Archive for the ‘redundancy’ Tag

Juggling 13,831 Files   3 comments

I just checked: my genealogy folder has 13,831 files in it.  Most of these are photo scans, but some are also document scans, the page layouts and .pdf files for the family photo scrapbooks that I’ve compiled and even audio files.  By the time I’m done with the Hepler book later this month, I’ll have 14,000 genealogy files.

And those match the 33,624 names in my family tree file.  Well, some of them, anyway.

Label your photos -- with a proper pen that with ink that will dry on photo paper -- or your backup band may never be identified.

Label your photos — with a proper pen that has ink that will dry on photo paper — or your backup band may never be identified.

And then there are the 35,415 photographic files that are everything from work photos to vacation snaps to family shots to … well, my photographic life.  My photographic files go back to 2004, when we said good bye to film.  And don’t get me started on the 3-ring binders of prints & even slides that need scanning.  Velda already has that on my worklist.

So you see the problem, right?  Thousands and thousands of files, and you need to know where they all are.  And this is the story of how I failed.

I was working on the Chucalo family photo scrapbook.  Velda and I had flown back to St Louis several times, visiting cousins and scanning photos with multiple families.  On a good day, I was gathering 100+ files.  Do that for several days in a row … and you don’t know which file is which if you aren’t careful.  We had files that were named, files that were unnamed, file folders crammed with original photographs, photo prints, obituaries, random notes, plane tickets and rental car agreements.  It was chaos.

If photos have names written on the back, you can scan that photoback directly to both save the best record of the photo, and move on quickly to other scans.

If photos have names written on the back, you can scan that photo back directly to both save the best record of the photo, and move on quickly to other scans.  Just make sure you name the photo back scan the same as the photo front!

And we work for a living.  Velda and I were doing these trips on vacations.  We would fly back home — tired from our vacation — and go right back to work.  Work being what it is, I was behind, and couldn’t devote much time to the photo processing for some time … when I would have to decipher all of those cryptic handwritten notes.

Which I always did perfectly, of course.

After I had processed the photographs, composed the scrapbook pages and updated the family tree files, I created rough draft .pdfs that I then sent back to the relatives for approval.  This was essential; it was my proofing double check. But come to find out, this only works when you know which file you’re sending.

I was paranoid about losing data, so I was constantly making backups.  I had the work files on my laptop’s desktop.  I would then copy them  every few hours to the “real” folder location on the c:/ drive, and then duplicate them onto a portable hard drive at that same time.  And that worked great, until I didn’t copy the right file to the right back-up.

I had gotten an edit to the page for one of my favorite cousin’s pages.  I had gotten his name wrong:  Robert Eugene instead of Robert Gene.  It was an understandable mistake, perhaps:  Robert Eugene is my father’s name.  In any event, I had it wrong, got the correction, fixed the page, then copied the wrong file into the backup, and never caught the mistake.  I published the book with the wrong name for my cousin.  The wrong name.  How do you fix that?

Seriously, how?

Learn from my mistake:

1. Have one location for work files.

2. Have one location for backups. (And ALWAYS keep a backup.)

3. Don’t mix them up.

4. Have a method for checking important edits.  Keep a file of requested edits, and then check them to make sure they’re done.  And then check them again.

It's only when your pictures are properly labeled that your descendants can be sure which picture is of you.

It’s only when your pictures are properly labeled that your descendants can be sure which picture is of you.

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