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My Annual Revisiting of RM6 Media Issues


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#1 c24m48

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:23 PM

Is there any way to do a bulk import of photos and documents into the Media Gallery? I realise that Media Gallery only creates a link to the original document and folder, and that I would have to go through after the import to add properties and tags etc, but I have so many source docs, and people photos that to do it manually will take me forever.



How do you think the bulk import is going to make much of an improvement in efficiency? You will be selecting an image one at a time for tagging either by browsing or searching the Media Gallery or through Windows Explorer triggered by Add New Media. In both cases, you will have to keep track of which images have been tagged and those that have not.


I'm making my annual attempt to warm up to the way RM6 handles media. About once a year, I try to get excited about the way RM6 (or whatever version of RM is current) deals with media. What usually happens is that I end up feeling like Charlie Brown when Lucy promises not to pull the football away, and then she pulls it away anyway when I try to kick it. And I'm always sorry to sound so negative about RM6's handling of media. But this time around, I feel a good bit more positive than I have felt in the past about linking media into RM6.

This year's efforts to integrate media into RM6 is a part of a larger project where I am trying to revamp some of the ways I handle sources. The way I have handled sources for years has served me well, but I'm hitting a point where there are so many sources that I need a better system. Plus, I really do want to be as compliant as possible with footnotes and bibliographies as suggested by Evidence Explained (even though I will do so while still using the standard Free Form source template). To this end, I'm trying out the idea of becoming an extreme splitter of sources, and as a part of being an extreme splitter of sources I'm trying to link all images to a Master Source rather than to Source Details. As such, I can make any changes I need to make to a Master Source, including changes in media files, and the changes will automatically apply to all citations of that master source.

My test project for this effort is the collection of dozens (if not hundreds, eventually) of courthouse marriage records from Knox County, Tennessee. Even though I live in Knox County, there is no particular advantage in me actually going to the Knox County Archives in person because the clerks there have to process my requests. The public cannot directly handle the marriage books (for those books that have not been microfilmed) or the microfilm (for those marriage books that have been microfilmed). So if I go to the Archives in person, I end up waiting forever. So instead, I e-mail my requests in, they e-mail me back whether they found the records and the cost, I mail them a check (they are eager to be able to take online payments, but politics has prevented them from doing so thus far), and they mail me the records as photocopies on paper. I scan the records to JPG files, and go from there.

