DON'S FREEWARE CORNER - MAR 2018
WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THOSE PDFS FROM ROOTSTECH AND OTHER CONFERENCES
©2018 Donald R. Snow - Last updated 2018-03-17
Don's Freeware Corner notes are printed in the UTAH VALLEY TECHNOLOGY AND GENEALOGY GROUP (UVTAGG)
Newsletter TAGGology each month and are posted on his Class Notes Page at
where there may be corrections, updates, and additions.
THE ROOTSTECH CONFERENCES
RootsTech 2018 in the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City just concluded with more than 200 classes given and the
pdf handouts for them available to everyone, whether you attended RootsTech or not. These are a major
source of family history information for everyone. My last month's Freeware Corner article (Feb 2018)
described a method of how anyone can download any or all of the RootsTech 2018 handouts and the handouts
are still online so you can still download them, even though the conference has finished. This
Freeware Corner article (Mar 2018) is what to do with all the handouts to help you in the future.
We will discuss forming an electronic database so they are findable, usable, and searchable.
This will also apply to pdfs from other conferences and to scanned articles. Some people print
hardcopies of the papers they think might be useful later, but my experience is that I can't find the
ones I've printed later, so I've developed an electronic system. Besides making them more usable,
they don't take up any space on my shelves and are available wherever I happen to be.
FAMILY HISTORY HOW-TO PAPERS
Family history conferences now give the registrants a flash drive with the pdfs on it or give them a
link online where they can download the handouts. They used to give hardcopy printouts and then
started giving CDs with all the papers. Most conferences still sell hard copy books of the notes,
if you want to buy one. For example, RootsTech 2018 this year sold the hardcopy book of about 650
pages with all the papers for $50. When attending a class, I like to have a hard copy of the handout
so I don't have to take careful notes and can mark or write added things to follow up on later.
But, after the conference, the hardcopy books take up too much space on my shelves and I can't remember
which book had the information when I'm looking for it. Several years ago I developed a system of
labeling and keeping the records in electronic form so I can find what I am looking for. This
"How-To" database has been growing and is very helpful. I also include scans of article from
the two genealogy magazines to which I subscribe. The key is making the articles findable and
searchable. I call this my Family History How-To Collection.
LABELING THE PAPERS FOR EASE OF FINDING
The pdfs from RootsTech conferences have prefixes like GS####, RT####, etc. These codes mean
the following: GS = Getting Started, RT = RootsTech, FDD = Family Discovery Day, and
LDS = Mormon. The numbers identify the class. Here are a couple of handout titles
from RootsTech 2018.
RT0290-Wilkins-Organizing and Preserving Photograph Collections.pdf
With just their titles you can sometimes tell which ones you need, but to have them sort in order,
I add additional code words, the author's full name, and where the paper came from. Here are
my augmented titles of the above papers.
FH-PHOTOS-ORGANIZE--RT0290-WilkinsAri-Organizing and Preserving Photograph Collections--
The FH- at the start tells me it is a How-To genealogy paper and the occasion and date at the end lets me
know where and when it was given. The other keywords and the author's full name make it so I can
easily find all papers with that subject matter or by that author. Many times the title of a
paper does not describe what it contains, so the keywords are needed. The keywords and author's
full name have to be entered by hand, but can be done easily using FILE EXPLORER with the Preview
Panel open so you can see the pages of the pdf and rename it without opening it. The terms
FH- and RootsTech2018 can be added to the entire collection all at once by using the freeware
program BULK RENAME UTILITY available from http://www.bulkrenameutility.co.uk/Main_Intro.php .
With these enlarged titles the papers will alphabetize by their main subjects and that may be enough to
find what you are looking for. More specific title searches are easily done using the freeware
program EVERYTHING described below.
DATABASE OF HOW-TOS
Once the files have
their names completed they can all be moved into a single folder with previous papers. The
entire database can now be examined immediately for papers of a main topic by just noting where the
main keywords alphabetize. A more detailed search in the titles can be done using the extremely
helpful and free program EVERYTHING.
USING THE PROGRAM EVERYTHING TO FIND WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR
This free program EVERYTHING is available from https://www.voidtools.com/ and has the
ability to search for any words or characters in the titles of all files on your entire computer,
not just in one folder. Note that it searches titles, not the text in the files.
Other programs will do that. Using EVERYTHING, even if the files are not in the same folder,
they will show up in the results. For example, to find all files that are How-To's of using
censuses, you can search for the terms FH- and census in EVERYTHING. If you want all
papers by a particular person, just search for FH- and their name. If you want just papers
from recent years, include the years in the search terms. The search results show all the
files from anywhere on your computer and in alphabetical order by the keywords since they follow
the FH-. Papers from elsewhere on your computer can all be moved into a single folder by
highlighting them in EVERYTHING and drag-and-dropping them to a particular folder. You will
see their path change in EVERYTHING, but the names will remain where they were in the results
SEARCHING FOR TEXT IN A FILE COLLECTION
There are programs, many free, that
will search for text in all files of a collection. One such program is
ASTROGREP from http://astrogrep.sourceforge.net/ . You select a folder and search for
any text in any file in that folder and its subfolders. Keep in mind that searching for
text in a collection of files will probably take much longer than searching for file titles,
since there is so much more text to be searched. But such programs can be used to find
the files containing any text you are looking for and they are easily used if you have all
your How-To collection in one folder.
FORMING A COLLECTION OF FILES IN EVERNOTE
Another option is to copy the entire collection of How-To files into an EVERNOTE notebook.
EVERNOTE is a note taking program available from https://evernote.com/ with free and
commercial versions. Files can be drag-and-dropped into notes in a notebook in
EVERNOTE, but it is much easier to just highlight the whole collection in FILE EXPLORER,
EVERYTHING, or other file manager program, right click, and Send To EVERNOTE. The
Send To EVERNOTE option will be in your Context Menu (the right-click menu) once
EVERNOTE is installed on the computer. This puts each pdf into a single note into
the EVERNOTE notebook you had open and only takes a minute or so to copy in several
hundred files. Once the pdfs are in EVERNOTE every word in them will be indexed
so they are every-word searchable. The commercial versions of EVERNOTE index the files
immediately, but the free version waits until late at night so the every-word index isn't
available to you until the next day. But the index remains, even in the free version,
so later searching doesn't take very long.
Using such a "How-To" database can be a real help whenever you need information about some task
or someone asks you a question or you are preparing a class. It takes time to form the file, but like so many things, it may end up saving you time in the long run.
Because of copyright restrictions of the papers, it would not be appropriate for you to post
your How-To database nor even share it too far. For my own use I find this collection