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Scanned files and RootsMagic


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#1 WaylonCovil

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 02:03 PM

I'm just getting started with RootsMagic and I have a question about scanned files.

I'm starting to scan photos, letters and other documents and want to attach them to specific people in RootsMagic.

I've only done this a couple of times so far and it appears that when I attach a file, I need to specify to RootsMagic the location of the file and it looks like RootsMagic just creates a pointer in it's database to the file.

I was thinking that attaching a file would put it into the RootsMagic database but this doesn't appear to be the case.

So...

If RootsMagic is just pointing to a location on my HardDrive, this indicates to me that I need to have a decent system of scanning and filing and naming of my scanned files.

Would you agree?

My main concern about essentially just putting links to places on my harddrive is what happens when I need to move stuff to a different computer? Will all those links break?

I'm looking for best practices here.

 

I noticed that RootsMagic also has something called Media Gallery which I haven't tried yet.

 

Would I be better off using Media Gallery?

 

I'm thinking that some of these scans I'll want to update as sources to FamilySearch/Ancestry using the RootsMagic integration.

 

Thanks for your help.

 

 



#2 bgellisshapiro

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 05:27 PM

Hi!  I have many years of experience working with databases, and can assure you that having media linked is much better than having it attached.  The database itself if basically a text file, and is a relatively small file.  If you attach a media file to it it becomes very large.  If you attach 20 or 30 media files it becomes unwieldy.  Having it merely link to images on your hard drive adds just a tiny bit more text to the database.

 

The Media Gallery is merely a presentation of thumbnail size images of each of the media you have already linked to.  Thumbnails are quite small so don't make the database blow up in size.

 

When you need to move your database and it's media to another computer you need to create a new folder to match the same location you had the media in on the old computer.  Alternatively, you can run Media Gallery/Tools/Fix Broken Links, which should find and re-link the media on the new computer.

 

And yes, you would probably find it useful to organize your media into subfolders.  People use different organizational methods that work best for them, so you will make sense to you.

 

Yes, when you scan use a high resolution, this way you can blow it up if you need to see it closer.  Also naming the files consistently is very useful.  For example, don't name something "Grampa Joe" as you may end up having a dozen or more people in the database with a name of Joe/Joseph.  The filename should also indicate what the media is (census, birth certificate, tombstone, newspaper clipping, photograph etc).  I like to include name, birth and death years within parentheses, to start the name of the file.

 

Hope this helped!



#3 zhangrau

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 07:42 PM

Good advice from bgellisshapiro

 

Some RM users organize their media files by family groups, some geographically, and others by content.  I'm in the "content" group. Here's a screencap of my current subfolders. One very important thing for me to consider when generating my file organization scheme, is that Windows limits the TOTAL drive:/path/filename to 256 characters. By using a shallow, but wide, folder structure, I minimize the number of characters used to define the path, leaving the largest possible number of characters for the actual file name. Every media filename should be unique, so that the Media Gallery > Tools > Fix broken links procedure can correctly match files to stored links.

 

20170121_RM_media_subfolders.jpg

 

Edited 13 Apr 2020 to update image link:

20200413-RM-media-subfolders.png



#4 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 12:30 AM

Generally speaking, any organizational structure you create on one computer for your media files can be replicated later on another computer when you upgrade or replace your computer. But you will need to copy the files from computer to computer without using RM and then point RM on the new computer to the file structure on the new computer. RM does offer a backup and restore mechanism that will backup and restore your media files along with your RM database, but doing so will not preserve your file structure. It will put all your files in one big folder on the new computer. So I think for most users, copying the files from computer to computer yourself would be a preferred procedure.

 

My media file structure is fairly similar to zhangrau's but I don't have as many different categories. I have adopted the practice that I don't have a fact unless I have a source and I don't have a source unless I have a media file. So my sources and source templates and files structures mirror each other almost exactly.

