I'd like to see a preview batch function added to indexing
I'm a Stake Temple and FamilyHistory Consultant and find that many beginning indexers are reluctant to return batches. As a result, they can be discouraged when then select a batch that is too hard for them. There is a sense of failure if they return the batch.
If a feature could be added that would quickly allow an indexer to preview a page of the batch, the person could decide if they wanted to continue to index the batch of select another. This would reduce the number of batches that are downloaded and then returned. Indexers would be able to view several batches quickly before decided to download one to index.
That is an amazing idea and I feel that would be very useful to new indexers.
I used to be afraid in the beginning of my indexing experience to return a batch that I felt I couldnt do. Things such as the amount of names, like in the Business Directories where there are easily 100+ in a batch, or if other batches had really difficult handwriting to decipher.
It wasnt until I came here and can see all the knowledgeable indexers that I felt reassured that if I downloaded a batch I felt was difficult and decided to return it, that it would be in good hands. Im glad we're able to do all we can, and in the end everyones abilities overlap and get the work done!0
Genthusiast, thank you for that option to view sample images.
What I had in mind was something that would be on the list of batches (a preview button next to the index button) and only require a single click which would bring an image of a specific batch that the indexer would either choose to download or give it a pass and try another batch. A project can have a mixed bag of image types, some harder than others. The actual batch you get is not known before you download and the sample images do not always represent the actual batch.
I liken the difference akin to going to a store and looking at sweaters and deciding which one you want before bringing it to the till, or having to first buy a box with a sweater in it before you open it and then having to return it if you don't like.
It may seem like a small difference, but allowing beginning indexers to be selective before they commit could be the difference in having them becoming a long term indexer or giving up entirely.0
John Empoliti ✭✭✭✭✭
I’m OK with requesting a “preview” option, but not sure that it’s needed - maybe we need to think differently about returning batches - see below (JE) my thoughts on this.
As perhaps @genthusiast was thinking, I would like to restore the ability to look at the project/ batch instructions, field helps, and indexing examples (everything but a set of batch images). When deciding whether to check out a batch from a new project. We used to access that info via a button click right in line with the project name. For me, it was a quick and easy way to screen a project for possibly trying it out. Find a Project (FAP) has this capability, but FAP is a flawed tool because it isn’t synchronized with Find a Batch and doesn’t show every project. To see the project details I mentioned above, in FAP, click on View Project Details and then View project instructions (as you see right below)
(JE) I understand the hesitancy to return a batch once you’ve opened it - I used to feel that way, too - it felt like admitting defeat. When working on a project that I am familiar with and comfortable with, I generally work on the batches I draw rather than returning a tough (e.g., fuzzy) one. Unless I’m in a time crunch. And I’ve had batches expire (I.e., returned for me) because I didn’t get to them in time.
But there is no shame in returning a batch because you don’t feel comfortable working on it for whatever reason. I’d be doing that for every batch of early (1600s) England Parish records written in “Secretarial Script.” I admire those who can do those, but I can’t invest the time needed to master them, and maybe I never could anyway. I occasionally peek at a Shared batch of that type to see if I can make sense of it.
BUT, I open, check out, and return batches all the time - as quick as clicking Batch>Return Batch - when seeing if I can help questioners with a general question who have not shared their batch. In that situation, I’m trying to find the project/ project part that person might be working on, read the instructions, and look at the examples. So, if there is a “black mark” associated with opening and returning batches, I have lots of them. I also do this to see if I might enjoy working on a certain new project.
To “preview” a batch - it has to be “downloaded” in some way to your computer, even if to RAM, so that you can look at it... To indicate that you don’t care to work on it, after all, you need to click something, e.g., “No Thanks.” And if it’s a project that the beginning Indexer knows has some tough and easier batches, I don’t see any harm in “batch-shopping” (checkout/return, checkout/return, etc.) until you find a batch you’re comfortable with. That’s better than not indexing or working on a batch you’re not equipped to handle.
As I said at the outset, I’m OK with having a “preview” feature, but I’m not sure it’s needed. Just think differently about returning batches you’ve checked out and cannot work on - for any reason. Or, in my case, for example, because you never intended to work on it but just wanted to read the instructions and look at the indexing examples. It’s OK to return a batch.3
Some projects also have a mix of typed and handwritten entries, good scans and bad scans. Projects may be split between different difficulty levels, have different languages on some records, etc.
I sometimes have trouble with my eyes, so I usually do a quick scan through each page of a batch to determine if I think I'll have trouble reading it. If so, I return it. No problem! I'm currently working in South African files with Indian (the country) names and started just with the typed records until I became familiar with the names. Now I can figure out many of the handwritten ones, and those I can't, I return.
This is also why we have reviewers (proofers), so if someone misinterprets handwriting, a bad scan, or hard to make out letters (from worn-out ribbons or clogged keys on typewriters like the Muster Records), it can be corrected Or another spelling option given.4
Perhaps you could just tell them there is no dishonor in returning batches. I return batches all the time for a variety of reasons - downloaded to read the instructions to help others (as John mentioned), too many names for the time I have available, can't read the handwriting, the image is too hard for me to read even after using the adjustment tools, simply don't like the project, and the list goes on. It really doesn't matter how many batches are downloaded and returned and the time to download one and return it is literally less than a second.5
I probably return batches more than indexing them. In my case it is because I am trying to solve an indexing question but at first it made me feel funny to be returning them so often. We all have batches where we are best serving family researchers by returning them and letting someone more familiar with that particular record for whatever reason. Aiding researchers best we can is the point isn't it? Truth is we prefer that if you are uncomfortable indexing a particular batch then send it back! Challenges are great but it isn't a contest so no shame in returning any batch.
You are all so awesome with your responses!3
I will amend my comment to the best we can under the constraints of the contract to index a particular record. We are not researchers. We are not doing anyone's research for them. We are simply here to make the records more easily findable to a family researcher.
I was unhappy with certain things that were done previously. Apparently our leaders were too since we do not do them anymore. When we do the research instead of simply indexing enough information for them to be searchable we take the blessings and opportunities from researchers to find and connect their own families and make them stronger by doing so.
I do know it is hard sometimes to restrain myself from wanting to take the researcher role here but it is the right thing to do.4