Design Currency: Understand, define, and promote the value of your design work By Jenn Visocky O’Grady, Ken Visocky O’Grady

Picture Perfect Practice

Designers are sometimes seen as ephemeral beings concerned about fonts, pixels, and pretty colors (and like to use phrases like “the emotional brand experience.”) Things that, to the rest of an organization, may seem like trivial matters when compared to the things they have to deal with in their cold, harsh world.
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Photoshop CC: The Missing Manual

Photoshop CC The Missing Manual is an amazingly information-dense manual. So much, that it’s almost intimidating. However, the author does such a wonderful job at guiding the reader through the underworld of Photoshop, that you’ll find yourself standing there reading intently even though you only intended to quickly peruse it while standing at the bookstore. You’ll quickly find yourself getting drawn in and reaching for the post-it note pad to mark off something you’ll want to try soon.
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Explore It! Reduce Risk and Increase Confidence with Exploratory Testing

In a nutshell, software testing is exploring software in a variety of circumstances to discover what things can happen. I originally got this book because I thought it would be helpful for me when I beta test plugins. I really had no idea what a software tester’s job entailed. [Read more…]

The Hidden Power of Blend Modes in Adobe Photoshop

This book is aimed at an intermediate user. This book has hundreds of pictures and specific tasks are made easier to accomplish by giving them a title that makes sense, such as: Gray Day Recovery, How to Remove Vignettes, Portrait Tone and Contrast, Freaky Amazing Details, Glowing Lines and Dust.

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The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers

I had first heard of this book via the American Society of Media Photographers’ Digital Photography Best Practices and Workflow (dpBestflow®) project -a Congressionally-funded project through the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program designed “To create guidelines for refined production workflows, archiving methods, and best practices for digital photography based on a variety of capture methods and intended image use.” Much of the information found on the dpBestflow® site is based mainly on Digital Photography Best Practices and Workflow Handbook by Patricia Russotti and Richard Anderson and The DAM Book by Peter Krogh.


This is a very dense book geared towards the professional photographer, though graphic designers, studio managers and anyone who has to manage and curate an image collection would benefit from a thorough reading. With the rise of affordable storage media with larger and larger capacity, even hobbyists with only a casual interest in photography would do well from being familiar with some of the concepts and practices outlined in this book. They, too, will one day be the proud owner of a collection of images spilling over into the range of terabytes. As that collection grows, good asset management becomes even more crucial. This book outlines what you need to do and why.

Digital asset management means how you work with your collection of digital files (whether photos or other kinds of files.) It includes storage, backup, metadata, workflow practices, cataloguing, software used to process and interact with files, storage media, etc.

After explaining many of the reasons behind good digital asset management, the author goes into the nitty-gritty details of many fascinating topics: non-destructive  (parametric) image editing, metadata, hardware options for image storage, Adobe Lightroom workflow, Adobe Bridge/ACR Workflow, et. al. Some chapters make you groan when you realize you’ve been overlooking some essential area of your own collection for a long time (especially the chapter on metadata.)

There are some things you may think you already know how to do effectively -like have a decent file directory structure with coherent file names. Chances are, even the most organized and far-sighted amongst us will learn more than a few things from the chapter on naming and organizing files and folders (and the rest of us will be amazed at the number of things we could be doing better.) Creating a system that is future-compatible, yet can be quickly scanned, added to and easily restored takes thought and planning. Luckily the author has done the deep research, so you can admire the pretty screenshots of what a real image folder workflow looks like and then get to work adapting it to your needs.

Chapter six is devoted to data backup and validation. While it may seem kind of long and dry (especially to those of us more interested in the Lightroom screenshots and workflow), it is one of the more essential sections of the book. If you don’t care about losing your images to fire, theft, flood, Godzilla, spilling coffee on your laptop, then you can probably skip it. But more than likely, there will come a day when bad things happen and your hard drive will be dead or damaged for whatever reason. Then you’ll have wished you read this part of the book and invested some money in a backup system.

