Thursday, January 12, 2012

21COFH - Develop a Digital Organizational Scheme

This is my first week participating in the 21st Century Organized Family Historian, and I'm getting kind of a late start at it, but I wanted to get this post up.  Michelle Goodrum's (Turning of Generations) assignment for this week is to choose one or more of the following tasks:

-Have an organizational plan for your hard drive
-Develop a naming format for digital files
-Use tags or metadata to find files easier

I've posted before about how I organize my digital photo files and how I organize my genealogy research by surname.  You can read each post by clicking on the links.

I really like my way of organizing my files, but the bottom line is it works for me.  I really haven't had to use tags for files because of the way I sort them, but I do need to start using them regularly for photos. Even though I like how I organize my photos, because they are done by location, it can be difficult to find pictures of specific events or people unless you use tags or metadata.  Something to shoot for, I suppose.  Baby-steps though.

I'm still kind of in the process of transferring all my data from my old PC to my Mac, and I have noticed that things do appear differently on my Mac.  Not sure if I like it or not, but I suppose that it's just because I'm not completely used to it yet.  Only time will tell whether I change my system with a new computer, but I don't think I'll need to.

I have made one revision as far as my post on sorting by surname.  Nothing major.  I had previously placed a research log in each surname so I could just add information I needed that was relevant to that surname only.  I still really like this idea, but it's not practical for me.  I want to save paper and I don't want to be printing out a sheet for each of the many surnames I have.  When I research, I tend to be researching on a bunch of surnames at once.  So what to do?  I'm tempted to leave the logs in each surname folder and just update them from a master research log that I take with me when heading out to conduct research.  Hmmm.  I've got to think on that a bit more and see what works best.

Are you going to get better organized in 2012? 


  1. Cheryl, I have struggled with the research log issue as well. I've got so many different logs and systems I've tried over the years it's almost funny.

    Like you, I tend to research multiple surnames at once and have boiled it down to two systems. I use OneNote for notetaking when researching on location (library, recorders office, etc) on many surnames at once.

    I also have set up a multipage spreadsheet where I can identify tasks, surnames, localities that carry over to each different page. There's a master task (or project) page, correspondence and research. I can record specific tasks, the results and then filter by surname or locality or task number to follow what I've done.

    It's based on talks Sam Ward has given at So Cal Jamboree the last 2 years and I believe the recordings can still be purchased.

  2. I will have to check out OneNote and Sam Ward's system. It's gotten to the point where I have a spreadsheet depending on where I'm searching. If I'm doing a lot of research at the Wisconsin Historical Society it's all by their numbering system, and I've finally found a system so I can sort my spreadsheet for maximizing my time.

    I'm loving the blog topics! Working on my photos and post for this week now! Should be up in a day or two!