RootsTech workshop encourages digital scrapbooking

Published: Friday, Feb. 7 2014 3:00 p.m. MST

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After spending years working on a family genealogy, it's easy to have accumulated a lot of “stuff.” It is equally easy for all that “stuff” to be boxed up and left in the attic or, worse, thrown away.

Author Barbara Groth was speaking from experience when she addressed an audience at the RootsTech conference on Thursday morning.

Groth, a University of Wisconsin graduate with an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, began traditional scrapbooking in the '80s, when her daughter competed in horseback and her son was a wrestler. She also likes to scrapbook socially with her daughter and friends. But her method of scrapbooking completely changed in 2012, when her daughter gave her a gift certificate to learn how to create digital memories.

"I was traveling a lot at the time, and it was too dificult to lug the many materials with me, so digital was something I was definitely interested in learning," she told the Deseret News. Using what she had learned, she created her first digital scrapbook — four generations of her paternal surname — and wrote a book about it in 2013 called “BarbwireDigi’s Guide to Creating a Digital Genealogy Scrapbook.”

Groth’s RootsTech workshop taught aspiring genealogists how to organize their family histories and begin creating a digital scrapbook of their own, including electronic versions of family pictures, documents, records and other valuable information.

One of the biggest advantages of having a digital scrapbook, Groth explained Thursday, is that an electronic version can be shared much more easily than a hard copy. With today's technology, storage is easier than ever before. She encouraged family historians to upload their digital scrapbooks online through blogs, social media and storage services in “the cloud.”

Groth gave a list of recommended equipment that any digital scrapbooker should have to begin with, such as a computer, photo editing software (she recommended using Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 or an equivalent), a scanner and some means of external storage. She stressed the importance of saving and externally backing up work as often as possible.

Photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop Elements can be a bit pricy. (Elements currently costs $99 on Adobe’s website.) However, Groth pointed out that many companies, including Adobe, offer free 30-day trials of its software, which should give users a good idea as to whether they’d like to purchase the full version.

Some simple tutorials are available online to help novices get accustomed to the digital scrapbooking process. Groth mentioned websites she has used, such as JessicaSprague.com and DigitalScrapper.com.

An important part of creating a digital scrapbook is having a clean yet artistic layout for each page. Groth recommended using a pre-built scrapbook template like the ones found on YinDesigns.blogspot.com. Other digital templates can be found at sites like MyMemories.com and SmileBox.com.

Also, entire scrapbooks can be created by following a step-by-step process on some sites like Picaboo.com, Shutterfly.com and Mixbook.com. Pricing for these products depends on sizes and styles.

A brief demonstration was given during Groth’s workshop, showing how to create a digital scrapbook using Photoshop. She gave a handful of useful tips to follow while making the scrapbook:

  • Start with an idea for the album or page
  • Select a template or layout
  • Open photos and other documents on the computer
  • Add the documents to the template
  • Save often!
  • Add journaling and stories, such as names, titles and captions for photos, etc.
  • Add titles and sections to the pages and create a table of contents
  • Add backgrounds
  • Add embellishments, such as word art, ribbons and QR codes
  • Alter or enhance the page by adding color, resizing and changing shapes of frames, adding shadows,or adding styles and effects
“BarbwireDigi’s Guide to Creating a Digital Genealogy Scrapbook” can be purchased for $10 in ebook format by visiting her website at BarbwireDigi.com.

Email: achristensen@deseretnews.com, Twitter: atownmania

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