Genealogy rockstar Josh Taylor gave an excellent webinar last night for the Illinois State Genealogical Society, detailing how he organizes his digital files for his professional and personal genealogy research. He uses a number of tools to make his research time more effective, such as spreadsheets, file naming and embedding metadata within image files. These are more or less similar to the approaches I have been gradually adopting myself, so it was very helpful to learn how a professional applies himself to the same problems.
Two things in particular stand out from his presentation. One, that no matter how tempting it is to just dive into a set of records and browse where you think you might find a gem, it always pays to log your intended research in advance, with call numbers or film numbers, objectives, and other relevant information. This brings method into the activity and makes it much easier to fully document finds later. The second important thing for Josh (and for all of us taking even hobby genealogy seriously!) is the commitment to create accurate citations and attach them to the images of the material cited. He showed a very easy way to do this and said he is intending to go back and add proper citations even to material he researched years ago before he started using this method. Thanks for the inspiration, Josh!