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Narrative Reports with Media

Narrative Reports Media

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#1 Rick Landrum

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 04:10 PM

I have only recently begun to use "Narrative Reports" in RM7. I have read the help files and searched this forum. However, I have a question.

 

In the preferences for the report/ book options I have selected "include photos". My subject has numerous photos in their profile. Some are attached to "Person", some to "events/facts", and some are attached to sources.

 

To date, I have not been able to get any media to be included in the report except for the tagged as the primary "photo for the person". 

 

Any suggestions as to what I may be missing?

 

Any hints appreciated.

 

Thanks

Rick


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#2 zhangrau

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 05:43 PM

You are correct, RM7 will only include one "primary" photo per person in the narrative reports.

 

Some users save their reports in RTF format, open it in a full-fledged word processor, and add additional photos. This will change the page length of the narrative report, so it will also be necessary to update the indices. EDIT: And Table of Contents.

 

I've taken a different approach. I create a dummy individual named "[scrapbook] Surname". This will be used to create a Person Scrapbook, including as many photos as desired (I've done scrapbooks with several hundred photos).

 

rm7-dummy-for-scrapbook.png

 

rm7-alt-name-sep-fact-type.png

 

rm7-scrapbook-list-fact-type.png



#3 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 07:24 PM

During my earliest days with RM it was still pretty early in the Family Origins days and RM itself didn't yet exist. So it was a long time ago. One of the first things I did was to attach a headstone photo to a  Burial fact in the full expectation that the photo would print in a narrative report. It didn't. It still doesn't in RM7. We shall see if it ever does. And there is the obvious generalization that if it would work with the Burial fact it would work with other facts.

 

I am beginning to use GedSite to display my RM data on the Web. The input to GedSite is GEDCOM and GedSite does a good job of importing GEDCOM from many different pieces of genealogy software. In particular, GedSite does an excellent job of importing RM's GEDCOM, including RM's media links. So I am able to use GedSite to get the effect I want of having photographs displayed in an attractive and useful manner for individual facts. Therefore, a lot of the time I spend working in RM is actually spent preparing my data for display on GedSite.

A cautionary tale is that a lot of my media is actually documents - birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, census images, and the like. With GedSite, these documents can appear as "large thumbnails", too small to really read but large enough to see what they are and they are clickable to see full size. Printed reports aren't clickable, so if RM had the ability to print images in a narrative report I would have to be careful to curate my images so that true photographs of things like people and headstones could be printed by RM and so that things like census pages and death certificates would appear in full size or near full size in something like an appendix to the printed report. I don't think such documents appearing full size in the middle of the text stream would be attractive at all.

 

In GedSite, I'm finding that I like the effect of having true documents appear both with facts themselves and with citations to those facts because they can appear as large thumbnails. I suspect that not everybody likes the effect. If you don't like the effect you can link such images only to RM's citations and link only real photographs to RM's facts and GedSite will honor what you have done. That might be a way in printed reports to include documents in "something like an appendix". That is, include images of documents as a part of endnotes at the end of a report.

Another thing I'm finding useful is to introduce a Photographs fact into my RM database for display in GedSite. I only use my Photograph fact for real photographs and not for documents. Rather, I link documents to things like Death facts and Census facts. So my Photograph fact in RM becomes sort of a little "in text" photo gallery. My Photographs fact is set up to be included in GEDCOM and to be excluded from printed reports because it wouldn't do anything useful in a printed report.

In all truth, I'm not really using GedSite the way it's intended to be used. It's designed to include photo galleries in their own separate web pages, not inline with the normal genealogical text. And not everybody is happy with my approach. But I always come back to my original experience with Family Origins where I linked a headstone photo to a burial fact and it didn't print in a narrative report. I still want that, and I've been looking for a solution ever since. So if GedSite will do it, I'm going to use GedSite to do it.

 

Jerry

 



#4 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 07:30 PM

One more thing (and similar to zhangrau's approach), I have considered using RM's Publisher feature to create a multi-chapter book with the main chapter being a narrative report without photos and with other chapters being photo galleries created by RM. It's an excellent approach. I'm not sure why I haven't gone that way, but so far I haven't.

