Ponga Help

How do I add a document to a Ponga picture?

Old photographs can be a wonderful source of evidence in genealogical research. Link documents to Ponga pictures for reference.

Old photographs can be a wonderful source of evidence in genealogical research. Ponga makes it possible to associate documents directly to details in images. Attach birth certificates to baby pictures, for example, to collect the evidence you need to justify an identification.

Add a congratulatory letter written at the time of a child’s birth (not an uncommon practice when long-distance calls were prohibitively expensive) and you can tell a larger story about a child’s birth. Since Ponga allows attached documents and comments, you can use the commenting feature to provide the back history and citations for the documents. Notice in this example how the link for the document ends with .pdf and how it embeds so cleanly:

To add a document to a Ponga picture,

  1. Find the document you want to attach online, or put it somewhere that has an online link such as a URL ending in .pdf. Failing that, you can also add it to a Google Drive or Dropbox folder.
  2. Copy the link for the folder or document
  3. Paste the link into the relevant selection in Ponga

It’s pretty much that easy.

The document type and cloud service will affect how the previews appear in Ponga. Some web-based applications like Google Docs and PDFs support embedding while others may only appear as links.

Cloud services for any document type

Since Ponga is itself a cloud service, you can easily link to any other cloud service to share documents that might be contextualized by your Ponga pictures, or the stories they tell. Examples any file type included on any of these services:

For more just search for "Linking to a document on X" where X is the name of the service.

While these document types are not embeddable when they're behind a paywall or any other kind of login authentication, you can easily associate them simply by pasting in a link. If Ponga is unable to embed the document or page, you'll see an odd blank box appear as it attempts. The simple solution is to re-enter the link without the "https://" protocol designation. You might need to cut out your copy, close the sidebar then re-paste it without the "https://." Your URL will then be auto-linked but the blank box will not appear.

Cloud services for embeddable documents

  • PDF on a web page: When the URL ends with .pdf, then the document will completely embed as long as the URL is visible from the public web (not on a private network.)
  • Airtable base: Completely embeds, though the window can be very small, best to arrange the base so the first field is very narrow.
  • Dropbox: PNG files preview well, JPG and PDF do not. Behavior depends on file type.
  • Permanent.org: This Mozilla Foundation-funded non-profit supports cloud-based storage with a one-time payment model to support "permanent storage." At the moment it does not support true embedding but previews that show image thumbnails that can work well.
  • Ponga supports the oEmbed protocol so it should work with apps on the embed.ly/providers list.

Note: In order to embed, all links have to be publicly accessible. Links accessible only to the people a picture is shared with could also be okay, though they will not embed.

Links pasted into the description in a set or picture are auto-linked. This can be a useful place to put a link to family trees or reference documents. If you know a link won't embed, be sure to paste it into comments without the "https://" protocol specification. It will auto-link, but won't generate a blank box for the embed attempt in your comment.

Currently, though you can attach images to a Ponga selection, you cannot attach documents or other file types such as PDF. You can, however, quickly and easily create images from a PDF document using a tool like smallpdf.com. Choose the conversion option from PDF to JPG, then drag in your multi-page PDF document, then select “Convert entire pages.”

Adding PDF documents to pictures can support family history stories. Keep in mind, though that the field of genealogy has developed very specific standards for genealogical research. The gold standard is Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills. Check out the active community in the forum at evidenceexplained.com to research best practices.

Remember also that just because a link is there today, doesn't mean it will be there tomorrow. Links provide a current way to reference details, they aren't a permanent source of evidence. Again, for genealogical research, we refer you to the standards in Evidence Explained.

If you have any questions, let us know. You'll be helping us improve these articles for everyone. Just reach out to support@ponga.com or via the chat window.

Last updated:
September 5, 2022
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