Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

What's New for Stake Indexing Directors

If you know who your Stake Indexing Directors are, you might want to pass this blog post along to them.

This is from a FamilySearch blog of 10 February, 2014:

Have you seen these new resources? You should definitely take a look.
  • Ensign Article: “Indexing Is Vital”: Did you see the indexing article in the DecemberEnsign? Individuals and families are receiving specific and unique blessings by participating in indexing and family history. We invite you to share this article with your priesthood leaders. The stories and experiences shared in this message can definitely help your priesthood leaders understand the great blessings that come from participating in this work.
  • Thanks a Billion”: Do you ever wonder what happens to the records once they are published in At the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference 2013, researchers expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the indexers who make the world’s records searchable. Watch this video to learn how the records you index benefit researchers everywhere. Share this video with the volunteers in your stake to let them know that their work is appreciated and valued.
  • Stake Indexing Director Forum Recording: Hundreds of stake indexing directors attended this forum to receive direction and support in their calling. Watch this recording to learn about the upcoming indexing website and web-based indexing program, and also hear from Elder Dennis C. Brimhall, managing director of the Family History Department.
  • Obituary Webinar Recording: The year of the obituaries has begun! Have you tried indexing these fascinating records? The obituaries are typed and full of interesting stories. Although type-written, this project can be tricky, and you will need to be prepared to answer your stake members’ questions. Watch this webinar to learn all you need to know about the obituaries project.
Here are five more links that will help:
New Look, Same Great Program: You may notice some minor, but visible, changes made to the current FamilySearch indexing program. These changes were made to help volunteers recognize the connection between, with its recently updated look, and the existing indexing program. Specifically, the indexing program now displays:
  • The new FamilySearch logo.
  • Changed fonts in some screens to match the new fonts.
  • Minor changes of color in various places throughout the program.
Your Calling, Your Opportunity: Oft times when we get a new Church calling, we are nervous or wonder how we will accomplish the task that lies ahead. As a stake indexing director, many of you have probably wondered, “How will I do this?”
It is important to remember you are not alone. Help is available from many sources, including those beyond the veil. Indexing is not merely a task that needs to get done, but a work of great worth. Your efforts will be rewarded and you will be blessed for the time you spend furthering the Lord’s work.
 What do I need to know about arbitration?:Have you ever asked yourself, “What is arbitration?” “Why is it important to teach my stake about arbitration?” or “What role do I play in arbitration as a stake indexing director?” Many stake indexing directors around the world are wondering the exact same thing. 
Stake indexing directors need to be constantly concerned about quality. Researchers depend on the quality of published records to find their ancestors, so arbitration and arbitrators deserve careful consideration as you manage your stake indexing program. Most stake indexing directors know that arbitration is an essential step in the indexing process, but do they know that finding and training qualified arbitrators is an important part of their calling? If so, do they know how to find, train, and support qualified arbitrators?

What “Final” Really Means:

Is Arbitration Really Data’s Last Chance? Yes and No.

Some indexers are afraid of arbitrating because they believe, appropriately, that their choices will determine what gets published on Make a mistake and it will be etched in stone forever, right? Well, maybe not.

We all appreciate arbitrators who take their job seriously. But some take it so seriously that the thought of making a mistake that could possibly handicap their fellow genealogists in perpetuity makes them shy away from arbitrating altogether. For such individuals, and at the other extreme, for all those indexers who fairly demand that FamilySearch “stop the presses” every time they find an arbitration error, here are some comforting thoughts.
All indexing values from both indexers and the arbitrator are preserved in the FamilySearch database. At some future date, if needed, all three could be published side-by-side and made searchable.
In the future, when FamilySearch publishes its public family tree, patrons will likely have the ability to make corrections or add alternative information, giving more richness to the collection. 
Also likely, in the future will be the ability for patrons to index individual records that they come across in their research, essentially on-the-fly. These researchers will likely be more familiar with the records than the average indexer and will provide a higher-quality index.
Computers are getting smarter all the time and in some future scenarios it may be possible to “teach” them to read handwriting so accurately that they will surpass the capabilities of both the casual and experienced indexer. This sounds futuristic but may, in reality, be closer than most would guess.

The bottom line: as “final” as arbitration seems, its effect is only permanent for now. This is not an admission that FamilySearch has a lax attitude about quality. We are way too concerned about accuracy to ever stop looking for ways to lead people to a true understanding of their ancestors. After all is said and done, none of this effort matters if people can’t connect with the people who are their actual ancestors.
Personal Arbitration Mentoring: The objective of this mentoring is to ensure that you develop the skills and confidence to begin arbitrating on your own. If you have not already done so, the mentor will ask you to take the Arbitrator Self-Assessment to help identify areas where you may need additional training. During this mentoring, you will also have the chance to arbitrate one or more batches with a mentor. After your mentoring experience, you will be awarded a certificate indicating your preparation as a trained arbitrator.

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