Sunday, January 29, 2012

January 2012 Scanfest

Friday, January 27, 2012

Scanfest is Coming

I apologize for such a late reminder...

The January 2012 Scanfest will take place here at AnceStories this coming Sunday, January 29th, from 11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Standard Time.
What is Scanfest? It's a time when geneabloggers, family historians, and family archivists meet online here at this blog to chat while they scan their precious family document and photos. Why? Because, quite honestly, scanning is time-consuming and boring!

Scanfest is a great time to "meet" other genealogists, ask questions about scanning and preservation, and get the kick in the pants we all need on starting those massive scanning projects that just seem too overwhelming to begin.

To get started, you need to know the basics about scanning:

1. Don't use commercial glass cleaners (i.e. Windex) or paper towels to clean your scanner's glass plate. Use a soft, clean cloth, preferably microfiber. If you must use a liquid, use water sprayed directly onto the cloth  and make sure to let the plate dry thoroughly before placing photos or documents on it.

2. Wear cotton gloves (available at many art and/or photography supply shops) when handling photos and old documents.

3. Don't slide the photos around on the glass plate. Place them exactly where you want them. Photos should NEVER be scanned by a scanner that feeds the document through the machine, but ALWAYS on a flat-bed scanner.

4. Set your scanner to scan at no smaller than 300 dpi (dots per inch). Many experts recommend 600 dpi for photographs.

5. Photographs should ALWAYS be scanned and saved as .tif files. Use "Save As" to reformat the .tif file to a .jpg file for restoration and touchups, emailing, or uploading to an online photo album. ALWAYS retain the original scan as a .tif file.

6. Documents can be scanned as .pdf files or .tif files.

7. When you are done scanning your photos, don't put them back in those nasty "magnetic" photo albums. Place them in archival safe albums or boxes found at websites such as Archival Products or Archival Suppliers. Do NOT store any newsprint (articles, obituaries, etc.) with the photos. The acid from the newspaper will eventually destroy the photograph.

Now about the chatting part of Scanfest:

We will be using Cover It Live, a live blogging format that you access right here at AnceStories.

On Sunday at 11 AM, PST, come right here to AnceStories and you'll see the CoverItLive live blog/forum in the top post. It's not really a "chat room," per se, it's more like a live forum and anyone visiting this site can read and see what is happening in the forum.

You will not need to download any software.

Up to 25 individuals can be invited to be Producers. Producers are participants who have the extra capability of sharing photos, links, and other media within the forum (great for sharing the photos you're scanning!). You must have Internet Explorer 6.0+ or Firefox 2.0+ to be a Producer.

We can also have up to 25 other Participants who can comment freely in our conversation, but will not be able to share media. You can have any kind of browser to be a Participant, except AOL. Those who normally access the Internet with AOL may wish to download Firefox or Explorer ahead of time to be able to participate on CoverItLive.

In addition, any other readers of this blog can drop on by and view/read what is happening at Scanfest. If the 25 Participant spaces are full, those readers will not be able to comment, unless someone else drops out.

Confused? Have questions? Go to CoverItLive and check out 6. Try It Now to see live blogs in action or 7. Demos to see videos demonstrating how to use CIT (especially the ones titled "How do my readers watch my Live Blog?" and "Adding Panelists and Producers").

If you would like to be a Producer, please e-mail me no later than Saturday, January 28th at 4 PM, PST and I'll send you an invitation. Preference will given to previous Scanfesters. You must set up an account (free!) ahead of time to be a Producer. This account will be good for all future Scanfests. You can do some practices ahead of time by going to My Account and clicking on the link under Practice your live blogging. Again, you must have IE 6.0+ or Firefox 2.0+ to be a Panelist.

As a Producer, Participant or simply a reader, if you would like an e-mail reminder for Scanfest, fill out the form below and choose the time frame for which you would like to be reminded (if you're reading this through Google Reader, Bloglines, or some other RSS feed reader, you will need to go to my blog and view this post there to see and utilize the form).

