Media Management

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This page is intended to be a discussion of improving the management of a collection of supporting documents related to a genealogy Tree. Since Gramps has limited built-in facilities related to managing external files, the techniques will focus on workarounds and using external tools in concert with Gramps.

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Please update or expand this section.


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A Media Object describes an external file that holds media data, such as a scanned page, audio recording or a video recording. Media files can also be in document formats, such as a text file (.txt), portable document file (.pdf), word processing document (.doc), a web page (.html, .mthml), as well as any number of other file formats.

The “content” of the Media Object element is not the object itself but merely information about the object. The external file that contains the object is named by the xlink:href attribute.

Media Objects in Gramps are not the actual Media Files

Gramps does not manage Media Media files. Instead, it is more similar to a metadata manager. That means that Media object actions of: moving to another Gallery tab, duplicating, deleting, or merging; will do nothing to the actual Media file. They simply rearrange the pointers to those files.

There are exceptions. The creation and restoring of backup archives includes the option to include file copies of Media objects up to 1 megabyte in size. And some Media related addons recognize paths with internet URLs and have the option to automatically download and shelve copies somewhere on local storage devices. Gramps also manages thumbnails and downloaded map tiles in the User Directory.

The Media Object Editor with an invalid file path.

However, the majority of the tasks managing of Media Objects must be performed outside of Gramps. You can just toss objects into a directory and link to them. But this will contrive a disorganized mess that will quickly become a maintenance nightmare. If the files have to be reorganized, Gramps will lose track of those files until you correct the paths. In the meantime the links will have a 'broken' indicator.


Select an Organizational System

There are groups of genealogist who share organizational system ideas for genealogical resources. And many feel most comfortable extending the metaphor for those systems for their digital resources too. So if their home library is organized with color-coding, labeling patterns and file boxes; they try to replicate the system with their digital resources too.

Before computerization, the metadata system used by libraries consisted of 3 duplicate index card catalog sets... sorted by: Title, Author & Subject. Maintaining an effective index required carefully sequencing the reference materials on the shelves sorted by a 4th addressing system. (Such as the Dewey Decimal system.)

Manual Approach

Document Management Systems

https://medium.com/@MarktrHimanshu/top-10-free-and-open-source-document-management-system-ddd4265adf5e

Relative Media filepaths

Unlike most Preferences items, the Base path for relative media paths is stored in the Tree data. For the Extensible Markup Language XML archival .gramps format, there is a <mediapath> element in the Header chunk. This means that a different media path may be set for each separate Tree.

Here is the XML pseudo code sample:

 <header>
   <created date="2020-11-01" version="GrampsAIO64-5.1.3-2"/>
   <researcher>
   </researcher>
   <mediapath>C:\Users\<user_name>\Pictures</mediapath>
 </header>

See also

  • Base path for relative media paths: where you can fill in a base path for the media objects. Selecting the Directory button gives you a Select media directory editor where you can fill in the required path.

The Third-party Addon

  • The Third-party Addon Media Merge that searches your database for media file entries that are pointing to the same actual file and when found, they can be merged together.
  • The Third-party Addon Media Verify Tool is used verify a one-to-one relationship between media objects and files in the media directory. The main purpose of the tool is to locate files that have been moved and fix the paths.