TOMORROW I MUST GET ORGANIZED!
Or Three (count ‘em 3!) Ways to Organize Stories
Have you ever wished for specific software for storytellers beyond binders with notes on your repertoire of tales or file folders bulging with individual stories? It is possible to be more organized in searching for stories whether in your own collection or beyond.
(1) Dig into an online set of searchable stories.
Aside from the usual online Google searches, be sure to visit the SOS portion of fellow storyteller, Jackie Baldwin, at http://www.story-lovers.com . This is searchable by topic as well as great to browse. It originated with the suggestions from the international email list, STORYTELL.
(2) Discover Margaret Read MacDonald’s two editions of Storyteller’s Sourcebook.
They are great for the sort of classification of themes, subjects, ethnic, and geographical areas storytellers often need. Her reference books give more detail than the mere author/title/subject info of the various editions of Index to Fairy Tales that span the 20th century. MacDonald is a great folklorist and also mentions other more specialized international indices.
(3) Create your own virtual card file.
I’m a big fan of something that started as a free accessory in the early days of Windows, called Cardfile and now is improved as shareware called AZZ Cardfile http://www.azzcardfile.com . It can index and catalog your individual stories or my roughly 1500 folklore anthologies where I note specific stories, or story categories like spooky tales, train stories, etc, or specific countries, ethnic groups, animals, anything you need to note! It can automatically alphabetize and easily searches your entire database. In addition it can serve as personal organizer, contact manager, address book, Rolodex, personal information manager (PIM) or small database software. You can use it to list your music, recipes, vocabulary words in a foreign language, miscellaneous notes, cut & paste items off the Internet, whatever! It even accepts images inserted onto the cards if that is something you need to note puppets or photos. It is simple enough that, unlike the usual software program, there is no learning curve! Importing and exporting data to programs like Excel or Access are also possible. You customize it to do what you want it to do. All of this is under $30. I loved that original free accessory, but this is a limitless improvement I find myself recommending frequently. Sorry Apple-lunatics, but it only works on Windows operating systems.
Whether (1) online, (2) in print folklore indices, or (3) using databases: Happy organizing and searching!
About Lois: Lois Sprengnether-Keel is a storyteller from Michigan whose specialities include puppetry and unique historical storytelling. . You can learn more about her work at her http://www.lois-sez.com website.