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READER'S FEEDBACK: Extraction Program

From: Charlotte
DearMYRTLE,
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
p.s.
Data entry site was in Texas

DearCHARLOTTE,
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 guestimate.

However, we had been trained to look at the handwriting elsewhere on the page to compare letter for letter, allowing for irregularities in
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 trusting my
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!
Myrt :)


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