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Distributing Your Multimedia Genealogy on CD

As you know, Ancestral Quest (all versions later than 1.1) provides superb multimedia capabilities—you can link photos, scanned documents, audio clips, video clips, and other objects (such as documents you have created with your word-processor) to individuals in your database. You can combine these into choreographed slide shows with background audio and create interactive scrapbooks. What you may not know, is that you can easily store all of your data on a CD so it can be duplicated and shared with family members. Also, by putting the demo version of AQ on the CD, your relatives can enjoy the fruits of your labor without incurring the costs of purchasing a genealogy program.

To make this feature work smoothly for you, you will want to follow a few guidelines:

  1. Create a directory underneath your data directory for storing your multimedia objects. For example, if your data is stored in c:\ancquest\data, you may want to create the subdirectory, c:\ancquest\data\scrapbk and put all of your multimedia objects in that directory.
  2. As you link photos, audio clips, etc. to the individuals in your database, make sure that the path name for the object is a relative path name. For example, if a photo has the full filename of c:\ancquest\data\scrapbk\myphoto.jpg, you should change this to just scrapbk\myphoto.jpg. This tells AQ how to find the file relative to the current database folder. The reason for this, is that once you copy all of this data to a CD, you won't know what drive letter a family member might have for their CD. If you have full pathnames, they might not match on someone else's PC. If you are using AQ version 2.0a or later, relative filenames will be created each time you add a multimedia object. If you are using version 2.0, you will have to manually delete the unwanted portion of the full path name for each object. (Download the demo.)

Once you have all of your data ready, you'll need to make a CD image of your data and the AQ demo. This article can not cover all of the steps necessary to create an actual CD—you may need to get advise from someone at a CD One-Off Shop (places that can create small quantities of CDs for you). Here are some items to keep in mind as you make final preparations:

  1. Go into the Alphabetic browse one last time to make sure your alpha file is current.
  2. Go into the Merge screen and push the Next Match button to make sure your merge file is current.
  3. Download the installer for the unregistered version of AQ and place a copy of this installer on the CD. The recipient of the CD can run this installer to install a copy of AQ on their machine for use in viewing your data. (Download the demo now.)
  4. Copy all of your database files and multimedia files to the CD image. In Windows, you can use File Manager or Windows Explorer, or in DOS you can use xcopy with the /s option to copy all subdirectories.
  5. Test your one-off CD to make sure it all works as expected. Make adjustments if you found you missed something and try it again.
  6. Reproduce the final CD and distribute your hard work to grateful family members.