People have always wanted to capture and record important events and memories of their families and friends and have the ability to share them with others. In previous generations, this involved keeping a diary or journal, taking photographs, paintings, drawing pictures, or taking some film footage. People would sometimes even make sound recordings onto cassettes—baby’s first cry as he/she enters the world, a child’s first word, etc.

As times changed and the cost of photos and video dropped, the sheer volume of photos and videos meant that eventually you had just boxes full of loose photos, negatives and tapes to sort out when you had time.

In today’s digital world, we no longer worry about taking perfect pictures the first time. With our digital cameras and video cameras, we can take lots of pictures and later select the best ones. However, this creates another dilemma. We now place all these digital photos on our computer. We know we should rename the image files to reflect what is in them, delete the ones that do not turn out, and put them in a folder with a name to match the occasion. But more often, we do not rename the image files and our computer folder contains the image file names as they came out of the camera.

The internet also bombards us with digital media. Our family and friends send us photos via email or they setup a web site to display their photos. Sometimes people even fill CDs with photos and send them to us.

The digital era has provided us with a bigger challenge than in previous generations. We thought the boxes of photos and videos were hard to sort through to create meaning in our lives. Now we have digital media in all sorts of formats, in many different locations, on computers, floppy disks, CD-ROMS, DVDs, video tapes, etc.

There are a lot of cataloging software available for digital pictures and videos. But how do you create digital albums of your family and friends that give special meaning to each event and provide connections to each other?

For example, I wanted to put together a digital album for my sons 30th Birthday. I had recorded his first cry into the world on a cassette. I knew that I wanted his first cry to be the opening of the digital album and I had videos of his first walk, his first skiing lessons and the first day of school. I also had lots of pictures we had taken over the years. And of course, our favorite celebration—his 21st birthday where I wanted to capture not only the event, but also the belly-dancing music from the event.

What I was looking for was a software application that would allow me to put together pictures, videos, audio and narrative. I wanted to make the digital album in a way that would give meaning to his life—wanted it to tell the story of his life with narrative like the old fashion album Gamma used to have, but richer with the combination of pictures, videos, audio and narrative. My goal was to create a digital album of my son’s life that would reflect his life and become a living keepsake of his first 30 years. Years down the road, he would be able to share this with his own children. What a living keepsake!

Does this software application exist? Yes, Coolect LLC has recently announced Coolect. Rather than simply importing and ‘tagging’ digital images, and then storing them in a flat-line, hierarchical database, Coolect enables a user to connect or associate all of their media – still images, audio and video with people, events and journal entries. The result is a rich web of events, pictures and relationships that are provided with context and meaning – reflecting life itself.

Coolect enables a user to assemble collections of text, movies, audio clips, pictures and journal entries and then easily navigate back and forth at many different levels, recalling not just relationships, contact details or birthdays – but actually linking together specific events, people, places, music and memories. Best part is that it allows you to create digital albums with photos, music, commentary and video that you can burn onto a CD-ROM and send to family and friends. It allows you to build connections between people, events and media, building a web of meaning full memories.

Are you wondering if I completed the digital album? Yes, the digital album is done and it was a great hit at my son’s 30th Birthday.

For more information on Coolect, visit the website at