(+) My Method of Filing Digital Images and Documents

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

A newsletter reader asked a question that I receive frequently. Here is a (slightly edited) copy of her message:

“I’d love to know how you handle the thousands of .JPG images of genealogy document scans and how to attach sources to them. I tried copying my .JPGs into Word, adding a title and source as text boxes. It was easy enough, but Word degraded the .JPG image so much that writing from earlier documents was almost unreadable. I’m trying it now in PowerPoint files with much better luck. I maintain .JPG integrity, can add titles and sources, and have multiple pages. I can copy the .JPG into other formats or convert the file into a .PDF. I would still love to know what you use before I get too involved in this format.”

I did answer her in email, but I thought I would also share my answer here in case others might have the same questions:

Thank you for writing.

You can find dozens of methods of storing and labeling files. In fact, there are several sophisticated document management systems available for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux that are designed just for that purpose. These programs are popular in corporations that need to keep track of thousands, perhaps millions, of documents. However, most of these programs cost more money than I care to spend. Also, with most of these software solutions, you are “locked into” the producing company’s methodologies more-or-less forever. Converting from one company’s (older) solution to a new solution provided by a different company can be a complex procedure.

My needs are a bit simpler. I have about 10,000 pictures and documents stored on my hard drives and find that I can locate most any of them within seconds, should I need to. My method is free and is very flexible. I also believe I could easily convert it to a different system in the future, should I ever decide to do that.

I don’t believe there is any “perfect way” to file any kind of document or image. As long as the method you choose works for you, it is a good method. However, I do find it helps to be consistent. My method certainly is simplistic, but it works well for me. It may or may not work for someone else who has more demanding requirements.

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