 

Jerry



#5 zhangrau

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 07:52 PM

My current sub-project (part of which is illustrated above) is typical of my approach.

 

There are two Publisher books, each saved as PDF files for sharing. I use USB drives (currently costing me about $5 each) to share the files, because they are too large to send via email, and it seems that many of my readers are unfamiliar with accessing cloud storage.

 

Although I'm still working, the Narrative Report book is nearly 700 pages, and the Scrapbook is a bit under 200 pages. I've experimented with stuffing it all into one book, but having separate books seems more popular with my readers. One advantage of the PDF files is that the reader can enlarge a page (and pan around) if they want to see more detail on the large images (such as census and newspaper pages).



#6 Rick Landrum

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 09:05 AM

Thanks to all who responded.

As I suspected, it's a "one photo per tree member".

The various approaches folks advised are very interesting and I'm going to look into them.

There is also another possibility, "Personal Historian". I've just starting playing with that one, so I'll have to see if it will do the trick.

I'd prefer to be able o generate narrative reports off of RM and not have to deal with a whole other side software.

Anyway, this has been helpful.

Thanks again

Rick


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#7 Rick Landrum

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 04:02 PM

You are correct, RM7 will only include one "primary" photo per person in the narrative reports.

 

Some users save their reports in RTF format, open it in a full-fledged word processor, and add additional photos. This will change the page length of the narrative report, so it will also be necessary to update the indices. EDIT: And Table of Contents.

 

I've taken a different approach. I create a dummy individual named "[scrapbook] Surname". This will be used to create a Person Scrapbook, including as many photos as desired (I've done scrapbooks with several hundred photos).

 

rm7-dummy-for-scrapbook.png

 

rm7-alt-name-sep-fact-type.png

 

rm7-scrapbook-list-fact-type.png

Zhangrau,
Thanks again for the hint on the "dummy person" approach. I have tried it, but I have a few more questions. Basically I have completed the following:
Created "dummy" person
Created the two "custom" fact types
Tested the creation of a "test" family scrapbook
 
Where I am still "fuzzy" is on the steps involved to assign media to the dummy person. I assume the process would be to create a media tag in the tree member's profile pointing to the dummy person's profile. However, does this mean I have to create facts in the dummy persons profile for each fact type in the tree member's profile?
 
Example - The tree member has a birth certificate document attached to his/her birth fact. I am thinking I would need to create a birth fact in the dummy person's profile, and then create a media tag pointing to that fact. If so, what would be the purpose of the two custom fact types? (Alternate Name Separator? Scrapbook list?).
 
Could you elaborate a little further on the steps required please?
Thank you very much.
Rick

RickL


#8 zhangrau

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Posted 07 January 2020 - 05:03 PM

In the dummy scrapbook person, I use ONLY two fact types (separator lines and Scrapbook List entries).

 

The goal is to have a tag/link for all applicable media added to the dummy person, and to present those media in chronological order.

 

When I have multiple entries on the same date (such as several 1880 census entries), I use modifications of the Sort Date to arrange those common-date entries into alpha order.

 

In the dummy person, all media (birth, marriage, census, military, death, burial, etc., etc.) are linked to Scrapbook List "facts".

 

The Publisher book for scrapbooks has NO sources, bibliography, nor indices. Those are all in the narrative report.

 

rm7-publisher-for-scrapbook.png



#9 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 08:35 AM

I have a question that perhaps has an obvious answer, but I need to ask anyway. Do you link only a single media file to each Scrpbk fact?

 

The reason I ask is that my approach with using GedSite to publish my RM data is in some ways very similar to your way of using RM Publisher and in some ways my approach is very different from yours. The similarity is that I do link media files to dummy facts in RM. My dummy fact is called Photographs rather than Scrpbk but the concept is very similar. The huge difference is that my Photographs fact is a dummy fact which is linked to real people and your Scrpbk fact is a dummy fact which is linked to dummy people. As such, I often link multiple media files to the same Photographs fact. This one Photographs fact then in effect becomes it's own little scrapbook on the GedSite side of the house. Which is to say that my Photographs fact has no fact sentence at all and unlike RM it is the case that GedSite will display media files in the main body of information a person - embedded in with all the Birth, Death, Burial, Marriage, and other facts. So my Photographs fact displays photographs in the main body of information for a person. This is what I have been wanting ever since Family Origins wouldn't print a headstone photograph along with a Burial fact.

