Frequently Unasked Questions about galleria_the archive
(Or questions that I invented because I wanted to tell you the answers)
What is this site?
A family photo, audio, video and document archive called: galleria_ the archive. The site is a collection of albums, organized by family, media, and chronology. Each item can be viewed, downloaded, shared, printed (see the print information below), commented on, etc. How much you can do depends on becoming a registered user.
How do I register?
Make sure, above all, that you register for galleria_the archive. Just click on the “register” link on the main page and fill out a very basic form. I receive your registration and confirm it. Afterwards, when you make a return visit, you will notice new options in the sidebar. Some albums will be protected by passwords, have viewing limitations, or won’t accept commenting. But registered users won’t be asked for passwords or have viewing and commenting limitations. You can also register for galleria_ the blog, again just click on the register button. Sure, keeping track of passwords is tiresome, but just use something easy to remember, your real name, for instance. After all, there’s nothing on the site that requires a high level of security. If you forget your password, both sites will email it to you. Registration also lets me know that you are there, something I really appreciate; and, above all, allows me to increase your participation in the entire project, if that’s what you would like to do. But more of that later. (p.s. if any of this seems difficult for you, just telephone or send me an email and I’ll be happy to take care of it.)
Why are you doing this?
Great question. But I think the answer will only come in the “doing” and in the response, if any, that the site elicits. At first, I thought of it as just an online photo album. No small thing, however. An online album that the entire family and our friends can share is already a huge improvement over the boxes of neglected photographs that we have in closets. No more asking: “Who has those old photographs anyway?” Or an often heard accusation: “I don’t remember mamma leaving them to you.”
Conservation also seems like a good reason. Once the pictures are saved to a server they have a greater chance of survival.
But there are other reasons:
Certainly the fact that I live so far away from my relatives in the United States, and that I miss them so much – my long silences to the contrary – has probably made me especially sensitive to how much we lose when our childhood homes no longer exist (those “existential homes” where our grandparents, parents, and aunts lived; those repositories of memory and identity). Sure I have a special motivation: getting my children to know more about their father’s past even if much of my life took place in another country and in another time.
Children, I think, want nothing more than to be known to their parents; they struggle to become persons, even or especially in the eyes of their parents. And what do we want? Isn’t it the same for us? Isn’t parenting our way to be known – known through and through?
But my situation is not so uncommon. Families are fragmenting, downsizing everywhere. And how many of our children remain uninformed, even unconscious of their own intimate family histories? These intimate histories are essential in sustaining and supporting us in spite of the fragmentation and isolation around us. So this site is an experiment in making our past more easily accessible to our kids. Can it become a real source of information about us and, therefore, about them? Who knows . . . read on.
Can you do this alone?
Not very well. The site would always be limited; just think about all the things that you know that I don’t. That’s why participation is so important. The site will be so much more successful if it serves as a center for all our families, like our grandparents’ homes once did, and not just about one or two families and the materials that I have. The site already allows considerable participation to registered users; it can offer more if you just ask. You can, for example, administer your own album. Other aspects can be added: forums, messaging, a family/genealogical database, etc. So send me photographs, send me stories, send me video. If you don’t have them in a digital format, send them to me and I’ll do it and return them.
But why on the Internet?
Apart from the obvious distribution advantages, I wanted to work in a medium that our children relate to. As hard as it is for my generation to understand, the internet is for our kids like the Sunday newspaper was for us. It’s where they go for information, for everything; the video screen is just as real, just as tangible to them as printed media is to us.
Can I remove pictures that I rather not have on the site?
Yes, of course, if anyone feels that a picture shouldn’t be there, just tell me.
Is registering the same as subscribing?
No, I hope I have already explained “registering;” the links that say “subscribe” or “rss feed” (the same thing) mean that changes to the archive or to the blog are automatically sent to your computer or online program, so it is just like getting the newspaper delivered to your house. The only thing you need is a program, an rss reader that keeps track of your subscriptions. Google has a good and free rss reader; get information here.
How I can print the photographs that I like?
The quality of digital printing is expressed in terms of resolution; here’s a good rule of thumb: if the photograph has a resolution of 1024 pixels (width) then you should get a good 3.5×5 inch (10×15 cm) print, 1600 pixels (width) will print well at 5″ x 7″ (12×18 cm). You can see the resolution in the right-hand corner when you click on a photograph. You must check the “full size” resolution. If there is a shopping cart under the photo, or in the sidebar, you can send the picture directly to a printing service (only for the United States for now). The service will also tell you if the photo is printable at the selected size. You can also download the photo by right clicking on it (at full resolution) and selecting “Save image as …”. Then print it yourself or send it out. However, if you are really interested in printing a photograph, you might want to contact me. I can usually send you a higher resolution version or fix it up a bit as well. Write to me directly at the galleria.
What is “Random Images Posted on Flickr”?
This is a collection of non-family photographs that are stored on Flickr, a photo-sharing site. Visit my page here.
That’s it for now. Send any questions to galleria.