When I first heard Stan Kinsey talking about Collectionaire, on Maureen Taylor The Photo Detective’s podcast, I thought: “OMG. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!!!”
What is it?
Collectionaire is an amazing way to pull digital memorabilia stored in various cloud locations into one place, making it easier for family members to see and interact with.
Why do I need Collectionaire?
As a Genealogy Organizer and Family Historian (I can never decide what to call myself), I am on a constant quest for technology that will help my far-flung family (and yours) share photos, videos, documents, stories, and family history. I also concern myself with the question: What happens when I die? How can I make it easier for them to find everything I’ve worked on and consider important?
What problem does it solve?
The problem (in my family, and probably yours too) is that we all use different photo storage platforms (Apple, Google, Dropbox, Flickr, etc.) and we all have varying levels of technology skills (and interest in learning new ones). It’s hard to get us all on the same page about any aspect of photo sharing, much less sharing other stuff too.
Meanwhile, tools and platforms in the world of photo organizing, genealogy, storytelling, and legacy issues are constantly coming and going and leapfrogging each other in terms of features and ease of use.
Collectionaire solves the issue of many items living in many different places. (You don’t move any of them, you just link to them!) And it eliminates the need for all family members to get on board with one platform for storage. That is beca
use Collectionaire does not store anything besides links to your digital memorabilia collections wherever they are already stored. It is a collection of links. So, if something happens to one of the other platforms (who else remembers Picasa as fondly as I do?) you can just re-link to wherever you’ve moved your photos to.
So, I can link to my WordPress blogs, Ancestry trees, and YouTube videos. And my Dad can link a Dropbox photo album of his 80th birthday. My brother can link to videos of his kids (or pottery, depending on the brother) wherever it is he stores them. And my aunt can link to a specially curated Google Photos album. (None of us needs to see, and have to wade through, ALL of each other’s photos!)
Do I need a family tree?
If you are a Genealogist, you can upload a GEDCOM file and include as many ancestors as you want. But if you aren’t a genealogist, you can just start with yourself, and add parents, spouse, kids. Add whomever you want to upload media for. Or, give them permission to add their own. Collectionaire is not a genealogy research tool. But if you DO have media for ancestors on your tree, you can upload that too. The tree is just a framework for organizing the media.
Do my photos need to be organized?
You probably have thousands of photos. And who wants to wade through thousands of someone else’s photos? But you probably also have a little stash (or can create one) of your favorite or most meaningful photos to share. It might not be perfect, or complete. But it’s a start. Everyone has a chance to curate their own media (or ask for my help, or that of another photo organizer) and share it with the family by linking it to Collectionaire. (No one can see your other albums unless they, too, are linked individually to Collectionaire.)
How much does it cost?
Collectionaire is FREE for up to 20 links. That could be enough for you. It’s not nearly enough for me, but it’s certainly enough to give you an idea of how it works and whether or not you want more links. As with most tools these days, there are three pricing levels: Free, Basic, and Pro. And there always seems to be a special offer. The current public offer (from the new TPM video below) is to use the code TPMGUEST, which gets you ½ off the annual plan (whichever one you choose) for 2 years. (So, half of $36/yr for Basic is $18/yr. Can’t beat that!) And, if you are a TPM member, contact Stan directly for your special offer. He’s very approachable.
How can I learn more?
- If you only have 3 minutes, watch the little intro video on the Collectionaire home page.
- If you prefer to listen: Podcast interview of Stan Kinsey (Founder and CEO of Collectionaire) by Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective: Episode 103: Organize, Preserve, and Share with Collectionaire.com (46 min.)
- Recommended: Vimeo video interview of Stan Kinsey (Founder and CEO of Collectionaire) by Cathi Nelson, The Photo Managers (TPM): Behind the Lens: Collectionaire (60 min.)
- Collectionaire also had (still has!) a virtual booth at RootsTech Connect where you can find more info and demos.
P.S. Be aware that none of this storing and sharing talk replaces the need to Back Up Your Files!
P.P.S. I have no financial interest in Collectionaire (or any other product). I just like it!
Have you tried Collectionaire, or are you planning to?
Please share in the comments below!
Copyright 2021 by Hazel Thornton, Organized for Life.
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So many of us have families spread out all over the place. Trying to keep everyone in the loop and able to contribute is difficult. This sounds like a wonderful resource! Thanks for sharing about it. 🙂
This is pretty unique. I can see how not storing the images, documents, videos in one place is great. My only conundrum is how do I get my family to buy in? Something I’ll have to look into a bit more.
Getting family buy-in is, admittedly, something I’m still working on. It depends on so much — pre-existing family dynamics; how tech-savvy everyone is (although this requires fewer skills than most solutions, it seems to me); how busy everyone is at this time in their lives; how interested they are in sharing at all; etc. I think the best way is to think of something you KNOW they have to share and, individually, orient them to Collectionaire and show them how easy it is to link that one thing to it. And then be the one to share with the family whenever someone adds something to Collectionaire.
I never heard of Collectionaire, but what a valuable and novel resource! It sounds like you are using it really well, and it’s working for you and your family. I’m always amazed by the creative products people come up with. And clearly, there was a need, and someone figured out how to fill it.
This is a wonderful solution to the wildly eclectic tech preferences of my extended family. We seem to all favor a different option, but this could bring us together. Thanks for sharing this resource, Hazel.
This is such a neat situationally-specific tool. It’s like someone said, “Well, I could link to all of this in Evernote, but then people would need passwords, or I could put it all in Dropbox and give people access, but it would take up ALL our space…BUT WAIT!” and then they designed their own ideal tool for gathering, linking, and sharing. I’m the only one in my family who even takes photos, so it’s not a tool for me, but ever since you displayed this for our Friday night group, I imagined how many of my clients will find this intriguing. I can’t wait to start sharing your blog post with my genealogy- and photo-minded clients!