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Media Items in Reports/website

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#1 GeoffB

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 03:07 AM

Way back in December 2011, I posted my concerns about the absence of any means by which more than one media item per individual can be included in any narrative report (and even then without any descriptive text and at a maximum size of 5 inches square – pointless for items such as a certificate or census record which are unreadable). Although apparently listed for attention, this gaping hole in RM’s capabilities has yet to be filled in.

Like many, my database runs to thousands of individuals with a correspondingly large number of media items. I am very keen to publish my data so that it can be read and easily accessed by others – preferably in hard form but at least electronically. However, this task is extremely daunting if you try to insert all the media items into narrative reports so that they are associated alongside the text data to which they relate.

Although the ‘Publisher’ and website facilities are useful, they fall far short of what is required. At best you are left having to edit Word, pdf or html files to ‘paste in’ hundreds of pictures and their descriptive fields to your narrative reports. This can be a huge and often complex task and worse - one that has to be repeated if any data changes, since any updated narrative triggers the need to repeat all these countless edits.

My solution has been simply to put off publishing and to await the necessary changes to RM – but perhaps I’m waiting in vain!

I suggested that for each media item there needs to be the option (perhaps by modifying the existing "primary image" and "include in scrapbook" options) to indicate if it should be included in any narrative report and in what format (ie if it should appear on a separate page and, if so what orientation and size). Then, for example a birth certificate can be shown alongside the relevant text data; other media items being printed with the data to which they are tagged.

I cannot judge how big a programming job this might be but an alternative ‘quicker fix’ that would offer a partial solution to electronic or pdf publishing would seem to be to add to the fields included in any narrative report a link to any image (& its associated descriptive information) which is tagged to that field. I guess this might require an additional ‘media folder’ to be specified under Program Options/Folders.

Do others agree that such improvements are required or can they offer other solutions?

#2 Jack

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:21 AM

I don't know if I would ever want to print publish all of the media I have collected but, I agree there should be a way for attached media to be easily published when creating websites.
Jack

a posteriori

#3 Renee Zamora

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:55 AM

Confirming enhancement request is in our tracking system.
Renee
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#4 TomH

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 09:45 AM

I think most everyone agrees with you GeoffB. These are longstanding, unfulfilled wishes. Frustratingly, we know that the underlying database structure was designed at least 4-5 years ago to support more features than have been brought to the surface since.

Edit: for website generation, I suppose a possible workaround might be some sort of unique pattern involving the private braces ("{" and "}") in a Note containing a path to an image that when outputted to static HTML could be searched/replaced with the appropriate tags, something along the lines of the workaround I have suggested for embedding citation references in Notes. I'm not well enough acquainted with RTF syntax to be able to suggest that it might work there, too.

Edited by TomH, 04 September 2012 - 09:53 AM.

Tom user of RM7550 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#5 Larry D. Hunt

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:12 PM

I am new to rootsmagic forum. I started with Family Origins 5.0 back in 1997, I am currently using RootsMagic 5.0.4.1. I have created a basic website with RootsMagic for years but know I am interested in adding images of birth, death, marriage records. From this thread it sounds like this is not possible, is that correct? Are there any decent work a rounds? What GeoffB describes sounds very painful.

Thanks,
Larry

#6 TomH

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:46 PM

The only output from RootsMagic that has images other than the Primary image for a Person or Family is the Scrapbook report for which you choose one only of a Person, Family, Source or Place and it will output all the associated images for that selection. You can save it to RTF or PDF but not to HTML. From Word you can save the RTF as HTML but that may not be of much use anyway as none of the images are linked from any of the RM generated website pages. The Scrapbook is a dumb report, i.e., it is not capable of doing anything smarter than what you tell it to do - no smart layout taking into account the orientation and size of the source image. Moreover, captions and descriptions get easily cut off (no word wrap on captions, anyway). I find that one column per page and a max of 2 rows is a practical limit.

