I got thinking about this again after reading a short post by The Ancestry Insider entitled, "Monday Mailbox: Printed Research Guides." (I wish some one would ask me this kind of question, then I wouldn't have to think about what I was going to write). The question involved printing the FamilySearch Research Outlines which are now available on the Wiki portion of the FamilySearch.org website. The question was, "The state and country research guides have been moved to the FamilySearch wiki. That's a good way to keep them up to date. Unfortunately they've created no way to easily print them. That's a really ill-conceived development. A lot of people like to have printed guides that they can look at when their computers are turned off."
My first reaction was, "You turn off your computer?" Why would you do that? Oh, I guess I have to get back to real life. (Whatever that is). Some people actually do things without having a computer about their person 24 hours a day. (Come on, let's take this question seriously now!).
The Ancestry Insider answers, "Short of that, I think you’re going to be stuck with printing your own. You will have to reset your expectations, settling for a much less desirable solution than afforded in the past. Don’t even think about printing all the pages replacing a hardcopy guide. Be choosy. Print only the articles that you need offline, short term. That’s all I’ve got. Does anyone else have suggestions?"
Yes, I have several suggestions. We had this discussion last night with one of my daughters. The discussion revolved around one of my granddaughter's constant reading habit and the number of books it took to keep it going. Since I have the same habit, only much more serious because of the long term effects, I have to face that problem. The main problem with reading books and research materials on my desktop computer is just that, it is on the desktop and I am not usually reading at my desk, I am working.
The solution, suggested by The Ancestry Insider, was to print off selected portions of the materials you want to read. However, I hope you do not have an inkjet printer because you will soon go broke trying to buy ink cartridges. From my perspective, sitting here in a room stuffed with paper in piles, boxes and on shelves, printing off transitory research documents or interim family group records is no longer an option.
Another solution involves more technology: iPads, Kindles and Nooks. My daughter had seen a Kindle from Amazon.com for the first time and was amazed that she could actually imagine reading a book on the device. For this reason, iPads are an interesting solution. iBooks, the Apple reading application, will also read PDF files. Adobe.com invented PDF (portable document format) to give a nearly universal way to preserve documents for reading online. All you have to do is save or print the document as a PDF and then all of the information will be there just like the original and then transfer it to the iPad when you synchronize it with your main computer and voila! the document is ready to read. Amazon gives the following information about reading PDF documents on a Kindle:
In addition to the commercially available titles sold in the Kindle store, you can also read personal documents on your Kindle (1st Generation). Each Kindle has a unique e-mail address, allowing you and your contacts to send attachments (Word and picture files) directly to your Kindle for a small fee or to your default Amazon e-mail account for free. Please refer to the links below for more information.Here is a YouTube video about reading PDF documents on a Nook:
Here is another video showing reading a complex PDF document on the iPad:
I realize you are probably saying, but I don't want to read on a machine. Well, my suggestion is that people who say this probably have never tried it. So, if you simply refuse to try it, try to get a wholesale license so you can buy the ink and toner.