Welcome to iHCPL: The Next Generation. This site was created as the next step in Harris County Public Library's iHCPL Learning 2.0 Program; a discovery learning program designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies. The original iHCPL program was adapted from The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County's Learning 2.0 Program.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Crafts & Hobbies #63: Digital Scrapbooking

This post is worth .5 training hours.

Scrapbooking refers to a method of preserving personal and family memorabilia and photos in an artistic manner. The art of scrapbooking goes back to the Victorian era. Photos would be mounted in albums using photocorners and would include journaling and bits of memorabilia like newspaper clippings, letters, cards....even hair clippings!

Modern scrapbooking now incorporates a variety of handmade and manufactured embellishments, making it a multi billion dollar industry. The advent of scanners, desktop publishing, photo editing programs and advanced printing options has now made it relatively easy to create professional looking layouts in digital form using the home computer.

Digital scrapbooking offers several advantages over paper scrapbooking. Photos can be moved straight from a digital camera onto a layout...no need to print them first. It is easy to correct mistakes or change a design. A few clicks on the keyboard is all it takes. If you have already been bitten by the scrapbooking bug, you are well aware of the amount of time, space, tools and products required to create a traditional scrapbook page... not to mention the hassle of packing up and cleaning up your work area each time you finish working on a layout. With digital scrapping you no longer need a large work area, nor do you need to pack up supplies. Plus, you can reuse your supplies endlessly. Just think of the money that saves! Digital Scrapbooking is also fast and becomes portable if you are using a laptop, allowing you to be creative whenever and where-ever you want!

But...as with anything, there can also be drawbacks to going digital. Because digital files and graphic editing programs can be quite large, going digital requires a computer with a lot a available memory and a fast processor. Make sure your computer's hard drive has at least 10 GB of free space. If you don't have enough room on your computer's hard drive, you may want to save your layouts to an external hard drive. External drives connect to your computer via a USB port and are a relatively inexpensive way to add more storage space to your computer. If you plan to download digital elements (papers, alphabets, tags andother digital goodies) from the internet then you will also need a fast internet connection and the ability to unzip digital files. (EG: WinZip)

Getting Started

You will need some sort of graphics editing program in order to create layouts. There are many programs available with which you can create digital layouts. The learning curve, features and cost varies from product to product. Fortunately you can find free trials for many of the software programs.

There are several scrapbooking programs available for under $50.00. These programs are fairly easy to use and perfect for the beginner. While they come with preloaded papers and elements, you can also use kits that you download from various websites. Examples of these types of programs include Scrapbook Max, Scrapbook Artist and Scrapbook Factory Deluxe, Desktop publishing programs cost more, but the freedom to learn and create is endless. Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 and ACDSee are popular choices for the more advanced digital scrapbookers. If you need any help using any of the programs, tutorials are offered on various sites such as The Shabby Shoppe, or Scrapbook-Bytes. There are also some free online services available that are fast and easy. Smilebox allows you to make scrapbook layouts using ready made templates but you need to register and install their software. Through Smilebox, you can use their basic services to create, edit, publish or print scrapbook layouts.

Scrapblog is a free site that does not require you to register or install any software. With Scrapblog, you can create scrapbook layouts from scratch or by using templates. Scrapblog enables you to pull your photos from popular sites such as Flickr, Photobucket and even Facebook or you can upload them from your computer. Whichever type of program you use to create your layouts, once you have finished your scrapbook you can then choose to share it on social networking sites, email it to your friends, or print it out and put it in an album.

Once you get started on the road to digital you will think about other ways to use your new-found skills. You can make greeting cards, invitations, recipe cards, calendars, screen savers and blog banners to name just a few.


1. Go to Scrapblog.com and take the 5 minute video tutorial, then create a layout using their free online program. (No registration is required).
-Other online sites you may want to try would be Crop Mom or Scrapbook Flair

2. Post about your thoughts on digital scrapbooking on your blog. Do you think this is something you would like to learn to do? Did you encounter any problems in trying to make a layout?

3. Post your layout.

HCPL Staff: Have you completed this exercise? Then Submit your Registration of Completion

This post was brought to you by Sandy Kippes and Jennifer Nandlal.

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