Sunday, January 8, 2012

21COFH-Develop a Digital Organizational Scheme-Week 2

This week's project will lay the foundation for much of what we will be doing as 21st century organized family historians. There are 3 things we need to consider for this week's project. Your mission is to choose 1 or more tasks below as appropriate for your interest, situation, and available time:

  1. We need to have an organizational plan for our hard drive.
  2. Develop a naming format for our digital files.
  3. In order to make it easier to find files, we should consider the use of "tags" or metadata.
I am not saying we should actually reorganize, rename and tag all of our files on our computer this week. Although if you wish to do so, go right ahead. There's no time like the present!

What I am saying is you should put some thought into how you are going to do these things going forward and develop a plan. If you write your plan down, that is even better because you will be more likely to remember and follow your plan.

Just remember, you need to come up with a plan that will work for you and that you will follow consistently! Keep it as simple as possible. It doesn't do any good to come up with a plan and then not follow it.

This is where our list of resources begins to come in handy:
  • Number 19 - Dear Myrtle's Organizing Checklist for February under week 3 describes her file naming scheme.
  • Number 20 will help you with your hard drive organization. In addition, Lisa Louise Cooke's article, "Organizing Your Hard Drive," in the May 2010 issue of Family Tree Magazine provides a written account of her podcast and UTube videos in listed in Number 20.
Additional resources:
You can complete this week's mission by leaving a comment or writing your own post and leaving the url to your post in the comments section. If you don't have a blog, keep your own journal!

Good luck!

Here are links to my project:

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum


  1. Since I am in the middle of several organization and backup projects, I am just going to toss out one idea:

    When I got a new computer and was transferring all my photos and data files I made a decision to organize, combine, and name all files something possibly quirky, but, with one rule: the name of the file must have the first letter come in the alphabet before the letter "P". I also wanted to combine files whenever there was something "in kind", thus reducing the number of directories I had, and I had a LOT!

    "P" is where Program Files are, I wanted all names to be shown on Explore above that. So, I chose things, like:

    "lousy mail list". It was before "P" and I hated the format, I thought it was lousy, still do and still have the awful thing. Maybe some day I will get around to doing something about that.

    I had a lot of files for the local county I live in, research files for clients or lookups I did, transcriptions, book files, cemetery records, a huge amount of data. So, I took and put them all in a master file, named, "Lenawee All". Not particularly original, a bit quirky and before "P". Currently there are 6 sub-directories under that, and many more directories and files under those 6. But, all county stuff is there, one place.

    I even have a directory named "I got work to do". Ya, quirky.

    Looking at what I have done with files and names and such since then, it appears I need to have another go at it, combining again.

  2. Michelle, The link to Dear Myrtle wasn't working for me. I love the ideas. Thank you.

  3. Karen, Drat! OK, I've changed the link. It now takes you to her 2011 February Organization Checklist where you can click on the .pdf link to the actual checklist.

    Thank you for calling that to my attention :)

  4. I am dreading this week, because it is going to be a long haul - no, a very long haul.

  5. I have a this space. I just need to remember it long enough to actually do it - lol!

  6. I have put up my post at


  7. My post is up -

  8. Just saw this post. Thanks for the shout out, Michelle!

  9. Hi Michelle,

    I hope it's not too late to join in. I'm a bit behind, but I've been really looking forward to your posts about getting organized. I've been thinking off and on for the past year that I need to find a better scheme than what I'm using for my digital genealogy files. Not being able to find things and wondering "where did I get that from" makes me a little cranky. I hate to admit that I've only recently learned about adding metadata. Can't wait to get started!


    1. It's never too late to join in! I'll be looking forward to hearing about your organizational accomplishments!