 

However, my approach creates the problem that within a given Photograph fact, GedSite renders the images in the same order in which they are listed in RM for the fact, and it's devilishly difficult to control that order on the RM side of the house. There is no mechanism to place multiple media tags for the same fact into a particular order other than deleting the tags and re-entering them in the desired order. It sounds like your approach solves this problem by using dates and sort dates for the Scrpbk fact. It sounds like this would work great IF AND ONLY IF you have one media file per Scrpbk fact. That's why I'm asking.

 

A little off subject, but I only use the Photographs fact for photos of people. For example, I link a photo of a headstone in RM to the Burial fact itself, and GedSite displays the photo just fine as a part of the Burial fact. No dummy fact is needed. Well, I still have the problem of ordering. Sometimes I will have multiple photographs of the same headstone linked to the same Burial fact, close ups and more distant shots, etc. I would like them to appear in a particular order on the GedSite side of the house, and it's hard to order the media tags on the RM side of the house.

 

Jerry



#10 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 08:44 AM

I have yet one more question that perhaps has an obvious answer. Have you tried including documents such as death certificates or census pages in any of your printed scrapbooks? I think the basic problem is getting the images large enough to be legible on the printed page. On the Web as with GedSite, such images can appear as thumbnails or large thumbnails and you can click on them to see them full size. You can't click on a piece of paper. And if you distribute $5.00 thumb drives instead of pieces of paper, can you make the images clickable to expand them if they are RM's scrapbooks? Or can you just have RM make them appear big enough in RM's scrapbooks in the first place?

 

Jerry



#11 Rick Landrum

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 09:18 AM

I have yet one more question that perhaps has an obvious answer. Have you tried including documents such as death certificates or census pages in any of your printed scrapbooks? I think the basic problem is getting the images large enough to be legible on the printed page. On the Web as with GedSite, such images can appear as thumbnails or large thumbnails and you can click on them to see them full size. You can't click on a piece of paper. And if you distribute $5.00 thumb drives instead of pieces of paper, can you make the images clickable to expand them if they are RM's scrapbooks? Or can you just have RM make them appear big enough in RM's scrapbooks in the first place?

 

Jerry

Jerry,

Yes, I have included such documents in my scrapbooks, and yes, I have noticed the size and legibility issue. I tried changing the scrapbook row/column settings and that did help some. However, most of my readers for my tree data are family members. Most of them are not using their own Genealogy software. A few are using A.com and I have a tree there that I maintain with TreeShare. They mostly just want reports (books), not necessarily printed. Because of the size of the files, I have been saving them to thumb drives and giving those as gifts etc. Of course the images are attached to events/facts in RM, but unless the reader has access they would not see the images in reports unless they are included in a scrapbook. I'm not sure what the answer would be for this. You could put the documents in a PDF and include that on the thumb drive, but that creates a who new set of indexing problems, etc.

 

If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears.

Thanks

Rick


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#12 Rick Landrum

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 11:45 AM

One more thing (and similar to zhangrau's approach), I have considered using RM's Publisher feature to create a multi-chapter book with the main chapter being a narrative report without photos and with other chapters being photo galleries created by RM. It's an excellent approach. I'm not sure why I haven't gone that way, but so far I haven't.

 

Jerry

Jerry,

That's an excellent idea. I'll try it.

I also had thought of using publisher to ceate a report (narrative etc), and to generate a scrapbook, and save both as PDF's. Then combine the two PDF's into one. However, that is basically the same as your idea except a lot more work.

Rick


RickL


#13 zhangrau

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 01:06 PM

Responses to Jerry and Rick:

 

I do my routine laptop work with the display set to 125% scaling, so I need to reset to 100% scaling before Publishing the PDF files. I consider this a bug within RM, because I have no such print size issues printing from browsers, spreadsheets, word processor, etc.

