Jul 052013

brownieIn about 1962 my grandfather gave me a Kodak Box Brownie Flash II camera, just like the one in this picture.  I was only about 8 years old at the time, and I never quite did get the hang of winding the roll film to the exact spot to make sure each exposure didn’t overlap the previous or next one :-(. Nor could I figure out what exposure to use. I’ve still got  a handful of blurry, under- or overexposed B&W’s to remind me! It was quite fun though, and I’ve been taking photos ever since. I progressed through a Kodak Instamatic and a couple of hand-me-down film SLR cameras before going to various point-&-shoot film compacts, a Kodak digital compact and finally a Nikon DSLR. While there’s no way could I class myself as an expert photographer, in recent times I’ve been consciously trying to improve – I suppose you could say I’ve become a serious amateur.

Anyway over the years I’ve taken & collected tens of thousands of photos. Probably about half of those are slides and prints, and like those belonging to many other people, a large number of them are languishing in assorted boxes & albums. Maybe “One Day” I’ll get around to reviewing them, and scanning the more memorable ones for posterity! I have however scanned and/or collected from relatives many hundreds of images relating to family history – our ancestors, places, headstones… And of course, since moving to digital photography the number of digital images just keeps on growing. It’s just as well disk space keeps getting cheaper hey!

So a few years ago, and particularly as I was getting deeper into genealogy, I became increasingly aware of the desirability of managing this burgeoning digital archive properly, otherwise it’d just become the 21st century equivalent of the boxes full of prints kept in the cupboard. I started by coming up with a disk plan that made some sort of sense, to me anyway. You couldn’t just dump a gazillion images into one folder (as I had started to do), even if Microsoft kindly gave you a target cheesily named “My Pictures” (ugh!) Nor, I worked out in fairly quick time, could you try to catalogue them by content. If you had a photo of Aunt Mary holding your cherished pet dog Rusty at Katoomba on Christmas Day 1967, how the hell did you decide where to store it? Whatever you chose, you’d be making it almost impossible to find using the other possible criteria unless you made multiple copies and that just wasn’t going to happen.

Of course astute readers will have already asked the question “OK, but is it really important that you can find a particular photo anyway?” Well I believe it is, and maybe it’s the amateur genealogist in me but I’d like to leave a structured archive behind for future generations. If that doesn’t interest you then there’s probably little to entice you back for future posts here – but thanks for reading this far!

Anyway, after some thought it seemed that a date-based structure was as good as any for my purposes. Others might choose a different structure, but in the end, as will become obvious over the next few posts, the disk structure is actually of less importance than you might think…

In the next post I’ll review my disk structure in a little more detail and look at where I went from there. I hope you’ll come back! Please feel free to share your experiences too.



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