Typically, there are three pieces of paper and hence three JPG files for each marriage record - the minister's license, the couple's license which is returned to the courthouse by the minister, and the original application which contains the information which is the most genealogically valuable. Part of my new attempt to "kick the football" is a new and more robust Windows folder structure for storing these images and a new and more robust naming convention for these images. That being said, I have the following comments.
  • On bulk loading the images into RM6. I would not wish to bulk load dozens or hundreds of images into RM6 and then go back to the Media Gallery to process them. I continue to find that using the Media Gallery does not scale up well beyond a few dozen images, and I avoid using it at all costs. So instead, I simply Add New Media -> (Media Type -> Image) -> (Media Location -> Disk). It then is very easy to find the images in my Windows folder structure and to add them to RM6.
  • On adding image properties such as Caption, Description, Date, etc. It seems to me that such properties are most appropriate for photographs of people or places - that sort of thing - and are not really needed for images of documents provided that the file naming convention for documents is suitably descriptive. It's very time consuming to put in the properties, and I'm all for saving time rather than spending more time. And with extreme source splitting, I'm only going to have one link (what RM6 calls a media tag) for each document anyway. So I just don't add any properties for these images. (I do obviously add properties for images that are photographs of people and places).
  • More on bulk loading the images into RM6. But having said that I would not wish to bulk load dozens or hundreds of such images into RM6, I would dearly love to "bulk load" something like three or so images into RM6 at the same time, namely the three images I have from the Knox County Archives for each marriage. I have to run through the Add New Media dialog three times for each marriage instead of just doing it once and selecting all three files from the Windows "File->Open" dialog. Being able to load all three at the same time would really save some time, and for these kinds of files there would be no requirement to "go back and process the properties for each of the files" or to "go back and finish tagging each of the files". Once the three files were loaded, they would be tagged to the Master Source, no properties are necessary (or even desirable), and I would be done.
  • List and thumbnail formats. The RM6 Media Album window can list files as either thumbnails or in a List format. In addition, it really needs what Windows calls a Details format with more file details than are available than are available in the List format. But more importantly, I find the thumbnail format almost completely useless for images of documents. Yet, the thumbnail format is default and I can't change it. Even when I change to List format, the Media Album window reverts back to the default of thumbnail format upon the slightest provocation. If I change it, it needs to remember that I changed it and not change it back.
  • TIF and PDF formats. Just within the last week, the Knox County Archive now offers the opportunity to receive my images via e-mail in TIF or PDF format. This is a good thing. I don't have to get the images on paper and scan them, and it makes all my transactions with the Archives electronic instead of on paper except for the one remaining glitch of having to send them a check instead of doing an online payment. But these are multi-image TIF files or multi-image PDF files. RM6 supports TIF files as images, but it does not support multi-image TIF files as images. RM6 does not support PDF files as images. So for both TIF and PDF files, I have to load them into RM6 as files rather than images. Curiously, I find this to be a good thing. No, I should say that I find this to be a great thing. It forces RM6 to use an external viewer for both file types (in my case, Irfanview for TIF files and Acrobat Reader for PDF files). The external viewer does a vastly better job of rendering images than does RM6 itself, and the external viewer opens in a window that is independent of RM6 (also a very good thing). So I'm a happy camper on TIF and PDF files. Indeed, it makes me think I should go back and remove my JPG files from RM6 as images an link to them as files instead so that JPG files will be rendered in an external viewer. Please notice that I'm not suggesting that RM6 should do a better job of rendering images (they are really pretty bad, much grainier than what you get from an external viewer). I really don't think we want RM6 to try to be a better word processor than Microsoft Word or to be a better image viewer than IrfanView or Adobe Acrobat, etc. I think we want RM6 to be a better genealogy program than anything else on the market.
So I'm actually a very happy camper with linking images of marriage records to Master Sources. The only things I want fixed are to be able to load more than one related image at the same Windows File->Open operation, and to be able to default the list of images to List or better yet to a new option called Details.

Jerry

#2 Renee Zamora

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:44 AM

Conf

So I'm actually a very happy camper with linking images of marriage records to Master Sources. The only things I want fixed are to be able to load more than one related image at the same Windows File->Open operation, and to be able to default the list of images to List or better yet to a new option called Details.


Confirming enhancement requests are in our tracking system.
Renee
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#3 zhangrau

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 06:17 PM

I also find the media gallery to be inefficient. I have approx. 12,000 images in a set of approx. 140 hierarchical folders on my hard drive, and the vast majority are linked to one or more RM6 database records (usually to the fact citation, occasionally to the source citation, rarely to both). For example: images such as birth and death records are tagged only to the individual, marriages are tagged to the marriage fact (thus both individuals), census images are tagged to each individual in the family group on that census page.
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File | Properties shows 9,406 multimedia items and 20,817 multimedia links.
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By the way, I don't use ANY shared facts, since they are not suported completely when working with GEDCOM files.
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Because the RM media gallery defaults to thumbnails, and doesn't seem to provide a way to group files to match my hard drive organization, I seem to be stuck with an alphabetical list of ALL of my media files (and waiting for all of those thumbnails to refresh...). Ugghhh. I always tag images and files by selecting Add new media, from Disk. That way, the organization of my hard drive folders helps me to select the correct item to tag. My folders contain JPG, PNG, PDF, etc., so that the organization is by content, not by media type.
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I might consider using the media gallery if there was an obvious advantage in organization or speed of use. Currently, I don't see either.

#4 c24m48

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:51 AM

Because the RM media gallery defaults to thumbnails, and doesn't seem to provide a way to group files to match my hard drive organization, I seem to be stuck with an alphabetical list of ALL of my media files (and waiting for all of those thumbnails to refresh...).


Despite being a long time complainer about the Media Gallery, I do feel compelled to point out one good thing that can help out a little bit with the problem of having one humongously long alphabetical list off ALL media files. Namely, there is a search capability. It would probably be better described as a filtering capability. You can enter a character string in a seach box and after executing the search you will have a filtered list containing only those items containing the specified character string. Nested subfolders it isn't, but it's a lot better than nothing.

