Building a Locality Guide: Decisions

Before you start building your locality guide, you may want to make a few decisions. Primarily you will want to decide what format you want your guide to be in. Do you want to use a spreadsheet, word processor, or note-taking software such as Evernote? Do you want to use paper and pencil/pen? Where do you want to store it? On the cloud, in your desk, on your laptop? These are decisions you will have to make and they will depend on how you work and think and organize your resources.

I have traditionally organized my locality guides in a word processing document creating my own “quick sheet” for that location. However, I have begun moving them into Evernote (a note-taking software system that can sync between your devices) so that I can access them anywhere if need be. I prefer an electronic system over a paper system because:

  • You can add clickable links directly to databases, e-books, websites, etc.
  • You can use the “find” and “search” features for locating keywords in your guide.
  • You can add information, copy/paste, and insert graphics quite easily.
  • You can save it to the cloud and access it anywhere with your phone, laptop, or tablet.

If you prefer paper and pencil, I’m not one to judge. I still love reading things on paper. If I were to make a locality guide entirely on paper, I would use index cards whereby each card is its own entry. This will allow you to sort and organize your index cards in any order you like, and add new information to the set as it is found.

If you decide to use a word processor for your guide, you may consider saving it to the cloud either through a service such as DropBox or by compiling it directly in a service such as GoogleDocs. Both of these will allow you to access your guide anywhere.

Next we will discuss what to start putting IN your guide…

2 thoughts on “Building a Locality Guide: Decisions

  1. I am interested in this. I found a very basic locality guide that I created in high school in 1982. It’s a box of index cards with pertinent info on various counties that I had compiled from library books. I’ve recently started to do research about Steubenville, Ohio because of a brick wall ancestor but I had not considered trying to organize any of the information that I was compiling into a locality guide. I am lookibg forward to your blog posts!

  2. Cari,
    I also start on paper with the resources, but it is more of a form. I then move them into categories when I put them in the Word Processor. (I use the FamilySearch categories.) I also have check-boxes on my form for repositories I frequent so I can check whether or not they have that title/edition. I have a small space for notes so I can make a note if I own it or if another repository I might visit (usually a library in the area of that county) owns it. I used to use index cards, but I decided I like the forms better. I have room for several resources per page. I usually add links to online resources directly into the guide itself.

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