Tag Archives: Resources

Encore! Do You Want to Improve Your Presentation Skills?

Do You Want to Improve Your Presentation Skills? In a previous article I covered six ways you can “Get Control of Your Pre-Presentation Jitters”. In this post I’ve assembled six great sites that provide a range of practical ways you can improve your personal history presentation skills.  … Read More

Encore! Remember When. Songs That Recall Our Yesterdays.

Remember When. Songs That Recall Our Yesterdays. Music can evoke strong feelings and memories. It’s one of the ways we personal historians can help  clients unlock stories from their past. Not long ago some of my colleagues in the Association of Personal Historians began compiling a list of their  favorite songs that brought back memories. I’ve included some of them here and added some of my own. To listen to these selections, just click on the title. Here are four songs that resonate with me: … Read More

Encore! 10 Indispensable Self-Editing Books.

10 Essential Self-Editing Books. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned professional, these ten reference books are a must for your library. My thanks to the  following  Association of Personal Historians colleagues who suggested many of these books: Pat McNees, Mim Eisenberg, Stephen Evans, and Philip Sherwood  … Read More

Monday’s Link Roundup.

A Happy July 4th to all my American readers. If you’re taking it easy today, why not settle back  and check out some of the great links in this Monday’s Link Roundup? My favorite is Any Last Words? It made me ponder what I’d want for the opening line of my obituary.

  • What Is the Difference Between a Hobby and a Business? “It’s important to get the right answer to this question, because it has broad implications regarding your taxes and bookkeeping. In this post, we’ll discuss this important topic and provide some additional resources that you can turn to with questions.”
  • Best-Ever Guide to Integrating Stories into Speeches, Presentations, Indeed, Any Influential Message. “A couple of weeks ago… I noted that Terrence Gargiulo, who delivered a commencement speech recently, was “considering doing a meta analysis of how [he] worked with the craft of story making to research, design, and deliver this talk. Well, he’s done it, and the resulting white paper is a wonderful primer on bringing story into the communication of any kind of influential message, including speeches and presentations.”
  • Any Last Words? The narrator of  Timothy Schaffert’s new novel The Coffins of Little Hope  is the 83-year old obituary writer of a small-town newspaper in Nebraska.  “Inspired we asked you to provide the first sentence to your own obituary…The responses — humorous, whimsical, and poignant — rolled in, and we asked the authors of our favorites to read them.” [Thanks to Pat McNees of Writers and Editors for alerting me to this item.]
  • Chicago Billboards, 1942. “This film produced by the outdoor advertising industry in the 1940s is a great slice of everyday history. It shows some classic product advertisements, vintage Chicago street scenes and antique vehicles. We also get an in depth story about how outdoor advertising works. This third part is in gorgeous color including some great footage of public transit.”

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Encore! 5 Solutions for Recording Telephone Interviews.

5 Solutions for Recording Telephone Interviews. We all know there are times when the only way to get an interview is by using the telephone. And let’s face it, telephones weren’t designed for hi-fi sound. If you’re interviewing for a book, audio quality is not as critical as for an audio or video production.  Having said that, there are some ways you can capture a telephone interview that provides adequate sound.  Remember to use  a land line telephone because … Read More

Monday’s Link Roundup.

My favorite article in this week’s Monday’s Link Roundup is Belongings.  You won’t want to miss it! For an item that’s  quite wonderful in a strange sort of way take a look at The Happy Cemetery. And something we can all work on is covered in  Can You Say It In One Short Sentence?

  • Belongings. “There are three million immigrants in New York City. When they left home, knowing it could be forever, they packed what they could not bear to leave behind: necessities, luxuries, memories. Here is a look at what some of them brought.” [Thanks to Lettice Stuart of Portrait in Words for alerting me to this item.]
  • From research to story. “A bevy of biographers gathered in May in Washington, D.C., at the second annual Compleat Biographer Conference to discuss how to chase down subjects and make their lives into great stories…Today, we have highlights from the panel on “Turning Research into Narrative.” Speakers included Anne Heller, John Aloysius Farrell, Jane Leavy and moderator Amy Schapiro.”
  • The Happy Cemetery. “Originally begun by a peasant grave carver named Stan Petras in the 1930s, and carried on today by the Pop family, the cemetery has become one of the most popular tourism attractions in rural Romania, with tour buses pulling up and unloading foreigners hourly.”

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From the Archives: Attention Personal Historians! Don’t Miss These Movies!