What I don't know because the Media Gallery is so offputting that I've never gone beyond a couple of hundred media items is whether selecting the List option for displaying the list of items or specifying a search filter to reduce the size of the list of items does anything to speed up the time required for the thumbnails to refresh. It would surely be helpful to be able to default the display to List format instead of Thumbnails format.

Jerry

#5 Laura

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:47 PM

We can go to Tools, Program options and uncheck Build thumbnails when opening media gallery. The thumbnails don't refresh when you open Media Gallery. I have this box unchecked and only refresh the Gallery every so often usually after I have added several new media..

If you add a new media to the Media Gallery there is still a thumbnail shown, and you can work with the Media Gallery or Media Album as usual.

Personally, I find it much easier and less a waste of time to tag [link] media which is already in the Media Gallery, finding it with the Search feature, than I did linking media separately from Windows Explorer and having to navigate folders and find the right media everytime.

I skip having to navigate the path in Windows Explorer to find the media that is sorted alphabetically in the folder anyway.

Media Gallery, Search searches both the file name and caption and then limits the list or thumbnails shown to the results of the search which also makes it easier for me to select the file(s) I want even if the files are in different folders in the hard drive.
Laura

The following was overheard at a recent high society party...
"My ancestry goes all the way back to Alexander the Great," said one lady. She then turned to a second woman and asked, "How far does your family go back?"
"I don't know," was the reply. "All of our records were lost in the flood."
-on various web sites-

#6 Don Newcomb

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 07:51 AM

GenealogyBank will display an article or page of a newspaper as a PDF file. I then highlight and copy the section I'm interested in, paste it into Irfanview and save it a1s a GIF or JPG to my genealogy documents subfolder. This way it's available in RM. This works well for most small articles like obits and birth announcements. If the document is much larger (e.g. multipage) it should probably be entered in the master source list and treated as a book.

#7 Vyger

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:17 PM

I have been doing a lot of program feature comparisons so firstly I would like to say that the RM Media Gallery is currently one of the best available IMO. That being said I have to add that there are many additions to the functionality that could help users manage those ever increasing media libraries. My enhancement ideas are formed from my own working and those things I often wish I could do within RM.

The search facility is a great help but does depend on a structured file naming format, without the effort in users can hardly expect to get satisfactory results out. Rootsmagic could incorporate further file type categorization like Cemetery, Photo's, Document, Census, Video etc and allow for some user defined categories to provide filtered results, a simple drop down selection list would display any particular category to help selection.

WISH#1 - Search selection drop down for ANY or ALL to allow selection based on multiple non contiguous components. In other words in the case of all show me results for "John" & "Doe" & "Census"

The above on its own would work well for me as many years ago I adopted a structured file naming convention but some users would probably prefer the categorization option.

I have posted this many times before but I collect media, screen snippets, scans etc much faster than I can practically link them to RM, besides collecting data and linking them to RM are essentially two different tasks IMO. What I previously did was save all new items to a "to-be-linked" folder and then work through them at a later date. This then involved a further discipline where I would link an item at a future date and then remove it from the "to-be-linked" folder to the appropriate folder to much work. :(

WISH#2 - Provide "Find Unlinked Media" utility under Tools and use the existing Fix Broken Media Links folder selection criteria. This would compare the RM MediaTable to the file contents of the selected folder or path and display the results (files currently unlinked) in a list view in Media Gallery. The user could simply just select each UNLINKED file in turn, click the TAG MEDIA and select person, fact or place to make the media linkage more complete.

I wrote an Excel workbook to do just this for my own benefit and I believe TomH has posted it for download on his own site. It is a very simple task to accomplish and I do really hope this functionality becomes available within RM in the not too distant future.

The bottom line here is that with ever growing media galleries from online sources the management of media becomes an ever increasing task, we are no longer dealing with a dozen of grannies family photo's here <_< . No user can expect RM to somehow overcome poor folder and file naming disciplines but where these are robust and in place programs like RM need to provide management tools to extract and filter that data and the program that does it best will have an edge.

Software Comparisons - Place Management - How other software packages stack up.
Media Gallery (a critical look) - Written when RM4 was introduced but still applies today.

