Archival Answers: Virtual Memories

By Patti Swoboda Premium

Q. Is there such a thing as digital scrapbooking? I have many digital photos of family members. I’d like to add a few lines about each picture and then burn them onto CDs to send to family members.

A. Digital scrapbooking is the tech-savvy way to create layouts you can post on the Internet or store on a CD. You can add animation, import videos or record music and voices to make your pedigree presentations lively and interactive. And unlike traditional scrapbooking, digital scrapping requires no cutting, gluing or other potentially destructive methods. Common preservation enemies such as fingerprints, light and acid don’t endanger digital photos (but do keep printouts of your pages as a safeguard against damage to your digital storage media).

One of high-tech scrapbooking’s most exciting genealogical advantages is the ability to retouch photos. Thanks to digital technology, you can undo damage to your ancestors’ pictures — and end up with images that look even better than the originals (see the April 2004 Family Tree Magazine for step-by-step help touching up family photographs). Use your enhanced photos to set up your own family history Web site, or copy your digital scrapbook pages onto CDs. Then your friends and relatives can fire up their computers and enjoy your scrapbook whenever they like.

In addition to providing preservation perks and putting your heritage pages at your family’s fingertips, digital scrapbooking offers many other fun design options — which authors Roger Pring and Ivan Hissey explain in their book Make Your Own Digital Photo Scrapbook (Sterling Publishing Co.).

Innovative techniques, colorful illustrations and clear instructions make it easy to understand and use the technology. The book describes nine projects, including a heritage-themed layout called Growing a Family Tree. You’ll also find a how-to guide on scrapbooking with your computer in the December 2003 Family Tree Magazine.
From the May 2006 issue of Family Tree Magazine.