READER'S FEEDBACK: Extraction
I sincerely hope that the [data derived from the] extraction program is more
reliable than the Ancestral File [database of patron entries]. I was in charge
of one of the *data entry* sites. There were 32 of them. We were not allowed to
make corrections to what the submitter sent in even when it was obvious that a
mistake was made, nor were we allowed to let the submitter know he/she had made
a mistake. I know the extraction program is reading from the microfilm and that
as minimum of two people have to agree as to what it says, but I worked in that
too and often if the second reader saw that the first reader was someone
he/she respected as lot, if there was a question he/she always took what the
first person had put.
Charlotte in southern Utah
Data entry site was in Texas
Your Name Extraction Program experience differs from ours in the early
1990s in Bradenton, Florida. We were extracting names from a Catholic parish in
Mexico City. We received the microfilm, and photocopies from the film to
distribute to volunteer participants. The UDE software provided for person "A"
to fill in the blanks for the individual's name, parents where listed, date,
place; as he interpreted it from the original text. Once the packet was
returned, we distributed the packet to another volunteer. The software for
person "B" provided the blind double-entry I described in yesterday's article.
Person "B" was specifically not to know who had previously processed the packet
of pages from the original When there were difficulties in reading the text, it
was possible for either person "A" or person "B" to come back to the two of us
coordinating the project, so that we could look at the microfilm, zoom in/out,
and reprint a page positive/negative and such. We merely voted on our best
However, we had been trained to look at the
handwriting elsewhere on the page to compare letter for letter, allowing for
handwriting. The computer software would compare both "A" and "B" entries for
differences, which I theorize were usually just typos.
THERE WAS AN EARLIER MANUAL PROGRAM for extracting
information WITHOUT A COMPUTER. This meant that the extractor deciphered the
handwriting from the original document from a photocopy of the microfilm. He
reported his findings by hand writing the names and dates on little cards.
Others typed from those cards into a computer. This sounds like the *data entry*
you participated in, Charlotte.
THANKFULLY, THE ADVENT OF HOME COMPUTERS has
facilitated the part "A" and part "B" indexing of original records.
Somehow having two or more sets of eye looking at
the cryptic handwriting in an old church record seems a lot more reliable than
inexperienced, untrained eye. However, no process is without it's faults.
For that reason, Ol' Myrt continues to recommend
that we obtain copies of the original document (usually from microfilm) rather
than rely on even an extracted entry.
Happy family tree climbing!