 

Jerry



#5 KFN

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 08:18 AM

My system is very different. Since every piece of media I acquire is first received into my catalog they each get a unique accession or catalog number. This number is used to store the file on my server, I use attributes within each file to identify the contents and the file can be placed in any directory since the directory of folder name has no bearing on the content. This is how libraries, museums and galleries store images. I also have a database that maintains and indexs the attributes.

#6 JimDavis79

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 12:25 PM

Good advice from bgellisshapiro

 

Some RM users organize their media files by family groups, some geographically, and others by content.  I'm in the "content" group. Here's a screencap of my current subfolders. One very important thing for me to consider when generating my file organization scheme, is that Windows limits the TOTAL drive:/path/filename to 256 characters. By using a shallow, but wide, folder structure, I minimize the number of characters used to define the path, leaving the largest possible number of characters for the actual file name. Every media filename should be unique, so that the Media Gallery > Tools > Fix broken links procedure can correctly match files to stored links.

--------------------------------------------------

 

zhangrau, Windows 10 lets you change the path length limit to more than 260 characters.  See http://betanews.com/...ths-windows-10/ for one how-to, and there are others.  Even so, a more shallow directory structure may be simpler to navigate.


Best regards, Jim

"When you shake my family tree, nuts fall out."


#7 JimDavis79

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 12:27 PM

My system is very different. Since every piece of media I acquire is first received into my catalog they each get a unique accession or catalog number. This number is used to store the file on my server, I use attributes within each file to identify the contents and the file can be placed in any directory since the directory of folder name has no bearing on the content. This is how libraries, museums and galleries store images. I also have a database that maintains and indexs the attributes.

 

KFN, can you please say more on this?  I'd like to consider it for my own file management.


Best regards, Jim

"When you shake my family tree, nuts fall out."


#8 zhangrau

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 05:45 PM

 

zhangrau, Windows 10 lets you change the path length limit to more than 260 characters.  See http://betanews.com/...ths-windows-10/ for one how-to, and there are others.  Even so, a more shallow directory structure may be simpler to navigate.

 

A good thing to know about Win10. I wonder if that carries over to CDs and DVDs made or accessed under Win10?

 

Since I'm still using Win7, I'll stick with the 256-character limit.



#9 JimDavis79

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 07:22 AM

 

A good thing to know about Win10. I wonder if that carries over to CDs and DVDs made or accessed under Win10?

 

Since I'm still using Win7, I'll stick with the 256-character limit.

 

 Zhangrau, indeed you could run into issues if long path lengths (from other sources) are accessed on Win7.  One could copy those files to locations with shorter path lengths, but media links might break.


Best regards, Jim

"When you shake my family tree, nuts fall out."


#10 Vyger

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 08:20 AM

And yes, you would probably find it useful to organize your media into subfolders.  People use different organizational methods that work best for them, so you will make sense to you.

 

This is a frequent topic and a very important one to get right from the outset as it can become a big time waster changing course later. I would simply think of Rootsmagic as the Index Card system as basically that is what it is.

 

Try to decide on a folder and file naming system which is descriptive and as close to unique as possible and rename files before linking to Rootsmagic. Reorganizing the folders at a later date is not a problem as Rootsmagic can fix those broken links, it can't find a file you decided to hide through renaming.

 

Make use of meta data on the files themselves and try to maintain a robust system which can be managed on your computer alone without the dependence of a program like Rootsmagic.

 

I wrote some stuff up here with my views on Media Gallery, whilst it is years old now things in Media Gallery have not changed much. On that like I explain the naming system I decided on which is human understandable and pretty unique. As this subject comes up pretty often I intended to put together a short video on the way I work which works for me but could be taken to many more levels depending on how detailed you wish to be.

 

Take the views expressed earlier on this thread and take time to decide on a system which suits you and will stand the test of time.


