay.  I lost them because of the difference in file format.  I understand I will have the same issue when I move them over to Vista or Windows 7 also.

To truly have your photo details saved, you need to add details to the IPTC area of the file. Very few programs let you edit and view the IPTC information. My plans are to start using my Heritage Collector program to record true embedded IPTC photo information that will survive with my files. I just need to get a few questions answered before I feel comfortable transitioning from Miriam's Windows XP method of labeling and what I want for the future.

Heritage Collector also has the capability of letting you tag people in your photos and then search for them. I did play with this feature on my 20 photos and it's really simple to do.  As I learn and play more with the Heritage Collector software program I will write my finding in a blog article.

See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!


Miriam said...

Another way of saving the metadata is to create a text (.txt) file by the same name as your photo or document file, and place all the metadata in that. Store the text file in the same folder as the photo or document file. Then the data won't be lost when you transfer from one operating system to another, or when you back up folders to CD.

Happy Organizing!

JL said...

Annotating your photos using Windows File Properties is one of the worst and useless and time-consuming ways of going nowhere. You're not really embedding information, just creating a Windows situation that won't last. As you've found out. Putting metadata in text files is something out of the Dark Ages. I can't even imagine.

Photo Mechanic is the best thing I've ever seen for serious IPTC and GPS processing of images and I can't recommend it highly enough. However, it does cost $150. Juggle that against the time you're wasting not using it. I got years of mish-mashed efforts on 12,000 photos cleaned up in about two weeks.

Since you've already got Heritage Collector, I'd say go with the IPTC options there. If it works for you in an efficient manner. If it doesn't, cut your losses and buy Photo Mechanic. You'll think you've been transported to photograph-annotating heaven. For your friends who are non-techie and need to see your captions, keywords, GPS info, etc tell them to get XnView (free, and yes, there's a portable version.) It's quick and easy and a darn good piece of software. Whatever you do, stay away from Picasa.