Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Scanning, Cleaning Up, Organizing, Donating

Scanning. Is there any activity a genealogist dreads more? Monotonous. Boring. Never ending.

Randy's doing it
, the JLog is doing it, and I'm doing it. And nobody's having any fun at it. Where is Miriam and her ScanFest when we need her? I'm still working on scanning a photo album that I started during the last ScanFest. I'm making progress but it sure is drudgery. I scan for 2 hours each day, Monday through Friday. Why 2 hours? Because that's as long as I can stand it. J scans for an hour at a time and then takes a break. I can't do that because I wouldn't go back to it. I'm too good at procrastination. I scan for 2 hours first thing in the morning before I can get distracted doing anything else.

Like Randy, I'm scanning a magnetic page photo album. For the most part, I am only scanning the fronts of each photo. I make exceptions if the person in the photo has handwritten a caption on the back. In that case, I scan the back as well for a sample of the person's handwriting. That is unless I already have several samples of the persons handwriting.

This morning as I was scanning I listened to Christmas music. Too early you think? Ah but it brings back so many happy memories of holidays past. Is it ever too early for happy memories? I guess there must be a lot of people like myself who enjoy listening to Christmas music in November. We have a radio station here in the metro Detroit area that begins playing all Christmas music on November 1 and will play it straight through Christmas Day. If you're in the mood for a little Christmas music and there isn't a radio station near you playing it you can listen over the Internet to our Christmas music station at

Randy, I share your confusion regarding tags. I have yet to find a system that works. The problem is with industry standardization. There is none. If I scan my photos into Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements and set them all up with tags and categories (and meta data) I will not be able to see most of that information when I open the photos in Picasa. And likewise, if I put captions on my photos in Picasa I won't be able to see them in the Adobe products. I end up having to enter the same information twice. I'm hoping the situation will improve with the latest version of Adobe Photoshop Elements (6.0). I received that software as a birthday gift last week but I don't have it installed yet. For now what I'm doing is getting my photos into Photoshop, entering the meta data, and saving them as .tiff files. Once the whole album is scanned I will create a set of file folders, one for each individual, and put their photos in the respective file folders. Picasa is good at finding file folders with descriptive names. If there is an odd or unusual photo in a given folder I will add a caption to it so that I can use Picasa to find it in the future.

And now I must move on to my second most dreaded activity… cleaning up and reorganizing the file folders on my hard drive. I'll be getting a new computer soon (I would have it already but the store is out of stock) and I always use that to prompt myself to "clean house". And next what I really should do is clean out and reorganize the food pantry. I do that a couple times a year to cull the products we obviously didn't use so I can donate the items not yet expired to my church. What an exciting life I lead, eh?

I'm not meaning to complain though. I count myself blessed to have old photo albums to scan, a computer hard drive that needs organizing, and excess food in my pantry. In spite of the negative tone to this post, my life is good and I know it.