A Primer for the Family Historian
by Denise Barrett Olson
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What is Electronic Publishing? . . . . . . . 5 Advantages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Disadvantages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Society Publishing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Tools of the Trade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Next Steps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Credits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
You might choose to write a series of biographical sketches of the people you ﬁnd fascinating or build your history one surname. It discusses the skills needed to create production-ready projects and suggests resources to help you get started.
You’ve spent hours on your research.
It’s your research. generation or location at a time. Tell it your way. There are no design rules for your family story and thanks to today’s technology. It’s your story. Writing a formal family history is no longer your only option. Electronic publishing gives you a growing list of opportunities to express your creativity and share your heritage in ways that will generate more than a nod and yawn from your family. Maybe you would prefer to create a multimedia documentary to writing a formal history. but you’re still not ready to commit to writing THE family history. there are many affordable options. This primer introduces you to this new and exciting technology and shows you how to take advantage of the opportunities it provides to produce quality histories at a reasonable price.
It can range from custom gift items created from photographs to artquality reproductions of heirloom portraits to printed books.
. Viewers can do more than just watch. a television screen or even an iPod.not all of them related to printing. Since books are now being distributed on electronic devices such as the Kindle and iPhone. some publications may never make it to print. Whatever your preference. Also supported under the umbrella of electronic publishing are interactive multimedia presentations. Digitally distributed publications offer features such as hyperlinks and text search so readers can easily move from one area to another. there’s an electronic publishing option to ﬁt your plans. They can move through the presentation at their own speed and follow links to different sections that attract their interest.5
What is Electronic Publishing?
Electronic publishing covers a broad category of services and products . These can include photos and videos combined with narration to create a Ken Burns style documentary or a digital scrapbook combining those same elements with traditional scrapbook elements to create presentations that can be viewed on a computer. Let’s take a look at some of them to see what each offers the family historian.
. ect h Photo Dir u’ll ﬁnd anywher yo s and for prints able print has afford ts found at also Snapfish specialty produc he many of t ervices. and framin matting papers and on quality rints uge Mpix also p dditional options like h a . anniversaries and other get-togethers with custom memorabilia like signs.
everything. of product collection any rints and ery offers p cts including ll Kodak Ga ecialty produ sp . In a r services for specialt othe number of e Moo for e my favorit items lik cards. specialty it
out on just ab our photos ards to n put y Zazzle ca m shoes to skatebo m fro sto anything they do cu mps. Better yet. oto s g other ph d for a lon een aroun any other has b Shutterfly offer prints and m es. canvas with cover a wall s” that can maller) “wall cling ny other (s ma They have ems too. On the fun side. they dd y photo. They other gift it re users can sell their he storefront w creations. number of calendars and cards s.relieving you of at least one worry in your event planning efforts. just about has . Thanks to this technology. Since you create the designs.
. And signs on a growing a postage st om your de ery fr embroid s. The ts at reasonable pric uc photo prod
th a loo k at Ta ke
is . caps and tee shirts. mugs. you can send your family to the service’s web site to order their own memorabilia . y time. buttons. print on demand services can support family functions like reunions. . all kin also provide a coffee m ems. but does deserve mention. Electronic printing platforms reproduce professional quality images and graphics on a growing number of items ranging from cards to tee shirts to posters and framed paintings. CafePress prints to posters. family historians also have the ability to create highquality copies of heirloom photos and art pieces to share with other family members. ices photo book the best pr as some of e. “business” t -quality ar ints on high pr ImageKind nvas and offers many ca papers and g options. there are no up-front design costs and you order only the quantity you want. cards d e el and From fram ds of appar ugs.Print on Demand
Print on demand sits at the bottom of the electronic publishing collection. re terface whe s a simple in from any ide Flickr prov y order prints ny asil users can e connect to a ition.