Keeping ones customers and their important views at a distance is never a good approach

 

User of Family Historian 7.0, Rootsmagic 7.6.3

 

Excel to Gedcom conversion - simple getting started tutorials here

 

Root


#11 KFN

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 10:35 PM

JimDavis,

What else would you like to know? All things (books, people, photos, documents, etc.) are catalogued using an accession numbering sequence. This number is reflected in the SOURce record, INDIvidual record, and OBJEct record in the GEDCOM database using a REFN tag. All paper and electronic documents are stored with this number. Since the name of the electronic record contains no user recognizable values (for example: JohnDoe-Age50.jpg in most people's file name becomes 20160105.0003.jpg in mine) the file can be stored anywhere. Since I have a database that reads and indexes the real file attributes and notes/text about the image or file, I don't care about the directory/folder structure the file can be stored anywhere. I'm a programmer, photographer, and librarian so I use some commercial software, and also wrote some as well to support this effort. I believe however, the database that comes with higher end Adobe products can do the same thing.

EDIT: The attributes (aka "metadata") I talk about are in some cases what Vyger discusses in his "enhancement #2" above, but are also the one that a user can define themselves using EXIF tags in photos.

Adobe has its own ISO standard called XMP that can be used with PDF and jpeg. I am in the process of diving into the code to update my database to this standard if possible.

#12 WaylonCovil

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 10:56 AM

Everyone,

 

Thanks for the great suggestions.

 

I will give this some considerable thought before getting too far into it.

 

Expanding this topic a bit, families probably have a lot of material in the form of photos and letters that are in hard copy. How do you decide what you scan to your computer? And if you scan everything, do you index everything or just pick a few items to add to the "official" family history?

 

- Waylon.



#13 KFN

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 08:00 PM

I scan or photograph as much as I can (for back up purposes) but not all of it gets associated with family, or source records in the database. This would include items directly associated with family members, like hand made items, letters, art, homes, etc, as well as copies of source material, books, articles, census, etc. Each item gets a catalog entry for reference.

#14 RobertL

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 06:56 AM

I agree with. KFN. I Scan everything I can for preservation purposes. I also try to restore, enhance or improve old photos and docs where age or lack of proper storage has taken its toll.

#15 baluo

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 07:16 AM

As a (relative) RM7 newbie in practical work, I am trialing utilising the RM ID numbers, both for source references and for person related files, assuming that the RM person ID will never change (hopefully).  One of the reasons why I started looking into this system was the repeated use of the same name combinations, or even name changes (here in Australia during and after WWI & II), and I did not want to extend file names by the person's death and birth dates.

 

Sources:

e.g.   [ 2207_18730924_immi_Woodside, JS # Passenger List ]

= [ RM ID _ event date _ type _ name _ # template ]

 

files:

e.g. [ 1316_18420200_voyage_Schürmann, Friedr.pdf ]

= [ RM Person ID _ date _ type _ name ]

which I also gather in folders labeled by [ RM ID _ name ]

 

This keeps all the person related sources together, more or less chronologically, but easier to find if needed.  A problem are docs referring to several people, and I have not made up my mind to either copy and rename them or simply use a double ID (primary and secondary person, e.g. in marriage certificates).  The system certainly helps grouping the sources as I can't simply search for / type a string of letters (e.g. name) and get a listing of the appropriate entries.  (This only seems to work with the first few letters of an entry.)  And I realised that the Person RM ID almost always is at hand somewhere in the program. 

 

Most likely I'll do the same with multimedia files, but have inherited a database with a detached set of several hundreds of images all named by .... (partial) names in all possible variations.  So this is on the backburner ...

 

If you have any thoughts about such a system, I'd be glad to hear.

Many thanks, Gerhard



#16 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 08:29 AM

As a (relative) RM7 newbie in practical work, I am trialing utilising the RM ID numbers, both for source references and for person related files, assuming that the RM person ID will never change (hopefully).  

 

That's not a very safe assumption. The RM ID numbers are really internal RM numbers that don't mean anything outside of RM and which can change if you are not very, very careful.

The numbers won't change inside your existing RM database unless you do a merge of two identical people with different numbers. In that case, one of the two numbers will be retained and the other of the two numbers will be deleted. But if you ever need to copy or move any of your people to a different database, the numbers can definitely change.

