You are here:

Understanding portrait database packages (PSPA format)

Panel pages are created using information (data) linked to portrait photos. This data describes the people depicted in the portrait, and can be used to group and sort portraits into panel grids, and label the portraits with first & last names as well as other information.

Portrait Photo + Data =  Portrait Panel page
Grade 3
Lastname: Jeffreys
Firstname: Lucas
Homeroom: 201
Teacher: Jameson
Priority: 5

Lastname: Jameson
Firstname: Sandra
Homeroom: 201
Teacher: Stephens
Department: Faculty
Title: Homeroom Teacher
Priority: 3
Salutation: Mrs.

Photography studios typically use software to generate a database file in PSPA format. (PSPA is the acronym for Professional School Photographers’ Association.)

On photo day, students and staff are often given a paper slip with a barcode on it, which is scanned before each person is photographed. This barcode is linked to your school roster, so the photo is automatically linked to the person’s name, grade, and/or homeroom as soon as it is taken.

To make your yearbook, you’ll receive a PSPA package that includes database and portrait images, usually on a CD/DVD or USB key. In this package you’ll find portrait photos saved in one or more folders and the database file (index.txt) located next to the folder(s) containing your portraits.

A standard PSPA database includes the following information –  some of it is mandatory,  some is very important, and some is not required.

A. Volume Name: a client name for your school, or a default field, eg. “Yearbook”

B. Image Folder: the name(s) of the folder(s) containing your images

C. Image File Name (including file extension): file names given to the portrait photos, usually a .jpg

D. Grade: Assigned to students and possibly their homeroom teachers.

E. Last Name: Family name of the person in the portrait.

F. First Name: Given name of the person in the portrait.

G. Homeroom: Number/designation for students’ classroom (elementary schools.)

H. Period: Special designation for some schools, not usually used.

I. Teacher Name: Homeroom teacher’s name (usually last name only – for elementary schools.)

J. Track: Special designation for some schools, not usually used.

The index.txt file can be opened up in a spreadsheet software – it will display as a series of rows & columns showing what information is linked to each photo.

Major problems with your import? Your database file may not be correctly formatted.

If you would like to manually edit the index.txt file, copy the entire contents of your PSPA package to your computer. Make a copy (duplicate) your index.txt file, and then open this your spreadsheet software. (It is best to keep a clean copy of the original, in case you make a mistake.)

Using the spreadsheet, you can verify that the columns are correct (as per the info above), delete any extraneous information, or correct major errors.  Save the file back as a txt format, and use your copy to import the data into Memento Yearbook.

Enhancing the PSPA Standard Fields

The PSPA standard does not define important information that can help you make panel pages easily. It neglects to add roles (Students, Teachers, Administration, etc.), or job hierarchy relative to each other (Principal, Vice-Principal, Teacher, Assistant Teacher, Student).

Memento Yearbook has extra categories to provide this missing information so you can build custom portrait panel pages with great ease.

K. Department:  staff members work group, eg. faculty, administration, support staff, etc.

L. Title: Job descriptions, eg. Vice-Principal, Custodian, Music Teacher, Assistant Teacher

M. Priority: Priority breaks alphabetical order in panels. For instance, the Principal is usually the first person on the staff page, followed by the Vice Principal. Teachers often appear at the front of their homeroom class pages.

N. Salutation: the formal address of staff, eg. Mr., Mrs., Ms, Dr., Professor

This additional information can be added into the index.txt file before import, but it is easier to assign roles after importing, then add titles and salutations directly to portraits after import.

Article Topics: