Monday, January 16, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: What's that photocopy?

Paper Wraps Technology

Paper copies and research forms are alive and well, at least for me. I use them to preserve certain kinds of information. Writing it out forces me to slow down and absorb what it says, and reading on paper will always have its advantages.

In addition to pedigrees, family group sheets and research logs, I'm constantly searching for forms, charts and planning aids online. I have a binder with originals in sheet protectors and copies with dividers for family group sheets, pedigree forms, research logs, records checklists, discrepancy logs, census forms,will extracts, deed extracts, etc. I've designed some forms of my own that I use as well.

Some paper forms combine the best of both worlds. Today at footnoteMaven's website I found a handy little tag for labeling copies.  "Collecting Information for a Source" is her solution to the pesky problem of knowing which page comes from which source. I always say "Oh, I see what this page looks like, the running heads, the typeface, I'll know where it's from." But once I get the copies home, not so much.

FootnoteMaven uses a citation form printed onto a strip of paper. You fill it out and place it on the glass or in the photo or scan with each page, and the source data will be there every time. What a great idea! There are so many uses for this little tag: as a bookmark while the book is waiting to be copied, as a quick reminder of why I made the copy in the first place. I can even line up the tags on the copier for a record of the documents I found that day! 

FootnoteMaven tailors her forms to the type of document—photo, book, journal article, original record or whatever. Here's a sample of the one she uses for pages of photographs.

I think this is a terrific idea, but I decided not to go with a tailored tag—I have so many forms that I need to control the urge to add more!

I designed the strip to go across the width of the page so it would always fit the document. If there's not enough room, I can set the photocopier for legal-size paper. This is the form I'm going to try first. The notes will show the information I got from the document and whatever else I want to remember.

Next time I go to the library I'll try this and either tweet or post here to let you know how it worked. Thanks a million for the tip, FM!

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