Friday, June 24, 2011

Making My Way In The World Today Takes Everything I've Got

I am enjoying Dear Myrt's series of "21st century" blog posts as she drags us kicking and screaming into the "now" world of technology. I say now, because times they are a changin'. Minute by minute. I have a lot of opinions regarding technology and organization and am working on several articles that discuss my research and opinions. Maven has nothing if not opinions.

But Dear Myrtle's, 21st Century genealogists: how websites are failing us post struck a chord. This is something I am in the middle of researching. I've called this Making My Way In The World Today Takes Everything I've Got Series. Yes, on your toes genealogists. We do get it. And we want more and we want it now.

This is the section in particular that peaked my interest:

Where websites fail is that in printing a typical scanned images from a website, we are left with nothing more than our operating system's default to print the URL across the bottom of the page. That doesn't bode well for researchers who look for complete citations. In a recent Second Life genealogy voice chat, several researchers shared how they get around the problem:

* If one is printing out a document from a website, put the paper back in the printer, and using a word processing program, insert a proper source citation to print along the margin of the document print-out.

I handle this another way, and it works for me. I think it is a great time saver and is useful if you print to paper as well. Maybe it would work for you.

Here's my example - I want to print the "The Overstuffed Baby Comes Full Circle!" article from Shades Of The Departed.

I am on a Mac using the Firefox browser. I open the article in my browser window and go to the Firefox Menu > File > Print. The print menu appears and I set my Header and Footer preferences and whether I wish to print all pages or only certain pages. See Below.

As you can see, I want only the Title in the Header leaving white space. I will show you why in the PDF Document later in this article. I select PDF > Save As PDF. I have created a new folder for Photo Connections and the Pdf document is printed to that folder.

Yes, I know, this is a wonderful feature of Macs, but what about Windows centric people? A very quick Google search returned several Pdf Print Plug-Ins for Windows. As I do not have a Windows machine and my husband became increasingly frustrated as I tried to talk him through it over the phone at work, I will rely on my Windows readers to tell me how well it works.

Now the magic! Open your file in Acrobat Reader X. If you do not have X you can download it here. It's WORTH it!. Wait, it's free. It's really worth it.

Acrobat Reader X lets you add Sticky Notes and Highlight text in a PDF. You can comment on ANY PDF as long as the author hasn’t restricted it via security or it is a dynamic PDF form. How fantastic is that? We don't have to buy Acrobat Pro.

I set my preferences in Acrobat Reader. Go To Adobe Reader > Preferences. Be sure to select Print Notes & Pops Ups so that should you ever wish to print the file to paper the notes will be included. Click OK.

Next, select Comments > Annotation > Sticky Notes. You will get a comment bubble attached to your cursor. Place the bubble anywhere you like on the page and click. The comment window opened and I typed the citation for this document in the box. I left all that white space at the top of my document next to the title to place my comment bubble. It is purple and can be seen below to the left of the Citation Comment Window.

Next, I set General and Appearance Properties for the comment bubble. Set anything you like. These are my preferences.

The magic doesn't end here. Acrobat Reader X allows you to highlight parts of the document. So I highlighted the name of the baby in the portrait and the person who emailed me. Now I can instantly find what was important in the document as it pertained to my research.

* If keeping the scanned image in digital format, open it immediately in photo editing software to add a border across the bottom, and then insert several lines of text that comprise the citation.


Blogger Cherie Cayemberg said...

Excellent! My hubby is looking to replace my dinosaur PC in July with a nice new Mac notebook (don't know which yet) and this will be extremely helpful.

Honestly, I didn't know there was a way to do anything but accept what the printer spit out (silly me ;) )

Can't wait to put this to use! Thanks!

June 24, 2011 at 6:58 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

You are most welcome. Just let me say, you are going to love your Mac. Which ever one you select.

I gave up Windows and I've never looked back; and I've never been happier. The only problem - Macs just don't break. I have the first one I ever bought. Could have my own museum.


June 24, 2011 at 7:45 PM  
Blogger Eileen said...

Thank you for this idea. I knew Reader X had to be good for soemthing. I use Windows and I save all the documents I download from various sites as PDF using the free "cutePDF" printer. I had been making my file names very, very, very long but I love your approach and will switch to it as soon as I upgrade my Reader to X.

June 25, 2011 at 7:14 AM  
Blogger Monica P said...

Eileen, thank you for the CutePDF recommendation. You saved me a lot of time. I have tried to find one of those programs previously and it wouldn't work. Cute PDF downloaded quickly and I tested it out with no problem! Thank you footnote Maven for this idea!! Now I don't have to hand write sources on documents!

June 25, 2011 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Thank you Eileen for the "cutePDF" endorsement. I am loving Reader X.

Monica - this was self-preservation. Paper is taking control of my world and I am using this and an external hard drive to regain control. Before my husband divorces me.


June 25, 2011 at 11:27 AM  
Blogger A rootdigger said...

It does seem like a lot of work when one can just handwrite it or print another page. But I suppose once you get going on doing it this way, and do it often, it seems easy and simple.

I need to cite more and document more. I just do websites etc, but that is not always good. So now I remind myself to get better at it.
However, there are times where you want the person who has your information to at least contact you for the vitals and more information so you can milk them for information as well. S0 there fore some information withheld may be good. What you think of that?

An excuse ---

July 8, 2011 at 5:51 AM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

I am trying to save myself from being served with divorce papers. Genealogy has taken over my home.

The more I can do digitally, the better.

And this is easy!


July 8, 2011 at 8:05 AM  

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