It really is easier than it sounds, and I'm looking forward to seeing you all there and getting some scanning done!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: The Newberry Library's Research Guides

Did you know that the Newberry Library in Chicago has its own online research guides that can help you, sitting comfortably in your pajamas doing online genealogy?

On this page, you can find research guides--most available in downloadable .pdf format--for any genealogy topic under the sun, from Adoption Research to the World's Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893. There are research guides for 27 states and the Province of Ontario, as well as major city, regional, ethnic, and overseas resources.

When looking at the research guides, you won't find a how-to, but rather a list of resources for that topic that are held in the Newberry Library. How is this useful? Suppose you are researching ancestry in the state of Maine. The Maine Research Guide will give you a list of books and periodicals for which you could check your local library. If not available, use WorldCat to find the nearest library that holds these resources and use inter-library loan to peruse it at (or photocopy the pertinent article to be sent to) your local library. Some of the research guides, such as the one for New York State, also have hyperlinks to online resources. You may find a listed resource so useful that you will eventually want to purchase your own copy at your local bookstore or through Amazon!

This is an excellent example of the Internet being used as a finding aid, a research tool, to find genealogy resources offline (remember, not everything is on the Internet, and it never will be!). Happy Hunting!

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Sixth Blogiversary

On January 16, 2006, I published my very first post, "Moses Crothers - possible son of John Crothers and Mary 'Polly' Wycoff?" Little would I know that with the creation of my genealogy blog, my life would literally change. At that time, there were a handful of geneabloggers (and that term hadn't really been created yet) out there: Dick Eastman, DEARMyrtle (Pat Richley), Leland Meitzler, Randy Seaver. Soon I learned about the Carnival of Genealogy and Jasia, Craig Manson, Apple, footnoteMaven, and Becky Wiseman (who's got a nice list of the "old-timers" right here!).

In six years, I've knocked down a couple of genealogy brick walls. I've attended local and regional conferences both as an attendee and as a presenter and met many of my geneablogging buddies. They've visited me in Spokane. I've won blogging awards, been interviewed on radio, podcast, YouTube, and the local paper (twice). Genealogical publishing and subscription sites sent press releases for me to publish.

For several years, I blogged nearly every day and definitely several times a week. It was a mighty feat of creative and physical endurance, one that could not last. For one, it was taking its toll on my body. During that time, I gained 50 pounds, using my spare time to sit and blog instead of exercise, exacerbated by the pain of a bad shoulder, further entrenched by being sedentary following surgery. So I took time away to start improving my health and fitness. Secondly, it became difficult to blog about family history when my family, my marriage was falling apart; as emotional trauma challenged clarity of thought and creative expression.

For someone who has read daily since she was three--yes, three!--years old, not being able to focus long enough to finish the first chapter of a book signaled to me that I needed time off from both absorbing and creating words; that the swirling emotions and thoughts in my heart and head needed to settle before I could sift through them and bring them to life to share with others. They had to be sorted through to make room so I could take in what others were sharing as well. I knew I was healing when I could start reading again. With the mostly positive changes of the past year, I find myself thinking again like a writer, a blogger. Phrases will come to my mind, and I'll tuck them away for a future post. Ideas are once more starting to blossom. Still, as in many areas of my life, I'm taking things slowly.

As I wrote in my last post, my blogging goals this year include writing just one quality post a month. This post actually exceeds this month's goal. I do have some blogging gems in store for my readers. Next month, as we celebrate St. Valentine's Day and our thoughts turn to love and relationships, I'll be sharing my tongue-in-cheek insights on the similarities between online dating and online genealogy research! When Women's History Month comes around in March, "A Tale of Two Sisters"--which has been taking seed in my mind for several years--will at last be published. I won't make any more promises than these, although as I said, I've got ideas tucked away here and there.

Thank you once again, my blogging buddies and readers, for hanging in there and for giving me another year to celebrate. I hope to be around for many more!