 

All of my scrapbooks are generated with 1 image per page, so that any media at max size of 3000 pix wide x 5000 pix high is nicely readable. Larger media get Photoshop processing to reduce to max height or width of 5000 pix.

 

I use RM's

  Caption field to describe the media (census info, identity of person documented, etc.)

  Description field records where the image came from (Ancestry database name, Find A Grave contributor, photos by me, etc.)

 

In my scrapbooks, many of the Scrapbook List facts have only one image, others have two or more.

 

EVERY image that documents the research gets included in the scrapbook. It's true that RM doesn't conveniently re-arrange image order for a fact, so I plan carefully what order to link the media files. On the other hand, re-arranging the Scrapbook List facts is as simple as revising the Sort Date, so that's really a non-issue.

 

Census images go through processing for:

Photoshop

  1 - crop off excess non-image margins

  2 - resize to 3500 pixel width

  3 - adjust levels to improve readability

Paint

  4 - add a red box to focus on the lines of interest on the census page

 

Newspaper images get similar processing:

Photoshop

  1 - crop off excess margin material

  2 - resize to 5000 pixel height

  3 - adjust levels

  4 - Save under my original filename, such as "18840410_IL_marriage_Chicago_Tribune_Thu__Apr_10__1884_pg8col5.jpg"

  5 - crop the page to show just the article and page info (newspaper title, date, page #)

  6 - SaveAs under a revised filename "18840410_IL_marriage_Chicago_Tribune_Thu__Apr_10__1884_pg8col5_crop.jpg"

Paint

  7 - on full-page newspaper page, add a red box around the article of interest

 

Images of indices of BMD lists also get similar processing.

 

For the newspaper images, both full-page and cropped views get linked to Scrapbook List fact, source citation, and at least one individual fact. This gives my readers the context of the full-page image, and the readability of the cropped image.

 

Small images (obit photos, headstones, draft registration, BMD certificate, etc.) are resized, usually larger, in Photoshop to 1500 to 2500 pixel width

 

I point out to my readers that when looking at the PDF scrapbook files, they can resize (enlarge) if they want to see more detail of images like census pages. I think it is pretty rare for my readers to do so.



#14 robertjacobs0

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 04:31 PM

I hope I'm not missing the point here, but doesn't the media album/tools allow one to rearrange the order of exhibits? There's no need to delete and reinstall an item. GedSite seems to pick the exhibits up in the order one has prescribed.



#15 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 09:01 PM

I hope I'm not missing the point here, but doesn't the media album/tools allow one to rearrange the order of exhibits? There's no need to delete and reinstall an item. GedSite seems to pick the exhibits up in the order one has prescribed.

 

If there is an option to rearrange media items in RM, I'm not aware of it. I could have missed something, but I don't know how to do it.

 

Jerry



#16 robertjacobs0

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 10:08 PM

On an Edit Person menu click Media, then on the Media Album click tools/Rearrange media items. There are move up, move down & sort by date buttons at the bottom.



#17 zhangrau

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Posted 09 January 2020 - 11:51 AM

That's useful, 'though I can't recall hearing of it before.

 

Documented under Help > Rearrange media



#18 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 09 January 2020 - 03:56 PM

Hmm. I never knew the "Rearrange media" option was there. I never click on the media icon in the main toolbar because I get to media by clicking on the green checkmark in the media column of the Edit Person screen instead. So I decided to try the "Rearrange media" option. I admit that I had some skepticism because I couldn't figure out what the option would even mean. I want to rearrange the media associated with a particular fact, and this particular list of media has all the media associated with the person and all the person's facts and sources and citations. What would rearranging media mean in this context? But I tried the option anyway. It doesn't work because no matter what I do, it says there is only one media item.

Aha!  I got it to work!  When you click on the camera icon (i.e., the media icon) on the main Toolbar, you get a list of all the media for the person. I had seen this feature before even though I hadn't noticed the "Rearrange media" feature that is associated with it. But I never really used it as explained in the previous paragraph. It's not a very natural way to get to the media files for a fact or a person or a source or a citation. What I didn't realize was that there is a button on the screen called "All Media" which is really an option button with a drop down menu for all the different items for the person where the person has media. If you pick one of these items, it filters the list of media just for that item. And at this point, the Rearrange Media feature does actually make sense and does actually work. Happy, happy, happy!

