The conference goers among you probably realize that much of the learning and personal impact of a great conference occurs after you get home. For sure that is what happened for me after IAJGS2013. I learned I need to reorganize or get organized.... I guess a bit of each of those. At home I have a notebook of plastic covered sheets of documents I have found along the way, a collection of photographs, one of which is an unfinished story for another story for another day. I also have a notebook of written, not well organized, notebook of notes about various findings about four different families. Then we start with the digital records. They are a greater disaster than the paper files. With much embarrassment I think the only way you will understand the problem is to show you the mess of files and folder that need to be dealt with before moving forward.
Just imagine all that is in the other folders. At first I made myself a promise. No more searching until all of the digital folders were organized. It took three days and I knew that was a mistake. But I did realize that the issue is not just these files but the bigger picture of where I would build this new digital collection.
Interestingly enough it took until January 25, 2014 till I found out I was looking at the whole project through the wrong lens. At the meeting of the GenealogySIG of NWOU (a mac users group in Chicago area) the big AHAA! arrived. I had presented my problem of how to organize; how I had tried PIXA but it accepted only image and pdf files. I wanted to try Evernote as I have heard much about it. But one member of the group after hearing my tale put his finger on the main problem. I was approaching this process as though I were building a tree, instead of an organization of data. He made me realize that a file for each person had to have all of that person's information. For example, if there are three persons traveling on the same passport, a copy of that passport had to in each person's folder.
So now my real work begins. Evernote and I are going to become the best of friends. It is my hope and dream that most of this will be organized by IAJGS2014. Do you think I will make it? I hope so. I welcome comments of my choice of organizational tool and suggestions for any you think might be better for the job. Just remember I am on a MAC. ;-)