BookS tion services for bsidiary of BookSurge. Fee-based services for editing. many of these services also provide a storefront where you can advertise your publications for sale. but thei
Worth che ck ing ou
. technical skills and budget. you can create a publication – book.com line book designer is quite easy to r on and type. offer their public all aspects of the ices covering ide free and paid serv rb does also prov photo books. If you only want one copy. Although d books. You only pay for the number of books you buy. To sweeten the pot. Their free Booksmart soft base y design layouts. MyPublish use. A su y-free fulﬁllment and online distribu or publishing. You’ll only pay for one copy.7
Publishing on Demand
Thanks to a growing number of online services.
lor options in both co size and binding e offers the most where they can Lulu. handles the sales transactions. size independent publ choices for book er has the fewest . B&W or color printing and number of pages. no problem. proof-reading and layout/design support are also available. The service provides the storefront. This servic Members have their own bookstore of te. These services offer several size and binding options with something that ﬁts every budget. Blu more focused on ware makes it Blurb. The service determines the base cost per copy based on size. magazine or newsletter – and have it printed at whatever quantity you desire with no upfront costs. MyPublisher. Some services include bookbuilding software with pre-designed layouts where you can easily drop your photos and paste your text. options for textusing their man book ete easy to build your urge offers compl Amazon. invent ishing. Which service you use will depend on your publication needs. binding type. Others allow you total freedom to design your own layouts. prints and ships the orders and sends you a royalty check each month. ge support system or black and whi Lulu offers a hu d ations for sale an publishing ﬁeld. You then choose how much markup to add to calculate your retail price.
While many electronic books are designed to be printed. the most common version of an electronic book is a document exported to portable document format (PDF). Books designed to only be read on an electronic device come in a number of different formats. Readers only need the freely distributed reader application to view the document. Amazon’s Kindle reader use a proprietary (AZW) format. The Sony Reader can read PDF. Most computers and many portable devices come with reader software already installed. While this will work well for novels and general non-ﬁction. iPhone or other electronic book reader. diagrams and photos. Today. In addition to maintaining formats and images. Many software user guides and a growing number of reports and business publications are distributed this way. but the newest model can also read PDF. BBeB and plain text and display common image formats. it’s not well suited for a family history full of charts. PDF also supports hyperlinks and text searching. DOC and the most common image formats. Even if you don’t have the reader. The Stanza and Kindle book reader applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch limit the content to text because of the devices’ small display area. making it easier to ﬁnd speciﬁc content and navigate through large documents. PDF provides a standard for distributing documents with all layout and formatting features intact regardless of the software originally used to create it. a growing number are read either on a computer or with a portable device like the Kindle. you can download it for free at the Adobe web site. These features are especially useful for reference books.
Other platforms provide for sharing presentations. Upload an d share PowerPoint presentations and othe r documents. A growing number of libraries support user-submitted publications.
Google Books. Offers a growing collection
for public domain book s and open source audiobooks.9
T his is not yo ur father’s
New on the electronic media stage are publishing platforms offering the viewer the option to read publications online or download them in a growing number of format options. Google Books is probably the most familiar.
books and periodicals. Offers both an open plat
Slideshare. but O’Reilly’s Safari Books Online is well-known in the technology world.
form where users can post publica tions and a storefront to sell your work. A co mprehensive source
fari Books Online.
. Scribd offers both an open area to share publications and a storefront where writers can sell their works. Th is subscription service provides access to a huge library of technology books.
Multimedia combines text with images, audio and video clips to build a multidimensional presentation. These can range from simple slideshows displayed on a computer screen or digital frame to movies with music and narration. Another form of multimedia presentations is the digital scrapbook. These provide a facility to include images, text journaling, audio and video components along with all the graphical elements that make scrapbooks so popular. The results can then be distributed online or by DVD to expand their reach.
YouTube. Probably the best known video-sharing platform.
the pro ($) account to support large collections and longer video presentations.
Multimedia Suppo rt
Vimeo. Offers both standard and high-deﬁnition videos. Choose
RootsTelevision. If it’s family history, it should be on RootsTelevision. Submit your video presentations to share with the genealogy community.
multimedia scrapbook with video and host it there. Scrapblog offers embed codes to display the presentation on your blog or web site.
