Q. I have several hundred family photographs that I want to scan and preserve on CD. Is there a good index or database program that will help me organize them, and let me easily access the photos at some later date?
A. You have several software options, but price, computer requirements and usability are the keys to determining your final choice. In selecting a product to use with photographs, also consider what you are looking for in a final product and how you want to share these images.
If you want only to scan select images and intend to link them to genealogical information, you should consider purchasing a genealogy program. (See our comparison of nine popular programs in the June 2000 Family Tree Magazine.) Most allow you to enter multiple images and captions in an album page linked to a family group sheet.
Scrapbooking programs, such as American Greetings Scrapbooks & More ($19.95, 800-395-0277, www.shopmattel.com) and Fiskars Scrapware ($28, free trial at www.fiskars.com/memories/computer_software/), help you organize images as well as create scrapbook pages to print out or post online. Check out the scrapbooking magazines Making Memories and Creating Keepsakes for more information.
Another option is to construct your own interrelated database using a program such as Microsoft Access. You can customize fields and reports linked to specific images. Or look for a general photo-organizing program, such as Picture It! from Microsoft ($54.95, pictureit.msn.com/PI/default.asp). Before purchasing any software, try to find a demo version online or review of the product to make sure it has the capabilities you need for your project.—Maureen A. Taylor
Maureen Taylor is the author of Uncovering Your Ancestry Through Family Photographs (Betterway Books, $18.99). In a regular feature on FamilyTreeMagazine.com, she helps genealogists identify old family photos.