Hyperlinks to Source Documents
A hyperlink is a reference or navigation element in a document that takes you to another section of the same document or to another document. Hyperlinks can be very helpful in a family history filing system by linking source documents, that have been digitized, to an electronic research log, analysis table, or records manager.
Creating hyperlinks (or we may simply call them links) can make research much easier, faster, and accurate. If all documents are digitized, they can be linked in a simple chain. You can access them from any point in the chain, as the following illustrates:
To create a hyperlink in a word processor, such as Microsoft Word, highlight the desired text, right click the mouse, and choose "hyperlink." This opens a dialogue box in which you can select the file desired. A key principle is to keep all documents linked together for data verification and updating.
Notice in the illustration above that a hyperlink audit trail exists from beginning to end, from the sources clear through to the records management software. That software ideally needs to allow OLE (Object Linking or Embedding) so that the research log and analysis table can be opened from within it, using the native software in which they were created. For example, if the log and the table were designed in Microsoft Word, we should be able to create an OLE link to these from the records management program. This allows us to update the log and table while involved in updating family group sheets and pedigree charts. Although the log and table do not automatically populate fields in the records manager, they are close at hand and will be less likely to be forgotten in the update cycle.