Chapter seven details best practices of downloading images from camera to computer and processing them (image ingestion.)  This includes downloading files, renaming them uniquely, applying metadata and backing up (among other steps.) The author explores specific image ingestion workflow options for both Lightroom and ImageIngesterPro (respectively.) While I’ve only used Lightroom in the past, ImageIngesterPro <url here> looks to be an excellent software package for those who need more control and automation during image ingestion than Lightroom can currently provide.

Chapter eight is about managing your working files (files not ready to be archived.) Raw file workflow, reworking archived images and file folder structures are explored. Chapter nine is an overview for working in one of the best cataloging PIEwares -Adobe Lightroom. Lots of juicy tips, pointers and a sample workflow. Chapter ten is all about an Adobe Bridge with Adobe Camera Raw workflow (with Expression Media included for cataloguing purposes.) This workflow can be an extremely good one, especially if you are working cross-platform. All three programs work with XMP data, so are very compatible with each other. They allow you to create work that is accessible in a variety of other programs and offer a good chance that you’ll have an image archive that’s accessible to whatever software you may be using in the future.

Chapter eleven is about cataloguing strategies. This includes what factors to consider when choosing your cataloguing software, managing your catalogs, basics and best practices of using Expression Media (cataloguing software), archive restoration and validation.

Chapter twelve closes on the subject of data migration (which is important in order to adapt your workflow and system to the technologies of the future.) Data migration principles, migrating from hard drive to hard drive, migrating from different metadata fields, migrating disorganized files to an organized archive structure and other important subjects are tackled.

All-in-all, The DAM Book is invaluable for the professional photographer or studio manager and is recommended by the American Society of Media Photographers.

This book, and all O’Reilly books, are available at a discounted rate for IDUG members

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Place an order online at or by calling (800) 998-9938.
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WordPress: The Missing Manual

A few years ago, when I started creating my first wordpress site, I was told it would be easy. Because wordpress is based on themes! So just buy the theme you want (from a super-smart developer) and then add your content. Voila! A custom website! Well… Not so much. [Read more…]

Team Geek

Though marketed toward IT managers, this book is a valuable resource for anyone who leads, or wants to lead a technical team.

As technical people, we’re often more adept at dealing with and understanding computers, so this book will help geeks better understand how to work with and play nicely with other human beings. It explains such things like why geeks are generally insecure.

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HTML5 and JavaScript Web Apps

HTML5 and JavaScript Web Apps

This book is for a mobile web developer. This book will assist the advanced developer in writing fast and responsive HTML5 mobile applications. The book will also assist the intermediate skilled developer. The author assumes you know JavaScript and HTML5; however the book is not “code only.” This book covers the different ways to connect your mobile app to the server. [Read more…]

Oracle PL/SQL Best Practices, Second Edition

Oracle PL/SQL Best Practices


This book is for the Oracle PL/SQL programmer that is either a beginner (never too early to begin best practices!) or the more advanced PL/SQL developer. It is a highly entertaining read that covers many topics from testing your code to getting your coworkers using templates as a way to all get on the same page with a project. The author gives prime reasons for using functionality as the core of naming practices and also delves into optimization. Even as a beginner Oracle programmer, I am very glad I read this book – it will definitely help me to be precise with my code and the modules be functional and reusable themselves. Highly recommended for all beginning and intermediate Oracle programmers. [Read more…]

Professional Android Sensor Programming

This book is for the Android developer – beginner or intermediate. It is a highly defined illustration of the different sensors available on Android devices, how to determine if that sensor is on that particular device and also includes applications (code) that gives examples of using the different sensors. This text is so very well written and covers the different sensors in such depth that I believe (as my status of something of a professional student considering my age! hehe) it is definitely most worthy of being a treasured textbook and also maintain a prominent position on the reference bookcase that everyone has beside their computer. [Read more…]