In the last two Research Roundups, we talked about collecting the written word—in the form of personal papers and email. Today, we’ll talk about how to gather photographs and make sense out of the billions and billions of images you have. The wonderful thing about FHnotebook is how you can organize your files into your specific notebooks, storing pictures next to documents and audio files, and you can further label each file with category tags to make them searchable.
First, and most importantly, find a systematic way to gather and digitize your hard copy pictures. Even if you don’t want to spend the time or money to create beautiful digital copies, you should still document your hard copies for several reasons: 1) Security: storing and backing up your files in the cloud means that you’ll always have access to copies of your files, no matter what happens to your computer or home; 2) Storage space: instead of keeping thousands of important photos readily accessible in boxes and file cabinets, you can store them all digitally in your FHnotebook, which will use less space and be more easily accessible; and 3) Organization: not only can you search and find specific items more easily with FHnotebook, but you can add category tags to pictures to group related images in multiple ways, helping you make crucial connections in your family history research.
If you want to quickly capture your precious photographs, you can use FHmedia on your smartphone or tablet. Simply take a picture of any photograph you come across and immediately sync it with FHnotebook.
At my parents’ house, we have a whole bookcase full of old albums. It’s such a large quantity of photographs that I get overwhelmed by the process of digitizing everything, especially since I would probably damage some photos as I tried to get them out of the album pages.
If you’re concerned—as I am—that you’ll ruin photos if you try to remove them from albums, you don’t have to take the pictures out of the album to document them. Take a snapshot of whole pages of content, then add notes to the image on FHnotebook, including category tags to document each photograph on the album page. If you are systematic to begin with, you’ll be able to effectively document and tag each photograph, so nothing slips through the cracks.
These days, most pictures are never printed out as hard copies, so you probably already have most photographs digitized. However, you still need to have a way to locate the pictures you’ve stored on your computer. Use tags in FHnotebook to help you further identify pictures after you save them in a relevant notebook. You’ll be able to keep track of your pictures more thoroughly this way. Reread the post on categories to help you decide what category tags you want to include.
As you are collecting photos, don’t be stingy—share them with your friends and family! Use FHnotebook to share your newly organized photos, and in addition, you can share via social network: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. You never know what connections you could make with distant relatives! And when you find these relatives, you can collaborate on the family history information you’ve gathered and stored in FHnotebook.
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