Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Broken Links and Lost Images -- a genealogical challenge

A commentator posed a recurring question about media links in the various genealogical database programs. Anytime the database is moved from one device to another, the link between the media file and the program is lost. These lost links are handled in a variety of ways by the different programs, with some doing a better job than others. 

The issue arises when you crate a link from an individual or event listed in your database program and an external photo, document or video or audio recording. I am not aware of any of the programs that make a copy of the media item and incorporate it into the program. At best, the programs make a thumbnail or small reproduction of the item for inclusion. The program then records the path to where the actual item is stored on your computer. 

I have tried to solve this issue by storing all of the images for all of my programs in one huge file folder on my computer. That way, I can link to the items in that folder and as long as I copy the folder to the new device, my problem of maintaining a link to the files is solved. In my case that file does not hold all of the media items, only those that I have already attached to one of my programs. As that file grows, I will likely have to come up with some alternative storage strategies. 

What if you cannot find the photo or image of the document on your computer? I suggest downloading a copy of Google's Picasa. Once downloaded, Picasa will inventory every image on your computer. The images will not be moved and no copy is made by Google. But you will be able to use the programs editor to edit the images and move, rename and delete the images. 

You may want to check the options or preferences for your genealogical database program. Usually, the programs allow you to designate the preferred folder for your documents and other media items. I always try to use one folder, as I said, for all my programs so this is pretty easy to figure out. You might become aware that almost every program has extensive instructions about what to do with broken links. Most of the online resources are program specific. So do a search for broken links and add the name of your software program. 

1 comment:

  1. Family Tree Maker has an option of copying media into a dedicated media folder for that specific tree. There's also the option to link to the media from wherever else you have it stored.

    The backup command has an option to backup the media in the dedicated folder as well as the database. A restore restores both the database and the media with links intact. That isn't the case with media you have linked however.