“Picturing” Your Research and Organizing Your Files with Michelle Novak

March 19th, 2017 by National Genealogical Society Blog Editor

Records & Repositories, F303, “Picturing” Your Research—Finding, Procuring, and Preserving Images, 8 am, Friday, 12 May 2017

As a fine artist, designer,and photographer, visuals have always been part of my lexicon. Whether a photograph, a painting, a sketch, a signature, or a simple doodle, visuals help me connect with the times and places of my ancestors that words alone cannot. It’s often said that a picture is worth a thousand words but in my research, they’re irreplaceable.

But what can you do when your photographic inheritance (like mine) is lacking? How can you best scan or capture what you have now? Will scanning hurt the originals? What file format is best? Can, and should, you use other’s images? Where can you find images? How much should you share your images with others? How can you best preserve what you find for future generations? We’re going to dive into as many of these topics as time allows! And, if you have specific questions about your family images, let me know at mnovakdesign@me.com.

I’ll see you then—I’ll be the one with the HUGE coffee cup!

Organizing Research, T229, Taking Control of Organizational Chaos, 11 am, Thursday, 11 May 2017

“I’ve got your files.” A client of mine had lost an important folder containing all her company’s presentation files and called desperate to know if I had a copy of them. I did. In fact, I have every file of theirs since they became my client more than a decade ago—and I know exactly where they are. For the past 20 years, I’ve run my own NYC design business and my employees and I have managed millions (a number too scary to think about) of production files, images, and client documents. And throughout it all I’ve kept (relatively) sane.

A few days after this client’s call, a genealogist friend was telling me how hard it was to find a specific document scan. In talking with others, I realized that many were struggling to balance their digital and paper research and a few were one hard drive crash away from losing their life’s work.

In this talk, I’ll share some tips and common-sense practices that have worked for my business as well as my genealogical research. We’ll look at software and file formats and why they matter, file naming protocols that can save your sanity, how to protect your work from disaster (which is not a matter of “if” but “when”), and ways of making your research more accessible to the next generation of genealogists and family members.

I hope these common-sense steps can help you improve your process, provide more peace of mind, and keep on top of what research you’ve already done so you don’t retrace your steps. And, you might not lose your files anymore!