Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Digitisation resource

The NSW State Records have a resource that contains useful information about digitisation as well as digitisation projects. Check the tag for digitisation in the blog, Archives Outside for  relevant articles. A recent post this month is part 1 of a series - Digitising your collection - Project Planning. Worth a look.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Backing up computers

More and more valuable information is now being stored on computers. This article from About computers is directed at home owners of computers but is also definitely applicable for members of community groups. The Dos and-Don'ts of PC Backups

Monday, August 27, 2012

Choosing a safe password

Today we need passwords for almost everything. This article in Internet for beginners provides useful tips for creating a safe password - How to Choose a Good Password.

Web design - how to drive away your readers recently published an article How to drive away your readers  which includes a number of points relevant to historical society websites. Points to avoid include using impossible navigation on a site, not maintaining the site (outdated material), trying to use latest web tools without considering whether the computers of your readers will be able to use them and using too many images (particularly large images that take too long to download. As usual with articles there are also links to other related articles on the topic. articles do have adds on their pages but if you keep reading you will usually find relevant information.

CSS - Cascading Style Sheets

For those who prefer to design their own web pages using html, learning to use cascading style sheets can be a useful tool in the design of the website. recently provided an introductory article on the topic of Cascading Style Sheets - Learn to love CSS - along with links to other articles on CSS in the Web design / HTML section.

Photoshop tutorials

A recent post from provides a link to a Photoshop Tutorial - How to Use the Levels Tool. The tutorial includes a short video plus written instructions. Although this is for Photoshop CS6 the information could be useful as a guide when using other versions of Photoshop or other photo editing software. Links to other Photoshop Tutorials provided in the Graphics Software section can also be found in the article. - Photoshop Tutorials

Photo scanners

Like many people I have a collection of photographs that need to be scanned if I want to use them online or in other digital projects. Many of the coloured photos taken in the 1960s and 1970s are also beginning to fade and need to be copied now. Our home flatbed scanner has served us well for about 10 years but is now showing its age and scanning is a slow process. I was recently given a Kaiser Baas photo scanner to use when scanning loose photos and single A4 pages. This is a small device that scans images at a resolution of 150, 300 or 600 dpi. It scans colour or black and white items and saves the scanned image as jpg or pdf files. The device is easy to use - plug it in to a power supply, press the On button for a few seconds to turn on the scanner, begin to feed the photo into the device and then press the Scan button. Scanning each image takes only a few seconds and the scanned image is saved on to a SD card in the device. Two protective sleeves come with the unit making it easier to scan smaller items as well as keeping images straight during scanning.

Once the batch of scanning is complete use the USB lead to connect the photo scanner to the computer and then save the scanned images to folders on the computer as required. Scanned images can then be edited, if required, in a photo editor.

The small portable scanner works independently of a computer so would be useful for scanning photographs 'in the field' provided that there is a power supply. For such a project you would need to keep a list of image numbers on a sheet with space for brief information about the scanned image if the photo scanner was used to scan images at places other than at the home base. At the society rooms canning single photographs using a photo scanner could also be a task undertaken by one person while someone else uses the computer for other purposes.

Larger images than A4, images on boards and those in books would still need to be scanned on a flatbed scanner or photographed with a digital camera but a small photo scanner could be a useful tool for scanning single photographs.

Monday, April 16, 2012

VALA 2012 papers

The papers presented at the VALA 2012 conference held in February are now available online at

VALA looks at the use of information technology in a range of libraries and many of the papers provide useful information about the use of information technology in other collecting organisations as well.

The plenary sessions at the beginning and end of each day provide frequently provided an overview of changes occurring in the information world plus an insight into what may occur in the future.

The two papers about Trove presented on the Tuesday morning I found particularly interesting. Trove: the terrors and triumphs of service based social media is relevant for all collecting organisations wanting to use social media to promote their services- - while Mining the treasures of Trove provided a different view of the possibilities of technology based research for broad themes -

A number of people I know also recommended the plenary session on the Thursday morning on the Guiness Archive as particularly relevant for family history researchers -

I was only able to attend two half day sessions but having the papers available online allows those unable to attend on the day the opportunity to follow what occurred at the conference.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Presentation software

Presentation software such as PowerPoint is frequently used to provide additional information during information sessions, meetings, seminars etc. however not all presentations are successfully prepared or presented.

 Ten bad presentation techniques describes mistakes that can be made when using presentation software.

Further links in the article provide additional information to consider when using presentation software.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Online genealogy research has recently published a guide - How to find your family history using free web resources - which may be useful for those researching the history of their family.

Easy ways to learn HTML

When designing websites it is useful to have some knowledge of HTML - the code used to construct a webpage. has a section  on Web Design and HTML and has recently prepared a guide Cheap and easy ways to learn HTML -