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Scrapbooking is a type of storytelling, but with a visual rather than an oral focus. By definition, scrapbooking is a method of preserving personal and family history in the form of photographs, printed media and memorabilia contained in decorated albums or scrapbooks. The keeping of scrapbooks probably dates to shortly after the invention of printing. In the 15th century, scrapbooking became popular as a way of compiling recipes, quotes, letters and other memorabilia in what was known as commonplace books. Each commonplace book was unique to its creator's particular interests. In the 16th century, friendship albums became popular and they were used a lot like modern day yearbooks. Friends would enter their names, titles and a short message in these books at the request of the owner. These albums were often created as souvenirs of European tours and would contain local memorabilia including coats of arms or works of art commissioned by local artists. Later, friendship albums and school yearbooks gave girls in the 18th and 19th centuries an outlet through which to share their literary skills, and allowed girls an opportunity to document their own personalized historical record, previously not readily available to them. In the 20th century, scrapbooks contained photographs mounted with photomount corners and bits of memorabilia like newspaper clippings and letters.

In recent years, scrapbooking as a hobby has exploded in popularity. It has evolved into a much more artistic display of photos, text, journaling and memorabilia put together into attractive notebooks. In addition, the scrapbooking hobby is popular for the strong social network it can provide. Hobbyists, known as "scrappers" or "scrapbookers," get together and scrapbook at each other's homes, at local scrapbook stores, scrapbooking conventions, retreat centers, and even on cruises. The scrapbooking industry doubled in size between 2001 and 2004 to $2.5 billion and by 2003, some 1,600 companies were creating scrap booking. In the United States, the scrapbooking hobby has surpassed golf in popularity.

Basic scrapbooking supplies include an album, background papers (including printed and cardstock paper,) clear page protectors, photo corner mounts, adhesive dots, photo mounting tape or acid-free glue, scissors, a paper trimmer, art pens and archival pens. More elaborate or artistic designs require specialized tools and embellishments, such as stickers, rub-ons, stamps, alphabet letters, lace, fabric and ribbon. With the advent of scanners, desktop publishing, page layout programs and advanced printing options, scrapbooks now exist completely in digital image form. Early digital scrapbooks were created from digital photos uploaded to an external site. However, the latest trend is to download software on your personal computer that will organize photos and help create the digital scrapbook on your machine. Digital scrapbooking has advanced to the point where digital scrapbook layouts may be made entirely online using Web-based software. Users upload their photos, create a digital scrapbook layout using a Web page and digital scrapbook graphics. The layout can then be downloaded as a low-resolution JPEG file for sharing on the Web or as a high-resolution JPEG file for printing.


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