Scrapblog. Although not a place to upload videos, you can build a
my goal is to tell the story of my ancestors. Consider your family history as a looseleaf notebook and each of theses “micro-histories” as tabbed sections.11
Unlike traditional publishing. Some publishing platforms do provide additional fee-based services like editorial and design support which you can choose to use if you so desire. In most cases. an electronic document posted on an obscure web site has world-wide visibility. electronic publishing services seldom require upfront costs or a minimum purchase. Some even make it to the Library of Congress.
Many published genealogies can be found in their local historical society’s library. then order and pay for only the number of copies you want. these same documents are immediately available through all the major search engines. Unlike those print documents.
As a family historian. And. once your publication is ready all you do is upload it to your free account at the publisher’s site. but thanks to electronic publishing we can now choose to publish our family histories as a series of short pieces. you determine how much markup to add to the publication’s cost and the service will take a small percentage of that proﬁt from each sale. If you are taking advantage of the service’s storefront feature. It’s hard to get that kind of reach for a print-only publication. when posted on electronic publishing platforms. Not only can you
. We all know that the research never ends.
many of us prefer an electronic publication to a printed one. voice narrations and even music to create a multimedia presentation.
. we can include hyperlinks to navigate within the document and to content outside the publication. color options. Wouldn’t you love to hear the sound of your ancestors’ voices? Why wouldn’t you want to include those features in your stories for the beneﬁt of future generations? Thanks to today’s technology. You set the price. layout and design elements and so on. With cost removed as a factor. it’s a lot easier to update a section when new research warrants.
Your publication is your creation. You can include video clips. Not only is it easier to store. there’s no extra cost to publish an electronic document in color. And.
Thanks to the explosion of portable devices and price reductions in digital storage devices (external disk drives). Electronic publications let you go way beyond searchable text and hyperlinks. You choose the platform for publishing and distributing your work. you can. You decide the size and binding options. you have more ways to present your family history.build the sections at your own speed. publications created properly are also searchable – allowing us to quickly ﬁnd speciﬁc information. As electronic publishers. You are in total control of your publication.
Features like index and table of contents generation are not difﬁcult to learn. this only irritates the member who paid for the product. While most of us are familiar with basic word processing skills.
Digital Rights Management
Some authors and society editors are concerned that electronic publications are a license to steal. they will ﬁnd a way to do it. art director.
. You are the writer.but as the music industry is discovering. Reality is. Yes. but with today’s technology it doesn’t take much to scan and share a paper copy either. many will need to learn several additional features to create documents for publication. Today’s publishing options give you more choices and you decide which of those works for you. This can be an intimidating prospect.and limits viewing to speciﬁc machines or devices . but will take some time and effort to use them successfully.13
Although most services provide an abundance of self-help information. Tackling them for the ﬁrst time two days before your publishing deadline is an invitation for disaster. if someone wants to steal your work. cover designer and marketing director for your publication. it’s quite easy to forward a digital copy of a journal or newsletter to others. You could publish in a format that supports digital rights management controls . editor. no one is personally holding your hand through the publishing process.
Electronic publishing is a win-win situation for societies large and small. Not only can you afford to offer both electronic and print editions of your publications to your membership, you can generate additional revenue by selling previous editions without the problems of storage, shipping and collecting money. These opportunities allow you to reach an audience way beyond your local community and to attract new members from all over the world. And, because these publications are so easy to produce, you can expand your library to include cemetery inventories, books of scanned historical documents and journals. This will in turn attract more people to your society. Even if your society isn’t ready to expand its publications effort, you may want to consider how to support those members who are creating publications on their own. If nothing else, cataloging and showcasing their works takes little effort but provides additional resources to all your members.
but you will need to learn how to use them. Most word processing applications include tools to help you create your own. The time you spend learning these features will be returned to you ten-fold in time saved creating your history. we are all familiar with our word processing application. As a researcher. For example. not all of us have had to deal with the more specialized features needed to create a family history.15
Tools of the Trade
You are already familiar with many of the tools you’ll need to support your writing and publishing efforts. you’re well aware of the value of an index or table of contents when looking for speciﬁc information within a publication. However.
