Tuesday, January 17, 2012

21COFH - Develop a Digital Organisational Scheme - Week 2

For 2012, Michelle Goodrum from The Turning of Generations blog has created a series of weekly blogging/organisation challenges under the title of The 21st Century Organized Family Historian. The challenge for Week 1 was to organise holiday greeting cards.

In Week 2, the challenge was to develop a digital organisational scheme; to develop a plan for one or more of the following:

  1. an organizational plan for hard drive. 
  2. a naming format for digital files.
  3. the use of "tags" or metadata. 
I have previously blogged about task No.1 hard drive organisation. Task No. 3 is one of my Goals for 2012  ("Organise, tag and label the photographs on my computer (digital photos as well as scanned photos and documents"). I would also like to work on task No. 2, a naming format for my digital files. 

Task 1 - an organizational plan for hard drive. 
I currently have my genealogy information organised on my hard drive using a variation of Lisa Louise Cooke's system described on the Family Tree Magazine YouTube Video 'Organize Your Hard Drive'.

My hard drive organisation starts with a basic folder 'Genealogy' which contains the following folders:
Charts - a place to family charts I have created.
Correspondence - a place to store genealogy correspondence of a general nature.
Databases - a place to store all my genealogy software files e.g. Legacy 7.5 files. 
Forms - a place for storing blank genealogy forms.
History Topics and Locations - a place for storing general history, location and repository information which is relevant to more than one of my surnames. 
Logs - I have some older attempts at research logs stored in this folder.
OTHER PEOPLES FAMILIES - this is where I store research I have done for other families which are not my own. 
Photos - the purpose of this folder is self explanatory, except I have nothing stored in this folder yet as I still have to organise my photos. 
Research Resources - a place for storing digital copies of magazine articles etc. 
Templates - templates for the surname folders under the 'RECORDS' folder. Each time I need to create a new surname folder I just copy these templates. 
Timelines - a place for storing historical timelines.

Under the 'RECORDS' folder you find a folder for each surname I am researching. Where a name is not the name of a direct ancestor I have put the surname of my direct ancestry line next to the surname. For example, below you will see that I have a folder named 'BRADDY - Atkinson', this folder relates to the family of the sister (Elizabeth Braddy nee Atkinson) of my Great Great Grandmother Dorothea Fullerton (nee Atkinson). Where I have two surnames the same I have also used a second surname to identify which branch of the family I mean. For example, I have two Brown families I am researching. The first folder 'BROWN - Randall' relates to the family of my Great Great Great Grandmother Mary Anne Randall (nee Brown). The folder 'BROWN - Fullerton', relates to the family of the Mary Brown nee Fullerton, sister of my Great Great Grandfather, Peter Fullerton. 
Inside each surname folder I have the following folders for storing records of different types. I also have shortcut links to related surnames. For example, the screenshot below is from my 'CHAMBERS' folder, so it contains shortcut links to 'MARROWS', 'McCARTHY' and 'RANDALL' folders as they are all related surnames. Later I hope to put shortcut links to relevant location (e.g. Lincolnshire) and history folders as well. 
I am not sure how efficiently this hard drive organisation scheme works and I am always interested in the different hard drive organisation schemes other genealogy bloggers are using.

Task 2 - a naming format for digital files.
Michelle at the Turning of Generations blog suggests using the following file naming format:
Natalie Cottrill at the ProGenealogists blog has a post Computer Tricks 3 - Naming Electronic Files in which she suggests naming files thus:
[surname (or) maiden surname][first name][middle name][birthyear][date of event or date document created][event or document name]
Both of these systems look like they would work well. When I get around to renaming my genealogy files I think I will use a system which combines both these ideas, for example:


Task 3 - the use of "tags" or metadata. 
This is one of my Goals for 2012  ("Organise, tag and label the photographs on my computer (digital photos as well as scanned photos and documents"). This is something I would like to work on but I don't have time to work on this at the moment. Michelle at The Turning of Generations blog mentions some resources on labelling and metadata which I have bookmarked with Diigo and plan to look at as part of my monthly goals later this year. 

Copyright © 2012 Australian Genealogy Journeys.

1 comment:

  1. Aillin, I love your use of shortcuts in your surname folder to link to related surnames!!

    On your file naming scheme, you might think about how the file names are going to sort. Will your example of
    sort the way you want with the rest of your CHAMBERS_Thomas files? Just something to think about. It's something I'm constantly working on.

    I'll be curious to see how you make out with your goal of using metadata this year.

    Great post!


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