27 Aug
2012

I love technology!
Technology makes me crazy!

Doing research with cousin Rene Cuer and aunt Joelle Aponte in Noumea

Doing research with cousin Rene Cuer and aunt Joelle Aponte in Noumea

Doing family history research often begins in an organic way, without much thought to organization of your paper records, best practices for preserving your photographs, database cataloging standards, citing your sources, tracking your research questions, scanning standards, digital document numbering systems, work flow in terms of moving your data from your own desktop to an online place where it can be shared, routine backups, etc., etc. One day, you wake up with a mass of data and documents and realize that you have to get your act together in order to make your collection accessible to your family. You would think, that as a museum and archives professional, I’d have all my ducks in a row from the outset. But, like anyone else, I find myself revisiting my digital data and the physical collection that is in my care and trying to impose order retrospectively. You get so caught up in the excitement of discovering a new bit of information or finding a new relative, it’s easy to give short shrift to the stuff that’s going to make your research usable by your family and help determine future work.

So, the database on this site will be down for a spell while I (actively) work out some of the problems with moving data from Legacy (the database software on my hard drive) to TNG (the database software on this website). Non-techies can skip to the next paragraph now! Since these databases are made by different vendors, they use a file sharing protocol called GEDCOM (for library and web geeks, it’s kind of a markup language). I export my family data from Legacy to a GEDCOM file, then import the GEDCOM file to TNG. The confounding problem is that GEDCOM is outdated and there is no consistency in the way that software vendors markup newer database fields that need to be shared. There are also some issues with how differently my two databases handle media. I will be working out a system for managing the digital versions of my documents and photos and getting them online.

Add to all of the above that we’ve been moving across the country and, well, the blog has been quiet. In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting about some of the conundrums in managing the collection. And, for those in my family whose eyes glaze over at that practical stuff, I’ll be posting some stories about serendipity, which has factored largely in the TwoCaledonias project over the past couple of years.

Related posts:

  1. Our New Genealogy Database!

2 Comments

  • You are not alone! Good luck with your project!

    • Thanks, Sally! So many people have written about the same challenge and I’ve learned a lot about strategy for cleaning up my act by combing old blog posts. While my family readers may not enjoy it so much, I think posting about some of my dilemmas going forward may help some other genealogically OCD person make decisions…

So, what do you think?

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