Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why the Argument "Its Too Much Money & Takes Too Much Time" doesn't hold water anymore (or prevent fires)

I posted this on Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter today as a comment, but I thought it deserved its own post. I've expanded upon what I said there below.

The Isanti County Historical Society in Minnesota had their building attacked by arsonists.

They lost everything.


The first two comments on the Eastman page said it all to me.

"Shouldn't the arrest and conviction be of those that didn't get the records digitized? Clearly something is broken in the historical society model."

"If it did not require thousands of dollars and thousands of man-hours, I’m sure all societies would “get the records digitized.” When someone makes such a comment, I can’t help but wonder how much money and how many volunteer hours they give to their local historical and genealogical societies in support of digitization projects…"

You know, this is the same argument that's been waging on for a while.

Digitize and back up records?

"No, I can't, its too much money and too many hours"

"But you must, what happens if there's a disaster?"

"That would be horrible. But its too much money and too many hours. We don't have enough help or money to do it."

Here's where I think most people are lacking. It IS possible to do a digitization project without having thousands in the bank and armies of volunteers!

I understand. You're tired. You've been with the same core of volunteers since 1911, and it ain't about to change anytime soon. If it needs to get done, you've got to do it, and that's one MORE thing you have to fit into your schedule.

But...there's a thought. What if you did go out for more volunteers? What if you did start working on a project. What if you could get people energized about history and genealogy? Maybe you wouldn't have to be the ONE volunteer left.

If you're with me, and ready to make that leap, read on. If not, and you're already irritated with what I've said, feel free to comment or move on.

Need volunteers? How about posting on volunteermatch.org? How about reaching out to your local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts troops? How about reaching out to the local Junior Chamber and your Chamber of Commerce? Have you reached out to your local university or community college? Developing a digitization project could be a great project for some interns! Have you reached out to local bloggers, Google+ users, Twitterers, Facebook users? These people can all be a source for volunteers.

Need money? Run a project - sell a digital cookbook or history book. Or a hard copy one. Or sell Tupperware, run a fundraising night at a local restaurant or bakery, or open a cause on Facebook. Work with a local group to fundraise like the Junior Chamber or Chamber of Commerce or Development Corporations. Do a calendar like Calendar Girls did! Auction off hours of your time for other people. Think like any other organization - wash cars - do whatever it takes to get some seed money together. So many organizations I've seen solely confine how they fundraise to just genealogy type projects - a local history, a history day, selling research time, selling memberships. Those are great, but they aren't the ONLY things you can do!

Or work to partner with a local organization to help with some of the costs - one of my favorite societies partnered with a local library to get ALL of their newspapers scanned. The library hosts the data the society scans for them and OCRs for them.

Another group I've worked with worked with their local phone company to sponsor pages on their member-only website with old phone records. It just depends on where your group's strength lies - sponsorships work great for orgs with members in the business community.

Need knowledge of how to do the process? Reach out to people like Dick Eastman and others that willingly give out tons of good instruction guides and reviews.

All you really need to do is make sure that there are digital copies of your documents out there with your members. You don't have to build some slick website. You don't have to OCR your files (though that is nice...). You don't have to even have them in PDFs (TIF files in a labeled folder work just fine). You need to get those digital copies, and put several discs/hard drives/flash drives out there with your members (you know, in case one of their houses burns down or floods). All the rest can come later.

To end this off - my point is, you CAN do a digitization project. Focus on things unique to your library - there's no point in doing a US Census book, for example - like local history books, local censuses, photos of the area, etc. Start small and work your way up. There's no need to do all of your books and documents RIGHT NOW.

One society that I've belonged to in the past had a goal to do one book a week. By the end of the year, the entire library was digitized, and they discovered a new revenue stream as other people (including myself) could buy copies of books we liked and have them emailed to us.

It IS doable. People just need to make that leap between making the excuse (aka the comfortable way) and doing it (aka going into the unknown).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Much Less Frilly Moccasins - Additional Explanation

If you're looking for the original pattern, it can now be found on Ravelry!

I've sent this to a few people on Ravelry, so I thought it might deserve some follow up attention because I think it might be confusing people, and I've slightly altered how I do them to make them more secure on the sides.

Most people do simple slippers as rectangles. Fold and Sew. I've found I don't like that style, as it leaves a weird elf-like quality to the slippers. So I do mine differently - a circle and a rectangle put together, like this:

The problem is that I think people are viewing it is a flat circle, when its not. Its in the round, like a cup. So you are always joining, they doing the chains.

The circle is at the front of the slipper, and the rectangle is at the bottom, like this:

If you can imagine it, you look at the circle in front of you and the rectangle flows behind.

Hopefully it makes sense that the circle looks like a cup when done correctly. A flat circle will have to be folded to make the shape.

So the instruction which I need to update is that at the end, I now take my sewing needle and sew a couple of the hdcs up each side of the circle giving it more definition.

Look for next month I'll do some step by step photos - this really is easy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sanctuary - "Out of the Blue" the Magnus Knitwear show!

Hi all!

I know I have been very busy this year in keeping with all my commitments. But I was simply amazed at the gorgeous knitwear in the Sanctuary episode just prior to the Season finale. It makes me so excited for Season 4! Anyway, I thought you might enjoy some looks at the 2 most outstanding pieces, a long-colorway, Noro-like Shawl, and a piecework/freeform sweater that looked super comfy!


Monday, March 14, 2011


03/06/2011 by roostercf
03/06/2011 a photo by roostercf on Flickr.

I haven't been working on a whole lot lately. Mostly trying to clean up the fiber that is all over my living room, as my knitting and crocheting group just did an exchange/donation night and is planning another for June.

And I've filled another bag with fiber to go already, and I've realized I have entire plastic crate of fabric, too. How crazy is that? I don't even collect fabric and I've got a crate full.

Anyway, the kangaroo above is a test crochet of a darling project by Elizabeth Harac along with her new friend Pouch the Beanie Buddy. I apologize I can't link to her work as her designer page on Ravelry is not set up for outside viewers. If you are a ravelry user, look for eharac.

So I apologize if I haven't been very active lately. My designer mojo is at a low, so I have been focusing on getting my stash in order, cleaning up other parts of life, etc. I haven't even been working on my genealogy files much as I've been trying to get that mess cleaned up as well.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Reinvigorating the blog by participating in a contest!

I am an active user over at the WeUseCoupons forum, and I was very excited to see there was a contest involving the blog for one of my new favorite users, Foggy!

Anyway, one of the conditions of the contest is to share the contest with my blog friends and spread the word of her awesome blog! So here goes...

Check out Laura William's blog.

Her specific post on the contest is here.

And the link to the giveaway - yes, 20 inserts IS that awesome! Is located here.

Check it out - there is a wealth of fantastic nice people over at WeUseCoupons, and I've found their advice invaluable.