I’m on my third trip this year to the UK and our family home in Scotland. Three things are common about each trip.
It’s always cold. Every family has a scrapbook to show me. And there are plenty of Mac users in the neighborhood.
My father hails from Scotland so whenever I come here to visit I’m required to sit for hours at the home of each relative and view the family scrapbook.
At first it was a chore just to sit and talk, let alone wander through fading scrapbooks with photos of people I don’t remember or never met. Photos of my father when he was a teenager were the high point of the scrapbook sessions.
Slowly it began to sink in. I’m in my 30s, I haven’t fully settled down and embarked on a family, and worse, I don’t have a scrapbook. If anything, there’s a family tradition to uphold, right?
All my relatives have scrapbooks and photo albums. All I’ve got is my MacBook Pro and a few thousand photos in iPhoto.
Granted, my relatives in Scotland loved the slide shows, and seemed particularly interested in the facts that I haven’t settled down, don’t yet have half a dozen children, and my father is no longer a skinny little kid from Scotland.
What got my focus on scrapbooks was how every member of the family had contributed something; photos, invitations, newspaper clippings, even hair.
I figured it would be worth my while to try something similar.
Here I am in Scotland, running my Mac and looking at different applications to handle scrapbooks and photo albums—something beyond the slick and sassy output from iPhoto.
What I found is that there are a number of decent scrapbook applications for the Mac, so don’t look for this to be a comprehensive comparison, but more of a ‘stick my toes in the water’ approach using one of the more popular applications—ScrapItPro X. I’ll get to the other applications once I’m back home and have more items to scrap in the book.
ScrapItPro is about as straightforward as a digital scrapbook can get. It lets you store and view images such as TIFF, gif, PNG, PICT, and the ever popular JPEG. It also holds PDF files, so storing, sorting, and viewing of each is quite simple.
Digital scrap books have different requirements than physical scrap books. Pretty much anything you can grab with the Copy function and store on a clipboard can be saved in ScrapItPro, including audio and movies. You can also import and edit text, whether it be plain text, RTF files, even HTML.
Items can be stored in folders, which can be nested into other folders, but, just like a regular scrap book, everything gets pasted into an open sheet, a page.
Since your Mac becomes a digital scrap book, you can also play slideshows, export items to share with others, and—especially handy with large collections in a scrapbook—search by text, name, or comments.
Text is a strong point of ScrapItPro. There’s a mini-word processor built in which makes it easy to add commentary about photos, events, clippings, and so on. The only real pain I see is that some items you would easily paste into a physical scrap book need to be scanned as images and then dropped into your digital scrapbook.
One benefit of a well done digital scrap book is the ability to make copies for backup and distribution, whereas, a hard cover physical scrapbook is one of a kind.
Do you have a family scrapbook? Would you consider using your Mac as a digital scrapbook to save more than just photos? Share your experience and perspective in the Comments section below.