 

Jerry


 



#17 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 08:39 AM

By the way, my file names a such things as smith_john_andrew_death_certificate.jpg except that I do sometimes extend the name with dates such as smith_john_andrew_death_certificate_1925.jpg or smith_john_andrew_death_certificate_1925_01_14.jpg etc. when I need to avoid ambiguity. In fact, I'm beginning to include the dates even when they are not strictly speaking necessary, just to be consistent.

With one significant exception, all my files are named as person_name_record_type.jpg. The one significant exception is census records where multiple people and multiple families can be recorded in the same image. For such things, my file names are things like census_us_tn_anderson_1830_p174a.jpg or census_us_tn_anderson_1940_dist09_ed1-14_p239a.jpg  Notice that more recent U.S. censuses require more information to identify the census pages than do the earlier censuses.

 

Jerry



#18 baluo

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 08:55 AM

 

That's not a very safe assumption. The RM ID numbers are really internal RM numbers that don't mean anything outside of RM and which can change if you are not very, very careful.

The numbers won't change inside your existing RM database unless you do a merge of two identical people with different numbers. In that case, one of the two numbers will be retained and the other of the two numbers will be deleted. But if you ever need to copy or move any of your people to a different database, the numbers can definitely change.

 

Jerry

 

 

Hi Jerry,

yes, I was afraid this would be an answer I might receive.  I am aware that this system only makes sense within my own work environment and does not mean much outside, in particular for databases by other programs.  

 

May I ask: 

What actually happens with the person's RM ID when I import datasets from another RM database?  Let's say, a fellow researcher on the same clan sends me a dataset. 

 

I assume, the system would not allow possible double IDs (i.e. the same ID number twice) and will assign a new ID number to each person.  Correct?  If there are double IDs by the same number, which one will be changed -- the imported dataset or the already existing ID?

 

And if the RM ID is too unstable in this regard, is there any other similar option?  G



#19 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 09:09 AM

There cannot be duplicate RM ID's in RM. In the language of database design, the RM ID's are primary keys and therefore must be unique. The uniqueness is enforced by RM and you cannot override it or otherwise mess it up. Also, you cannot choose the numbers as you add people to your database. The numbering is completely automatic. It's actually managed by the underlying database engine and not even by RM itself.

 

If you import into an existing database, all the existing individuals will keep their ID's and all the imported people will get new ID's. That's true no matter where the import is coming from, whether it be coming from some other software, whether it be coming from your cousin who is using RM, or even whether it be from another RM database that you manage yourself. The only way to retain the RM ID numbers is to export a GEDCOM from an RM database and then to import that GEDCOM into a new and empty RM database. In all other circumstances, the RM ID numbers that are exported and imported will be lost. The key to retaining the numbers is to import into a new and empty RM database.

 

The stable option is that there is a built-in fact type in RM called the Reference Number. Indeed, this is not just a standard fact type in RM, it is a standard GEDCOM tag that should be supported by most if not all genealogy software. It will be completely stable. However, the management of the Reference Number is completely manual. You will have to add it by hand to each person in your database, and there is no automatic guard against duplicate numbers. You will have to do manage that yourself. There is no prescribed format for a Reference Number. It can contain alpha characters in addition to digits, and indeed it can be any string of characters whatsoever. There is an RM option to display the Reference Numbers on your screen for each person just like there is an RM option to display the RM ID on your screen for each person.

 

Jerry

 



#20 Trebor22

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 09:10 AM

Lots of good advice above!

Perhaps a thought for the future, is it possible you will want publish your research, perhaps on a website?  The current version of RM does not allow you to mark any media as 'private' (excluding it from output) - hopefully changed in RM8! - but for the meantime if there is copyright media you do not have permission to publish or even would not wish to be published you might want to think carefully before linking to your database.

As I discovered, it can be a lot of work searching through each piece of media checking if you want (or are allowed to put it)  on your website! I also keep a record of any permissions I receive to publish documents or photos including the filename I have used so I can check easily.

 

You can of course keep a personal copy in your files and extract / transcribe the details to include as evidence.