12 July 2011

Tech Tuesday: Family Search Indexing Accuracy

I love feedback. I really like indexing records. Guess what! The Family Search Indexing has given me both with their new accuracy feedback measurement widget.

I started indexing late last year. It was tough at first, but I think I got the hang of it. I worked on US Census records primarily because I'm most familiar with those records. When given a choice of records, I often chose the state of Ohio. Most of my ancestors were from the state. Though I didn't really believe I'd come across my names, I liked thinking I was helping people from my ancestor's home state. When Ohio wasn't an option, I indexed the records of highest priority. I'll admit I really liked indexing the WW II draft cards the most. I loved the printed handwriting rather than the various difficult cursive scripts I encountered.

Within recent months, the Ontario, Canada Birth Records was made available. My Zumstein relatives are from Ontario and I was excited to work on these records. I'll admit to hoping that I'd come across my ancestor's births, but I never did. However, I really enjoyed working on the marriage project. It was more challenging than the US Census and War Draft cards. I loved how some of the older records included very little information on the records and more recent records included a lot more detail.

According to the Family Search widget, I've indexed about 1,800 names. Since the batches are designed to be done in 30-40 minute blocks and many records have 30 some names, that puts the number into perspective. Nevertheless, I'm glad to have been able to do this work in my free time rather than play video games.

Despite this large number, I kept wondering how I was doing. I know sometimes I couldn't read something and marked it as unreadable. But, with what I was able to read, I really wanted to know if I was helping the indexing program or not.

On July 7, 2011, the Family Search Indexing website created an new widget called Accuracy Feedback that helps measure the accuracy of my contributions. Unfortunately, it only shows the last 90 days of work. I can't really tell how I did on the previous projects. I only know how I've done on the most recent ones.

My current rating regarding work on the Ontario Birth records and the Franklin County, Ohio Marriage records is 94%. What's really cool is that you can see a side by side comparison of what you entered and the changed values from an arbitrator. That's cool. On my worst record, my mistakes were one letter different. A few of the changes made by the arbitrator makes sense but I couldn't see it when I was indexing. A few of the changes, I disagree with and I could make a feedback note. It won't change the record but I could leave a note. Nevertheless, I think it's really a cool feature. It's nice to know I'm not doing so bad.

So... if you've thought about indexing, give it a try. You'll be able to receive feedback to boost your spirits or 'training' through comparisons which will help you improve.

Tech Tuesday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community's resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

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