These include: • Styles and templates • Table of Contents • Footnotes/Endnotes • Index • Bibliography
OpenOffice. you take on a new role – layout technician.99)
(Windows. Let’s take a quick look at the difference.16
Word Processing Application
A good word processing application supports both your writing and publishing efforts. Here’s where you start working to make your publication look good and include the elements like footnotes. The tools needed to support your writing efforts include:
• Spell check • Grammar check • Auto-correction • Dictionary/Thesaurus Your word processor should also support features that make the publishing process easier. Yes.
$149. your spelling and your grammar.95)
$89. writing is one task while publishing is another. you are concerned with the organization of your story.95)
$149. While you are writing your history.org
(Windows. an index and a table of contents to make it more functional for your readers.
(Windows. You’ll want quick access to reference material like your dictionary and thesaurus.
$34. Once written. Not all word processors provide the tools you will need so be sure to check before you spend your money.
org.OpenOfﬁce. StarOfﬁce. it’s become much easier .you print the document to the PDFCreator “printer”. install a virtual printer on your computer.the company that created PDF. The gold standard for PDF creation is Acrobat from Adobe .
. Unfortunately Acrobat doesn’t ﬁt into many family historian’s budgets. Some.to convert documents to PDF. Lotus Symphony and WordPerfect . A growing number of ofﬁce suites .from any application . Many of these applications provide a command or button to initiate the conversion process.include PDF creation within their applications. like the free PDFCreator application.17
PDF Creation Software
Since the portable document format (PDF) has become such a universal standard for sharing documents. To convert a document . Mac & Linux) and most commercial DTP software offer PDF creation capabilities. Mac users have PDF creation built into the operating system. Open source desktop publishing (DTP) applications such as Scribus (Win. It will ask you to enter a ﬁle name for the PDF ﬁle and then save the results.
P DF Creatio n Too l s
ws.and more affordable .
$79. In some cases. Most historians already have some kind of image editing software to help them scan. Basic image editing features needed to support your publishing effort include:
• Cropping • Resizing • Straightening • Adjust Brightness & Contrast • Adjust Color • Photo Organization
Image Editing Software
P hoto-ed iting Res ources
$99. restore and organize old family photos and documents.99) s
Photos are an integral part of any family historian’s research.99)
(Windows. your image editor can also be used to create multimedia slide shows or photo books from your collection. This same software will be used to prepare those images for use within your publication.
Although it sounds a bit intimidating. Just about every computer includes some kind of movie-making application so it costs nothing to experiment. voice. photos.9
$79. Although these ﬁles cannot be viewed on your television.9
Most of today’s digital cameras support both still photo and video capture.99)
. it’s actually not only easy but fun too. While capturing digital audio isn’t difﬁcult.99)
iLife iMovie oad) dows
s Audio Editor
ce s Multimed ia Re s o ur
s. giving us the ability to create rich multimedia presentations. editing can be a bit of a challenge. Most home computers come with easy-to-use movie editing applications giving us all the tools to create our own family documentaries. Combine those apps with today’s scrapbooking software and you have everything you need to create an interactive presentation containing video.
s Movie Editor
crapbooks Multimedia S 5) ws
$49. that content will be available when the DVD is viewed on a computer. text and links Applications like Apple’s iDVD not only let you build a DVD of movies with a menu that will function on any DVD player. it also allows for the addition of other digital ﬁles.
Tech Support for the Family Historian.
. there are many options and much to learn. You’ll ﬁnd more information. As you have seen here. Electronic publishing is a huge buffet of opportunities. tutorials and support at Family Matters . Please stop by any time.20
This short primer is just an appetizer.
. Calibri.most especially Katie Pertiet’s Destination Seaside designs and several of her journaling elements. Jane Austin and Joe Hand 2. You’ll ﬁnd more information about publishing platforms and applications at Family Matters . it’s necessary to have an eye-catching design. Resources listed here are only a representative sample of what is available. Fonts used in this publication include Cochin. Typical Writer.Tech Support for the Family Historian.21
To best demonstrate electronic publishing’s potential. This booklet uses many scrapbook design elements from the always-inspiring DesignerDigitals group .