Attention Personal Historians! Don't Miss These Movies! Get out the popcorn, turn down the lights, and settle back for a feast of  “personal history” films.  These movies vary in quality but are all worth viewing. They address issues that we have an interest in as personal historians. I must admit my two favorites are “Big Fish” by American director Tim Burton and  “The Barbarian Invasions” by Canadian director Denys Arcand. If you have some favorites that aren’t on my list,  let me know. I’d love to hear … Read More

30 Sites That Will Boost Your Personal History Performance.

How many of you could use some further training to enhance your personal history skills? I know I can!

Whether you’re starting out or well established,  here’s a select list of sites that can help.  I’ve combed the Internet to bring you some of the best. If you have suggestions for other resources that you’d like to see listed here, please let me know.


Producing an e-mail newsletter

How to build and use a blog


Writing & Editing

Book production and design



Social Media

Photo Scanning

Photo by Andrew

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Monday’s Link Roundup.

In this Monday’s Link’s Roundup, if you’re a grammarian, you’ll want to check out The Rise of “Logical Punctuation”.  For those of you wanting a bit of inspiration to start your week, take a look at 7 Brilliant Book Trailers.

  • The Rise of “Logical Punctuation”. “For at least two centuries, it has been standard practice in the United States to place commas and periods inside of quotation marks. This rule still holds for professionally edited prose: what you’ll find in Slate, the New York Times, the Washington Post—almost any place adhering to Modern Language Association (MLA) or AP guidelines. But in copy-editor-free zones—the Web and emails, student papers, business memos—with increasing frequency, commas and periods find themselves on the outside of quotation marks, looking in. A punctuation paradigm is shifting.”
  • How To Repair Scratched and Damaged Photographs or Scans. “Old photographs seem to collect dirt, scratches, and bad textures as they collect dust in shoeboxes and photo albums. If you’ve taken the task of scanning them, but have found damage and scratches, here’s how to fix them.”
  • The Writers’ Houses Project: Architecture Meets Words. “I have an ongoing fascination with where creators create. And while it’s somewhat easier to picture the studios of artists and designers, since there’s an aesthetic expectation aligned with their visual styles, it’s invariably a mystery to imagine where wordsmiths work their magic. That’s the subject of a collaboration between literary pilgrim A.N. Devers and design duo Michael Fusco and Emma Straub, based on the excellent Writers’ Houses site, exploring the domiciles of famous scribes through a series of stunning screenprints.”
  • Digital Images of Yale’s Vast Cultural Collections Now Available for Free. “Scholars, artists and other individuals around the world will enjoy free access to online images of millions of objects housed in Yale’s museums, archives, and libraries thanks to a new “Open Access” policy that the University announced today. Yale is the first Ivy League university to make its collections accessible in this fashion, and already more than 250,000 images are available through a newly developed collective catalog.”
  • 7 Brilliant Book Trailers. “With a killer combination of animation, motion graphics and music, what’s not to love about book trailers? We couldn’t think of a thing, which is why we’ve rounded up seven of our favorites. As provocative, funny, and poignant as the books they represent, these videos prove that ideas are the ultimate teasers.”

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Want to Start a Personal History Business? Here’s How.

Interest in personal history as a career is growing.  When the Association of Personal Historians was formed in 1995, it had a handful of members. Today that membership has swelled to over 500.

Increasingly people track me down and ask if they should start a personal history business. In order to help you decide if this is your kind of work, I’ve pulled together these articles I’ve written over the past 3 years years.

If there’s a topic you don’t see here and would like covered, please let me know and I’ll address it in a future post.

  1. What You Need to Know About Becoming a Professional Personal Historian.
  2. Three Crucial Steps to Starting Your Personal History Business.
  3. The Best Advice Ever for a Personal Historian.
  4. 12 Key Tips for Successfully Working Alone.
  5. The 10 Best Things About Being A Personal Historian.
  6. The 10 Worst Things About Being A Personal Historian.
  7. How Much Should You Pay a Personal Historian?
  8. What Makes a Personal Historian a Professional?
  9. Are You Doing a Good Job of Conveying the Value of Personal Histories?
  10. 12 Ways to Ensure Your Personal History Business Fails.
  11. When Should You Quit Being a Personal Historian and Move On?
  12. Six Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Personal Historian.
  13. More Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Personal Historian.
  14. 10 Commandments for the Professional Personal Historian.
  15.  How to Start and Run a Personal History Business.

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