Relaxation is the key to life and this is where I get some time to relax and catch up on my hobby and research s the key to life and this is where I get some time to catch up on me genealogy work and research


#8 TomH

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:36 PM

I wrote an Excel workbook to do just this for my own benefit and I believe TomH has posted it for download on his own site. It is a very simple task to accomplish and I do really hope this functionality becomes available within RM in the not too distant future.

Here is the download page: http://sqlitetoolsfo... Attach Utility
and I agree with your Wishes.

Tom user of RM6314 FTM2014 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celtiwiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix_tiny.png app, a growing bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#9 Vyger

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 03:49 AM

Thinking a little more about media functionality the Media Type Selection on the Add new Media UI is an unnecessary and probably often ignored step.

If my wish#2 came about this step would not be available however Rootsmagic should decide on the media type by the file extension rather than depending on the user to make the correct selection. This would remove one step from the Add new Media process and also make the MultimediaTable more accurate.

TomH has a SQLite query that does a good job of correcting the MultimediaTable where this MediaType is incorrect and does so simply by analysis of the file extension.

So just another little simple to achieve little tweak that would make Media handling a little quicker and the resulting database entry more accurate, I will put my magnifying glass down for a while now, it's there if anyone else wants to use it. :D

Software Comparisons - Place Management - How other software packages stack up.
Media Gallery (a critical look) - Written when RM4 was introduced but still applies today.

Relaxation is the key to life and this is where I get some time to relax and catch up on my hobby and research s the key to life and this is where I get some time to catch up on me genealogy work and research


#10 Vyger

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 04:04 AM

Last one for this morning, I promise.

Where a media file link is broken and remains unresolved through the Fix Broken Media Links I would suggest that clicking the Properties button goes directly to Change Media File opening the directory path where the original file existed.

This would allow and aid the user in finding the file if it has been renamed and provide a more intuitive functionality for reconciling broken media links.

Software Comparisons - Place Management - How other software packages stack up.
Media Gallery (a critical look) - Written when RM4 was introduced but still applies today.

Relaxation is the key to life and this is where I get some time to relax and catch up on my hobby and research s the key to life and this is where I get some time to catch up on me genealogy work and research


#11 Laura

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 11:04 AM

When changing the name of a media file, I do it from within Media Gallery, Properties, Change Media file, The folder that media file is in opens and I change the name.

I don:t have a broken link due to a name change which can not be found by Fix broken media links.
Laura

The following was overheard at a recent high society party...
"My ancestry goes all the way back to Alexander the Great," said one lady. She then turned to a second woman and asked, "How far does your family go back?"
"I don't know," was the reply. "All of our records were lost in the flood."
-on various web sites-

#12 Vyger

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:42 PM

When changing the name of a media file, I do it from within Media Gallery, Properties, Change Media file, The folder that media file is in opens and I change the name.

I don:t have a broken link due to a name change which can not be found by Fix broken media links.


Hmmm, you are quite correct so as Rootsmagic does not open the file path stored in Media Gallery where a broken link exists I would consider this a bug.

I would contend that the previously stored media folder would be the first place to look for any file which may have been renamed or is actually missing.

Software Comparisons - Place Management - How other software packages stack up.
Media Gallery (a critical look) - Written when RM4 was introduced but still applies today.

Relaxation is the key to life and this is where I get some time to relax and catch up on my hobby and research s the key to life and this is where I get some time to catch up on me genealogy work and research


#13 Laura

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 02:36 PM

The point I was trying to make where changing file names is to not create a problem in the first place.

In fact, if you aren't moving very many files, that could be done from within Change media file for each file also without creating broken links.
Laura

The following was overheard at a recent high society party...
"My ancestry goes all the way back to Alexander the Great," said one lady. She then turned to a second woman and asked, "How far does your family go back?"
"I don't know," was the reply. "All of our records were lost in the flood."
-on various web sites-

#14 hawk527

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:06 PM

This may be an "off the wall" question but if the path was stored in a "relative" form [../roots/media] instead of an "absolute" form [c:/my space/my documents/roots/media] then loosing media references should be ease to find. Am I missing something here? thanks -- Jon

#15 c24m48

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:58 PM

This may be an "off the wall" question but if the path was stored in a "relative" form [../roots/media] instead of an "absolute" form [c:/my space/my documents/roots/media] then loosing media references should be ease to find. Am I missing something here? thanks -- Jon


Relative links are a much wished for feature.

Jerry