Before adding media to your TNG site, we should discuss “what is media?” and what your categories are for placing them in the right locations for family research.
For our purposes in TNG, media is any digital artifact that you want to associate with a person, a family or a place in your family history. So this can be a photo, a document, certificate, piece of paper, a letter, a screenshot from a map or from another website page.
What are TNG collections?
This is how TNG allows you to group your artifacts into various types of media. TNG comes with six categories of collections: Photos, Documents, Headstones, Histories, Recordings and Videos. You can also use Albums to aggregate your media.
- Photos. Photographs of anything: people, families, vacations, reunions, weddings.
- Documents. Census records, military, birth/marriage/death certificates, letters, memoirs, memberships, diplomas, driver’s licence and so on.
- Headstones. Images of headstones, footstones, grave markers, plots. You can also flag the situation of a headstone: whether located yet or not, missing, unmarked or a cremation.
- Histories. You add your written stories of the families in here. You can use a previously created document, in the format of a PDF or image file, for example. Or you can type in the history story directly into TNG.
- Recordings. Your audio records.
- Videos. Your video records.
You are not limited to just six media categories. Indeed, you can add your own categories, called “collections” to suit your filing needs. More on collections later.
TNG will accept your digital item in just about any format, according to the TNG software author. Do keep in mind that you or someone that is using your website for research eventually will want to retrieve and view it and you or they might not have the same software application that was used to create the media in the first place. So try to stick with industry common standards for file formats.
For images, it is fairly safe to use JPEG, TIFF, PNG and even PDF formats. Each has a distinct value in preserving and displaying images. JPEG is noted for some diminishing of the image quality, if it is edited a number of times, but it is also more compact and displays more quickly than some others. TIFF is a good choice if you do not want to lose any quality, but the files tend to be on the large size of memory.
For documents, you can still use the above choices for saving individual pages, but not so useful for a book. A safe bet is to set the format to PDF. You can also use word processing file formats, such as MS Word DOC or DOCX. If the text and not the format is important, consider using TXT as your choice. There are other word/text applications out there, but keep in mind whether future researchers will have such a tool.
Lists, charts and tables can be saved as spreadsheets, so Microsoft XLS and XLSX are options, as well as others. However, not every researcher will have the same spreadsheet application as you, so consider making a PDF version at the same time.
Audio recordings would typically be type MP3, WAV (for PC’s), AIFF (Apple) and so on. MP3 is a safe choice. Video recordings also have choices: AVI (Quicktime), MP4 and others. MP4 is a common choice here.