©2022 Donald R. Snow -- Page last updated 2022-11-29
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ABSTRACT: Journals are important family history items, but are hard for many of us to write  For many years I have done my nightly journal audibly, first using a cassette tape recorder, then a digital recorder, and now with an Android tablet.  This class will discuss the procedure and the programs I use now,  but other programs could be used.  We will discuss recording, naming the files so they sort in chronological order and are easy to find, and moving them to a Journal folder.  The files can later be transcribed to text, but that is another class.  The notes for this class and related articles, all with active Internet links, are on Don's web page .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow of Provo, Utah ( ).
  2. These notes, with active Internet links and related articles, are posted on Don's website .
  3. Tips:  (1)  To put an icon on your desktop for the URL for these notes, or for any web page, just drag the icon in front of the address in your browser to your desktop.  (2)  To open a link while keeping your place in the original page, hold down the Control key while clicking the link so it opens in a new tab.
  4. Problem for today:  How to keep an audio digital journal, recording, naming, and transferring  the files so they sort in order and are easy to find.  This will be demonstrated in the class.

  6. I started writing a journal many times, but was never consistent.
  7. Starting in the  middle 1970s I began recording my journal on cassette tape with the hope that soon there would be  an automatic transcription program. Cassette tapes are analog, not digital. The worst case scenario would be to have to pay someone to transcribe it all.
  8. Today (2022) there are still no 100% transcription programs, but that's another class; you can get about 95% accuracy now.
  9. In 2003 I  switched to using a digital recorder (Olympus) so the files were already digital (but not transcribed, of course).
  10. This year (2022) I started using an Android tablet with the program EVERNOTE so the audio files are digital and automatically stored online and on all my electronic devices.
  11. Most of what we discuss here will apply to any programs you might want to use. 
  12. Every night I first write a short list of the day's events in a small appointment book and that helps me dictate and look up dates and places later. 


  13. EVERNOTE ( )has free and commercial versions (about $70/year); after using the free version for many years, I started paying for the fee version to use some of the commercial features.
  14. EVERNOTE automatically stores my notes and files on their computers and copies them to each of my electronic devices, e.g. my computers, phone, and tablets.
  15. I now dictate my nightly journal in EVERNOTE on an Android tablet, then rename the note before EVERNOTE stores and copies it.

  17. When I dictate, the tablet calls it "UNTITLED NOTE", so I rename it to, for example, "JOURNAL-2022-11-10-AUDIO".
  18. This is the name of the note, not the audio file within the note, and it makes the notes sort together and in order.
  19. The date format is International Date Format (YYYY-MM-DD) so they alphabetize chronologically.
  20. The audio files within the notes are automatically named with the date and exact time they were recorded.
  21. Before exporting the audio files from within the notes, I rename the audio files to SnowDonaldRay(1931-)-JOURNAL-2022-11-10-AUDIO--[the date and time EVERNOTE added]. I also have to change the colons (:) in the time to dashes (-) since Windows doesn't allow colons in file names. 
  22. I next Export the audio files to the Journal folder on my computer using the free program EVERYTHING ( ), an extremely helpful program.

  24. Doing my journal audibly has been easy for me and I have a 5-7 minute audio description of my activities every day for the past nearly 50 years.
  25. The audio files are very detailed, much more so than if I had written them.
  26. With my naming system it is easy to find the file for any date.
  27. Maybe someday there will be audio indexing so you can search an audio file, but we don't have that yet.  There will also be accurate transcription programs someday, too.
  28. Hopefully, this has given you some ideas that you can use in your own situation.
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