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Simplest & Best Way For Extended Family To View/Comment On Digital Photos? #general

Martin Kaminer
 

Hi All-
What have people found is the best way to 'crowdsource' knowledge about a collection of hundreds/thousands of family photos among several generations of extended family with widely varying (but on average low) technical ability?  We have basic metadata for many of the images, which span nearly 150 years, though there are many errors and omissions that need to be fixed.  I'd also love to allow for people to comment with their own stories and recollections even on photos we've fully identified.  What is the best, simplest but also most useful software/system/site for doing this?  Everything I've seen is either too complex or too basic. Welcome your guidance.
Appreciatively,
Martin Kaminer

ELAINE KIRSH
 

Scan each picture into a separate word document. You might have to scan the picture and then copy it only a word document. You could label each scanned picture and word document with unique identifiers.

On each Word document, people could identify people, write stories about the picture. It is really important that each comment be identified with a valid email address. I can tell you from personal experience that people’s memories are sometimes different and you might need to research some of the differences.

One benefit of scanning pictures is that everyone can have copies of them and you can preserve them in the state they are currently in. Some pictures fade so scanning them is the best way t preserve them.

Theo Rafael
 

Google photos> link to shared album > anyone can add comments.

Martin Kaminer
 

Thanks, the photos already in digital format.  It seems the logistical challenge of sharing thousands of word documents among hundreds of people would be considerable.  Have you had success doing that?
I was told that Google Photos might provide a simple solution.  Has anyone had experience with using that to crowdsource family information?

Martin Kaminer
 

Three questions re Google Photos:
(1) any way to import metadata (descriptions, etc.) from an existing source or does it all have to be reentered by hand?
(2) Any tips on structuring descriptions so as to be able to search accurately (eg "Bella Poland 1920s" etc.)?
(3) I read that there are issues with exporting comments should we ever want to move to a different platform. Any thoughts?
Thanks so much....

Lynn Franklin
 

The question:

What have people found is the best way to 'crowdsource' knowledge about a collection of hundreds/thousands of family photos among several generations of extended family with widely varying (but on average low) technical ability?

My answer:

My husband and I have tried many ways, with numerous sets of photos and different families.  What's been most successful for us is starting a private group on facebook, that no one uninvited can see or find.  It is very private, and that's been good, as it let people feel more free to express their feelings and tell stories that they wouldn't want anyone outside the family sharing.  The more people we got to look at the photos and comment on them, the better the system worked.

In our case, these were the photos and papers left by the youngest daughter of 11 siblings who had nursed her mother and many other siblings as they died.  She ended up with six sets of photos and papers, including her parents.  We wanted to share them with all of the grandchildren and great grandchildren.  This worked for us.

Questions:

(1) any way to import metadata (descriptions, etc.) from an existing source or does it all have to be reentered by hand?
Not on facebook, that I found.  I scanned and uploaded the photos and papers.  Everyone was free to comment on them.  The comments and stories sometimes went well afield of the photos, which was all the more interesting.
(2) Any tips on structuring descriptions so as to be able to search accurately (eg "Bella Poland 1920s" etc.)?
We uploaded them starting with albums, and labeled as such, including any labels for individual photos or papers.  By putting each persons facebook name in the description, you could limit your search by person.  This doesn't help you for years, or places or such.
(3) I read that there are issues with exporting comments should we ever want to move to a different platform. Any thoughts?
I've thought about this, but not come up with a good answer.  I'm not sure that they can be exported at all, unless by taking individual screen shots.

The main advantage of facebook over other methods that we've tried, is the ease of use for the extended family.  Any of the cousins that have a facebook account can fairly easily learn to navigate this system.  There were some that don't have facebook accounts, and don't want one.  They can't use this, unless they ask their children to show them.  Most of the family though already had facebook accounts, and so this worked easily and quickly for us.

Another advantage of facebook is that they will notify the family, via email, when new photos are added to the library, or a new post is add to one that you've previously commented on.

It's not a wonderful system, but it's worked very well for us. We probably have about 5000 photos, papers, awards, telegrams, newspaper articles, pieces of jewelry, etc posted to this site.

Good luck to you!

Lynn Franklin
Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Jay Paul
 

In terms of labeling photos, I have always started photos with the date, and then a description of at least who was in the photo. For example, if I knew that a photo was taken on the date of my grandparents’ wedding, I would label it 1915-09-05-wedding-(my grandparents’ names). That way, all photos sort chronologically. If I only know the year or month, that’s how I would start the name of the file (e.g., 1915- or 1915-09-). If I was unsure of the date, but making a likely guess, I would note the year followed by a “ca” for circa (e.g., “1915ca”), which puts it in a certain chronological order as well. I use Dropbox to share photos (and other files) with family, but that doesn’t allow for comments per your suggestion, which is a great idea.

All the best,
Jay Paul
San Francisco CA 94117
jaypaulphd@...

Researching SUMBERG ( Pilvishok/Pilviskiai, Lithuania), LANGERT (Pilviskiai & elsewhere in Suwalki gubernia), KAHN (Ranstadt, Germany), GOTTLIEB (Grebenau, Germany), PAVLOVSKIY, PAVLOVSKY (Mala Antonivka, Bila Tserkiv, Vasyl’kiv, Kyiv gubernia, Ukraine), LEVITSKIY / LEVITZSKY (Yasnohorodka, Vasyl’kiv, Kyiv gubernia), KOTLER (Vistytis, Lithuania), LEIBSON (Lithuania), WOLF (Austro-Hungary), SCHWARZ (Austro-Hungary), STERN (Austro-Hungary).
--
Jay Paul, PhD
San Francisco CA 94117
Researching: SUMBERG (Pilvishok/Pilviskiai, Lithuania), LANGERT (Pilviskiai & elsewhere in Suwalki gubernia); KAHN (Ranstadt, Germany), GOTTLIEB (Grebenau, Germany), PAVLOVSKIY / PAVLOVSKY (Mala Antonivka, Bila Tserkiv, Vasyl’kiv, Kyiv gubernia, Ukraine), LEVITSKIY / LEVITZSKY (Yasnohorodka, Vasyl’kiv, Kyiv gubernia), KOTLER (Vistytis, Suwalki gubernia), WOLF (Austro-Hungary).

peggyfreedman@...
 

Thank you Martin for a thoughtful question and Lynn for a thoughtful response.

I am also interested in this type project for similar reasons (I have photo collections from three great aunts!)

One of my cousins set up a Facebook page and is using it as Lynn described, but I am having problems with it.  It is wonderful to see the old pictures, but I can't find them when I want to go back to look at them six months later. I suspect that it is a big job to properly tag and sort the photos as they are posted.

I have considered a few other solutions but have not tried them.  I am posting my ideas to see if anyone else has used them as I would like your feedback.

The software program TNG: The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding allows you to put your photos online in a digital family tree.  The samples are beautiful. The learning curve is steep.  I think that you can set the permissions to comment on a picture so that only a "member" of the site can post a comment.  Has anyone in this group used this successfully?

The software that comes with the scanning program QromaScan allows you to change the metadata with voice commands.  I saw that Martin and Lynn have already scanned their pictures, but I believe that you can add metadata to an existing scan with voice commands.  Has anyone in this group tried this?

I have no connection with these commercial products but would like other opinions of their value.  If the moderator thinks this is too commercial for JewishGen, please send me responses privately. 

Thank you!

Peggy Mosinger Freedman