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# Tuesday, December 18, 2007
The Skinny on Scanners
Posted by Allison

Q I’m in the process of digitizing my family photos, and I have to wonder: Does the type of scanner or software really matter? I am not correcting any of them; they’re going in “as is” because 98 percent are in excellent shape.

A Of course, the companies manufacturing such gizmos like to play up the benefits of their products’ features—and it’s true that a $500 scanner can do things a $100 scanner can’t. But for genealogists, it’s kind of like choosing between a Ford or a Rolls Royce: Although the Rolls offers lots of bells and whistles, you'd probably opt for the cheaper Ford if all you really care about is getting from point A to point B.

We recommend family historians scan photographic prints at 300 to 600 dpi for archival purposes. (If you plan to enlarge any far beyond their original size, however, you’ll probably need to scan those at a higher resolution.) Today, flatbed scanners in the $80 to $100 range offer 1,200-dpi or higher optical resolution—more than enough for the type of scanning you’re doing.

If you have a lot of photos to scan, you might want to pay a little extra to get a model with a document feeder or other convenience features. Old photos, which often have cardboard backings, won't work with feeders, though. So you'd have to skip the feeder anyway if you're working with heritage photos.

(Note that slides and negatives require a scanner built for that purpose—rather than a regular flatbed—to get the best results. Such models have high resolutions and correspondingly high price tags.)

Likewise, you’ll probably find that the photo-editing and -organizing software that came with your scanner or computer will work fine for your needs. Once you’ve had an opportunity to get familiar with the program’s setup, you might decide you want to “step up” to another program that has additional features or an interface better-suited to your working style. Adobe’s $100 Photoshop Elements is one popular choice—but you certainly don’t need to shell out $650 for the professional Photoshop program, which is loaded with fancy features you’ll probably never need.


Preserving Heirlooms and Photos | computers
Tuesday, December 18, 2007 11:56:23 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Chart Challenges
Posted by Allison

Q I have Family Tree Maker 2008 software, and I can't figure out how to print a basic family group sheet that includes all my facts. Can you help?

A For this answer, we'll turn to Family Tree Magazine contributing editor Rick Crume, who reviewed Family Tree Maker 2008 in our March 2008 issue. Crume says "you need to tinker a lot with the settings" to get a decent family group sheet—but you can do it following these steps:
  1. Click on the link to the Publish workspace at the top of the screen.
  2. Use the mini-family tree at the top of the screen to select a parent in the family or click the file folder icon to search the Index of Individuals.
  3. Under Publication Types, select Relationship Reports and click on the Family Group Sheet.
  4. Click on the Detail tab.
  5. Click on the Items to Include button (with the green arrow).
  6. Hit the + button to add facts, click Select All and hit OK.
  7. Uncheck “Include only preferred facts” and “Include blank facts” and check OK. (Whew!)
Here’s a hint about pedigree charts: The default font size in four-generation charts is too large (10-point), so many place names get omitted. Reducing the font size for facts to 8 may help. (You could also remove “in” from the facts, but that process is even more convoluted.)


software
Wednesday, December 12, 2007 10:31:54 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, December 10, 2007
Untangling Terms of Use
Posted by Allison

Q I wanted to use a Web site such as Kodak, Shutterfly, PhotoWorks or Snapfish to order a mousepad with my ancestors’ photos on it. But all these sites’ terms of use state that I have to give up my rights to the photos! For example, PhotoWorks' terms say, "You hereby grant to PhotoWorks, Inc. non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use, publish, copy, modify, transmit, display and distribute your Content for the purpose of delivering the Service and warrant that you have a right to grant such a license. In addition, you warrant that all moral rights in any Content and uploaded materials have been waived and do hereby waive any such moral rights." I feel that if I use the service of one of these companies, I’ve already paid it for the service, therefore it does not--and should not--have any rights to my photos. Why do  these companies think they should be able to do this?

A You'll find this type of standard disclaimer when you use any photo Web site. Unfortunately, all the legal mumbo jumbo and complicated wording make most companies’ terms of use, er, challenging for the average consumer to understand. We’re not legal experts and therefore can’t offer legal opinions. But as scary as this clause may sound, it doesn’t appear that PhotoWorks is trying to take away any rights from its customers. Let’s look at it one part at a time.

1) The first key phrase is "for the purpose of delivering the service." In order to produce your calendar, put your photos on a CD, create an album, or make whatever product you've ordered, the company of course has to digitally reproduce, possibly edit and print your photo. Therefore, you'll be required to legally grant the company the right to use your photo. You're only giving the company the right to create the product you asked it to, nothing else.

2) You grant this right "non-exclusively"--meaning that you also can extend your rights to anyone or any other company you wish.

3) The statement "[you] warrant that you have a right to grant such a license" is also important: It's an acknowledgment that you actually have the copyright or permission to use the photos you upload. This statement protects the company against legal action if a customer reproduces photographs illegally. For example, say you get your kid's picture taken at Olan Mills, then you scan one of the photos and upload it to PhotoWorks so you can order a product. That's a violation of copyright law, because professional photo studios almost always copyright their work (that way, you have to buy the photos from that studio). It would be impossible for PhotoWorks or any such site to vet all the photos its users upload. By PhotoWorks' inclusion of this statement, Olan Mills (in this example) couldn't sue PhotoWorks if PhotoWorks' users were reproducing Olan Mills' copyrighted photographs without the studio’s permission.

4) "Moral rights" has nothing to do with morality, but with the copyright holder's right to attribution and to the integrity of the work (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_rights). Again, in my not-legal opinion, by "waiving moral" rights, you're waiving your right to have a "credit line" on a PhotoWorks products and allowing the company to "change" the image by affixing it to a coffee mug etc.

When you boil it down, what PhotoWorks is asking is common-sense stuff and shouldn’t raise red flags for most family historians. Of course, some services or companies may include some terms of use that you simply don’t agree with—which is why we encourage consumers not to ignore them. If you see something that concerns you, you can choose not to use that service—before it’s too late.


Preserving Heirlooms and Photos | Web tips | copyright
Monday, December 10, 2007 5:00:43 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]