Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Cost Effective Solution for Distributing Society Newsletters

Our genealogical society of 125 members determined it simply could NOT afford to continue printing a paper copy of our newsletters and distributing via snail mail. Rising costs of paper, printing & even bulk-mail postage was killing our budget, effectively cutting down on the amount of money we could dontate to the local library for new genealogy books.


OLD IDEA #1: Send out a generic (no photos, no bold/italics/underline) version of the newsletter on the society's mailing list. These lists are provided freely by RootsWeb.com, and are a good idea to improve communications, but the generic nature of the email distribution made the newsletters less interesting.

OLD IDEA #2: Put a copy of the newsletter up on the society's website to view/print. The problem is that printing pages 1-20 for one person becomes pages 1-27 for the next person. WHY? Because each person's PC settings for viewing the web are different. Also, various web browsers (AOL, Mozilla, Internet Explorer, CompuServe, Netscape, NetZero, etc.) look at web pages differently. Believe me this last point is a universal problem observed by webmasters and internet gurus since the beginning of time. (Internet time that is!)

STEP #1: Newsletter editors may convert the files to .pdf files, which are Adobe Acrobat Reader compatible files. Its important to note that the resulting pages cannot be altered by the "reader."

STEP #2: The society's webmaster uploads the .pdf file for that issue of the newsletter to the society's website, providing a link on a "Newsletter" page so members can click to view/print.

STEP #3: The newsletter editor makes the announcement about the new issue on the society's genealogy mailing list or blog.

STEP #4: Members of the mailing list, connect to the web, click on the link in the mailing list or blog in order to view/print the newest issue of the newsletter.~ or ~Anyone visiting the society's website can click the link provided on the site to view/print the newsletter.


There are a variety of solutions available to newsletter editors for converting the MS Word, MS Publisher or whatever program's file to a .pdf file.

-- Some programs like PageMaker allow you to "export as .pdf" file.
-- Adobe's Online Conversion $99.99 annually
-- Adobe Acrobat Standard Edition $299.99 http://store.adobe.com/store/products/master.jhtml?id=catAcrobatStnd&id=catAcrobatStnd
-- Neevia's free conversion (1mb file size limit) http://convert.neevia.com/
-- Neevia's docuPrinter LT ($19) http://neevia.com/pricing/?prodid=DP50LT

I recommend the last option. According to non-Neevia message board postings, it works well. The product is described by the publisher as follows:"Neevia docuPrinter LT is a PDF printer driver, that can instantly convert any windows document into PDF. Simply select docuPrinter as your printer driver, print to it and your PDF file will be created and ready to view. PDF files created by docuPrinter LT are fully compatible with Adobe Acrobat Reader. Neevia docuPrinter LT can enable even the novice computer operator to generate high-quality, searchable PDF without high costs. If you need to create PDF files but do not need the numerous features of the Neevia docuPrinter Pro, then this is the right product for you."

-- Neevia docuPrinter LT (features, specifications, product comparison & FAQs)

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
6023 26th Street West PMB 352
Bradenton, FL 34207

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