 

I don't know why the same feature couldn't work when you get to the exactly same list of media files from the Edit Person screen going through the a fact or a source or a citation or a person to get there. That's where it really makes sense for the feature to appear. Maybe in RM8? And obviously, the citation list needs the same functionality. In any case, this is going to save me a lot of time in curating my media files for GedSite and it encourages me to try the same thing with RM's printed reports in the same manner that zhangrau has described.

I should mention one final problem I will have to solve. The problem affects my work with GedSite not at all but it would affect my work with printing scrapbooks from within RM. Namely, 99% of my media files are linked into RM as files rather than images even though they are actually images. There are multiple reasons I chose this approach. The most important reason is that the RM image viewer is a terrible viewer. If you try to look at a census page with RM's viewer, the census page is essentially illegible. This is true even if the census page is fairly legible in most any other viewer that you use outside of RM. The second reason is that RM7's viewer runs in a modal window that you have to dismiss before you can do anything else in RM7. The demo of RM8 suggests that many model windows in RM7 have become non-modal windows in RM8. However, I don't think Bruce's 30 minute demo showed a media file so that you could tell whether the viewer was running in a modal or a non-modal window. I'll keep my fingers crossed on this one until we know for sure. The third reason is that if you OK out of the viewer instead of cancelling out of the viewer, it saves the media file your were displaying even if you didn't make any changes to the file. This wreaks havoc on the resolution of media files stored in lossy formats such as JPG. Media files that weren't changed shouldn't be saved. And for lossy formats, there should be a warning message about loss of resolution even if the file has been changed.

 

So I avoid all these problems by linking my images to RM7 as files rather than as images. This works fine for GedSite because it doesn't care. All it needs is the file name and file path out of RM's GEDCOM. But it doesn't work fine from within RM7 itself printing photo galleries because RM7 will print media in photo galleries only if the media is linked as type image rather than type file. If I wanted to play with photo images in the style of zhangrau I could do so by changing the type for media from type file to type image using SQLite. SQLite allows me to do such changes in bulk. The RM7 user interface doesn't allow such changes, neither in bulk nor even on an individual file by individual file basis. Unless I'm missing the option, the Change Media File feature doesn't allow the type of the media file to be changed. So I will be adding the way these issues are handled in RM8 to my "RM8 Checklist" which I have posted elsewhere in these forums.

 

Jerry



#19 Rick Landrum

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 05:13 PM

The purpose of my original post on this subject was to determine if there was a way to include multiple media images in a Narrative report. The answer was no. However, because of various suggestions posted in reply, I looked into the RM Publisher function in more detail. I had not really used it previously. As a test I created a book with multiple chapters for the patriarch of one of my family lines. I included his spouse and children in the scope. The cover, title, table of contents, etc were all for the his family's history. I added a chapter for his Narrative report and another for his Family Group sheet. I then included chapters for each member of the immediate family (father, mother, children), for their individual scrapbooks. All the settings for the Book were accomplished in the Publisher tool. All the settings for the media in each person's scrapbook were controlled in the individual's media gallery. This included whether or not to include the media, and the order of presentation for each event. When I published the book, all the details about the family were either in the Family Goup sheet or in the Narrative report. Each person's scrapbook was included in the order of the chapters, and included all the media images with the "include in scrap book" setting turned on. My book now includes a narrative family history, family group details, and many images included in the family member's scrapbooks (presented in the order of the book chapters listed). After publishing the Book, I saved it to a PDF file. This allows the reader to zoom in on a given media to see greater details. This technique seems to provide everything I was looking for, although I'm sure there is a lot more to learn about using Publisher. My next goal is to explore how to expand this technique to include multiple generations.
I want to thank everyone again for their ideas and suggestions.
Rick

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#20 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 08:40 AM

 

After publishing the Book, I saved it to a PDF file. This allows the reader to zoom in on a given media to see greater details. 

 

I will look into the PDF approach as a a way to distribute a Publisher book. It sounds very promising. And the reader's ability to zoom in an a given media sounds especially interesting.

 

Jerry