Saturday, December 4, 2010

Test 7: Media Files with links in a GEDCOM file

In an earlier blog post, there was an import status of the GEDCOM file from Roots Magic into Family Tree Maker. A GEDCOM file as a plain text file and can be opened by most word processing applications.

The ability to look at a GEDCOM is a good thing, as seen on earlier posts, as it may help you identify a problem from ones the error messages in the .LST file. Some of the messages here have been data from such a file. That is good news for troubleshooting but bad news if there is a Media file in the sending file. (Media might be a picture, an images, a Citation image). Those files are not included.

The first issue is that not all genealogy programs deal with a media file that might be in the Users family file.

Roots Magic 4 does have the ability to include a link to a media file. The GEDCOM file might have an entry that looks like this (from Roots Magic):

1 OBJE
2 FILE C:\Users\(user information and folder name) Media\(media filename).jpg
2 FORM jpg
2 TITL Test Media
2 _TYPE PHOTO
2 _SCBK Y
2 _PRIM Y

If the media file (media filename).jpg was sent along to the other user, and put that image in a similar folder, or to relink the Object to the appropriate field in the users file, that link would appear as it should in the receiving Users file.

So far there is some coordination to reconnect the data in the file to this image.

This specific image (media file) was an image of a Census Record for two people, documenting in this image, their residence for that census year. In this specific case, the image was in the path for that file. When Family Tree Maker imported the GEDCOM file, it picked up that the image was already on the computer, in that folder, so the Image was in the Media Workspace of Family Tree Maker.

That's good news, the image it there, but it also means more work. The User receiving the image would have to know that the image is a Citation Media file. Looking at the Media Workspace the Image is actually show twice. The data for that image is clear that it is ONE file, but two thumbnails are showing up. Family Tree Maker clearly shows the two people who are attached to that one image with two thumbnails.

The Family Tree Maker end user then needs to know that the image is a Citation Media file, go to the appropriate screen in the program at attach that image to the appropriate Source. Repeat that for both people in the file.

That still leaves two images in the Media Workspace. If the end user attached the citation to the same image, the Usage for that image would show that both people are using that image and then can delete the duplicate image.

There is no indication in the GEDCOM file, noting how the image is used, or that there are two links to one image, so the clean up of a complicated GEDCOM, with links to images, will take some work.

This information is in no way reflecting either Family Tree Maker nor Roots Magic. It is to illustrate a serious weakness in the current GEDCOM format. As genealogy applications handle media files very well, the sharing of them is not very simple.

It is hoped that the BetterGEDCOM project will address this issue.

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