The only workaround I can think of is what I described in my prior post - it would be pretty cumbersome, I think. Otherwise, find another genealogy software that does a better job with websites and export your database to it.

Tom user of RM7550 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#7 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 07:32 PM

The only output from RootsMagic that has images other than the Primary image for a Person or Family is the Scrapbook report for which you choose one only of a Person, Family, Source or Place and it will output all the associated images for that selection.


The following experience may have been as far back as Family Origins, but if not Family Origins with RM1. I attached an image of a tombstone to a burial fact, naively expecting the image to appear in a narrative report along with narrative associated with the burial fact. Needless to say, this expectation wasn't met. I'm not sure if that expectation was then or is now a reasonable expectation - is that really a feature you would want? But at the time I tried to get a tombstone image to print in a narrative report, I thought I wanted such a feature. And I couldn't think of any reason to attach the image to the burial fact unless the image was going to print out in a narrative report. After all, I already had my tombstone images and all my other images well organized outside of RM.

Except for a photograph attached to an individual for the purposes of appearing in a narrative report, I have totally quit linking any images to any kinds of objects within RM. I gradually and reluctantly through the years have concluded that for me there is a huge amount of effort and virtually no benefit to using images any other way within RM than one image per person for printing in narrative reports. I acknowledge and respect that there are extremely expert and thoughtful users who do find image management within RM to be very useful to them.

Jerry

#8 GeoffB

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 03:13 AM

I am grateful for the comments so far and they do, perhaps, throw light on the issue and may be important in how RM compares to rival programs.

These days, digital imaging and on-line access to censuses, military records, wills etc are greatly facilitating the retrieval of such items, alongside original photos and scans etc.

My guess is that many users of RM are happily beavering away ate their research and using the undoubtedly powerful and user-friendly capabilities of the program to record and organise their data – including a range of images and other media. As Jerry highlights, many, I’m sure may mistakenly believe that when they get to the point where they want to make their researches available to family, friends and perhaps the wider world, they will be able to generate a range of charts and reports (printed or electronically) which outputs their data in text form and associates that with the certificates, documents, maps, photographs etc. This in most cases provides the evidence and the ‘proof’ of the data but also – for me at least – adds the essential interest and spice to the whole story which would otherwise just boring dialogue.

However, this is simply not possible. Why restrict users to having the ability to insert one media item? And which one do you use? – presumably a portrait – but of the individual as a baby, at school or in old age? Indeed why include any images – especially as you cannot include a caption/date/source etc. I am not suggesting that reports/websites must include all available images – merely that users should have the option to select those they do want and how (size/orientation/captions etc) they are output.

I hope this doesn’t sound patronising, but I come at this from a very British viewpoint. My own family researches benefits substantially from having a wide range of image records of documents frequently stretching back centuries and even the comparison of signatures etc may be vital in proving a fact. I am constantly finding unsuspected connections eg relatives living in adjacent houses on census records that had I merely recorded the target data I or those I share the data with would have missed. I may often need help in deciphering mediaeval Latin. In short, integrating my images with narrative is essential.

I guess that as has been said we each have our own approach to how we use our genealogical software but doubtless would wish to have the option to include some or a selection of media items if and when it is appropriate. I sometimes think we can get too hung up with the precise syntax of how we go about storing our information rather than what is surely the point – making our researches more accessible now and for the future.

#9 TomH

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 12:06 PM

Even the free Legacy 7.5 Standard Edition can output a "Preferred" picture associated with an event to a RTF file from its Descendant Narrative report, along with the content of the RM caption and description as text enclosed in square brackets. You can then re-size, crop, re-position in MS Word and move the text caption/description to the Word caption. It appears that the Deluxe Edition (fee required) can also output a "Preferred" picture associated with a master source and one with its citation. I exported a 'standard' GEDCOM from RM5 and imported it to Legacy for the experiment. Of course, citations and some other things suffered on the way. Similarly, event images are included with the HTML version of this report.

Tom user of RM7550 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.






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