Second Site News #011

2 June 2003

In this issue:

Coming Soon: VCF Integration

The next version of Second Site will import charts made with TMG's Visual Chartform (VCF) tool. In one easy step, Second Site will import a VCF chart, and build a page that includes hot-links from the VCF chart boxes to person page entries. In most ways, the VCF charts will work just like Second Site's native charts: links back and forth from the charts to the narratives, chart name in the list of charts, etc.

You may import as many VCF charts as you want. Charts are normally only imported once, but you must reimport them if you change the site's Theme. You must also recreate and reimport the chart if you delete or renumber members of the chart.

VCF charts include more formats than native Second Site charts, and VCF charts can be edited and tweaked prior to being imported. Unlike Second Site charts, however, VCF charts are imported as JPG images and as a result they will use more disk space. Web site users will have to analyze the size of their VCF charts to determine if they are within reasonable limits. Large charts aren't a problem when you use Second Site to create a CD.

I've uploaded an example chart for you. The associated JPG file is 260K, so please be patient while it downloads. Note that the example includes thumbnail photographs and other elements that it is not possible to include in native Second Site charts.

The VCF import feature depends on some new features in Visual Chartform that won't be available until TMG 5.08 is released.

NGS Conference Notes

I attended the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Conference in the States in Pittsburgh last week. I spent most of my time in the Wholly Genes booth, answering questions about TMG and my companion programs. It's always fun to hobnob with other TMG users and this was no exception. I owe special thanks to Bob Velke, Lissa Soergel, and Barbara Grempler of Wholly Genes for making their booth my home away from home and for making me feel like part of the team.

Lee Hoffman and his wife Sue Ellen were also in attendance. Lee was a fixture in the Wholly Genes booth, answering questions and signing copies of his book Getting the Most Out of the Master Genealogist. If you haven't heard, the book covers many aspects of using TMG and gives concrete advice for how to achieve good results. Every TMG user should own a copy. (Please note that I am biased; I wrote one of the chapters.)

Dick Eastman's booth was directly across from the Wholly Genes booth. If you do not subscribe to Eastman's Genealogy Newsletter, you should: it's a great resource for genealogical news and reviews. I am looking forward to Dick's NGS conference review, which he'll cover in the next edition.

I attended three conference sessions on Internet-related topics. I try to stay informed in this area to make sure that Second Site is a positive force with regards to responsible web publishing.

Second Site beta tester Dick Cleaveland attended one of the Internet sessions I missed, Publishing on the Internet-Responsibly by Elizabeth Kelley Kerstens. Based on his report, Second Site is doing well in that area. For example, Ms. Kersten recommends that footnotes be placed on the same page as their corresponding references to keep the citation data close to the information it supports; Second Site places citations directly below the narrative or grid data for a particular person. In response to a question from another session attendee about protecting e-mail addresses, Dick described the Second Site method where e-mail addresses are hidden from e-mail harvesting robots using a JavaScript call. Nice going, Dick!

Using Second Site to Create CD Content

I was surprised by the number of people I met at NGS who knew about Second Site but had not considered using it to create a CD to share with their family and friends. Creating a CD with Second Site is very easy, and distributing the fruits of your research via CD avoids the privacy issues inherent in web publishing. The CD can be read by anyone with a computer and a web browser: no special software is needed. HTML pages are inviting and easy to use for both the genealogists and non-genealogists in your audience. Finally, burning a CD is easier than ever. Most new computers include CD writers, and blank CDs are cheap.

Even if you do not want to distribute your research via CD, you should consider creating a CD using Second Site to archive your TMG data. For more information about that, please see Second Site as a Data Archive Tool in Second Site News #002.

Are You a Second Site Apostle?

The best promotion for a product is the endorsement of people who already use it. If you are happy with Second Site, please make sure you tell other genealogists and, especially, TMG users. Thanks!


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