Ponga Help

Best Practices for Naming Your Ponga Pictures and Albums

For so many, the only way to find image files is through the file name and/or metadata, so names are key. Ponga is much more flexible!

The short answer is you can use whatever system works for you, or even change it after you've started with one approach.

Example of Ponga picture with the title visible.

While it doesn't matter to Ponga, you might have some very specific preferences guided by other work you've done consistent with best practices image files such as described here by the Princeton Research Library, or something that's consistent with a genealogy-focused indexing system. It's really up to you. First, a little background:

Image File Names and Ponga Picture and Album Titles: (Files vs. Links)

When you upload pictures into Ponga, we automatically take your original image file and make a working copy of it. Your original image is archived for safe-keeping. The file name and metadata are unchanged. (For more, see our Tips article "Can I Get My Stuff Back?" to learn more.)

In Ponga, we examine every image looking for faces, and we process it into tiles so that you can zoom in and out of even a very high-resolution image quickly and easily. When you view your photo in Ponga, what you're looking at is not an image file, but is instead a web page — a link. That's key because it means that you've completely severed the reliance on file naming to find and access the image.

When you go through the gallery to put names to faces, your Ponga picture albums are created for you for each person named. Since the picture is a link, one picture might appear in multiple albums. That's a key concept. It's not that copies are placed in multiple albums, it's a link. If the picture includes both Aunt Alice and Uncle Bob you'll get to the same picture whether you clicked on the picture in Alice's album or Bob's.

"But I HAVE a Naming Structure!" You say!

Ponga makes it super easy to mirror an existing naming convention for files in your Ponga Pictures. We do it for you!

Whatever name you have for a file when you upload it will automatically be converted into a picture title with Title Case. That simply means:

  • ALL CAPS, CamelCase, and lower case are all converted to Title Case
  • All "_" (underscores) used to separate letters in a file name are converted to spaces
  • Numbers are retained as is
  • All file name extensions like .jpg or .png are removed
  • Note: Special characters like ~, for example, that can cause problems with network systems as your pictures are created are simply replaced with spaces.

So, for example, Harger_family_picnic.jpg becomes Harger Family Picnic.

Once your picture is in Ponga, you can modify the Picture Title to anything you'd like using ANY computer-supported script (that includes Chinese, Arabic, Cyrillic, etc.)  That can be very useful to reference place names in their original script, for example.

To change a name, you simply move your mouse into the picture title:

  1. Tap into the title of the picture or album
  2. Select the full title or portion you wish to change, and
  3. Type. Hit enter or tab when you're done. That's it.

Changing an album name is just as easy. Tap and change.

Best Practices:

Picture Titles

Since Ponga pictures rearrange themselves in albums based on the date-of-last-comment-added, the title of a picture is irrelevant to the arrangement. It CAN however be very useful to you in simple practical functions.

Here are some best practices to keep in mind and a little background on why:

👉 Add the original file name to the description before changing the picture title: If your file naming structure is important and you want to have that file name handy to be able to share the original or cross-reference it yourself, then make a habit of popping the original file name in the picture description before making title changes. (e.g. Was "Jones-Margot-1893-Austin," for example)

That way, when someone asks you for the original, you can grab that name from the title and search your drive to send them the file. If you use cloud-based archives, you can also add the link directly into the Ponga picture.

👉 Picture titles add an important layer of context when shared to crowdsource stories. You can use your picture title to ask a question or share the high-level research goal when you share a picture to crowdsource stories. For example, your title might share what you know, then ask a general question "1927 Carnival: Who are the children?"

Since Ponga pictures are not files, you might have good reasons to upload the same image file three times to ask three different sets of people different but related questions. Different picture titles can help you keep your objective with each clear.

Album Titles

👉 Special Case for Album Names Added in the Gallery: Since albums are automatically created for you in the Gallery as you add names, you'll see albums created with titles that exactly match the names you added in the Gallery. Though you can use the same "tap, select, type" method described above to change these album names, note that the names you add will not affect the labels for the person.

The right way to correct/change/add to a name on an album is to make the change in the Faces page. (See How Do I Change a Name I Put to a Face?.) In fact, if you later use the Faces page to Edit Details and change the spelling of a name, for example, the change you made to the album name will be overwritten.

👉 Names for Albums you Create Yourself

In addition to the albums created as names are added to portraits in the Gallery, you can also create albums of your own. This applies to both paid members and their guests. (To learn more, see: Create an Album to Tell Stories.) When you create your own albums, you can use any string of characters you like. The name you give to your album title will affect how it appears in your library since albums are automatically sorted into alphabetical order along the left.

Though you can't change the sort order, you can affect the appearance by using leading characters that map to specific purposes. For example, preceding names with...

  • Numerals like 1. and special characters like "quotes" or bang! will force the album to appear at the beginning.
  • Special characters like {curly brackets} or ~ will force the title to sort at the end of your list.

You may have noticed that the example album included in your account is listed as {Example} for just this reason.

👉 Albums Created on Upload

With each upload an album is created for you to contain the images you've uploaded, the default file name is a date/time stamp. These will always sort at the top (though perhaps below special characters like "!"

A good practice can be to change the date/time stamped albums created when you upload photos as soon as your upload is complete to capture the source of your images, for example. If you consistently add a character and reference to your source (~ From Aunt Betty, for example) can provide immediate access to the provenance of your image files. You can also discard the albums (while keeping the photos) easily by clicking the "delete album but keep the photos" button when deleting the album. (To learn more, see "Oops, How to Delete Almost Anything.")

In Closing: Use Browser Tricks

Much of learning to use Ponga is about taking advantage of the features and functions of your browser.  In The Browser-Trick Passport on our Tips blog, you'll learn some of the more advanced fancy features of your browser you can apply directly to ponga, such as item 2 which covers using the search features in your browser to quickly find a Ponga picture based on a word in the title.

Reach out if you have any questions, or tips for us!

Last updated:
September 4, 2022
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