First year status report
December 24, 2001 to December 24, 2002
It is exactly one year from the date we sent the first obituary packets out to our team of dedicated volunteers. It has been a fruitful, sometimes frustrating, experience, but as we progressed we learned a lot from the volunteers and from our software programmers at CIC in Greeley, CO. One of our volunteers came up with the scheme of cropping and OCRing the multi-column obits. What a time saver that has been for all of us! We struggled with doing the quality control function until August 21 when a new program was issued to all of you, which solved the dropping out of dates problem. We realize that it was frustrating to some, or all, of you that you did not get timely feed-back on how well you were doing on the early packets. We really wanted to provide that because we know that all of you want to do the best job possible, but the software was not right and we decided to keep issuing packets knowing we could clean them up at a later date. This is a major job that Bob and Marge Benson are working feverishly on right now. They are providing good feed-back to each indexer as they do the quality check on these older packets. With the exception of one person, who quit, the rest of you have viewed these critiques as a positive step and are therefore doing a much better job. We have maintained a fairly steady number of volunteers throughout the year, some going inactive, mostly due to health/family problems, but others have joined in. The number has remained over 100 and, as with most volunteer efforts, 20% of the group, do about 80% of the work. This neither a good thing nor a bad thing. It is just a fact and we truly appreciate each and every keyword that each and every one of you enter. We believe, and are motivated by this belief, that this data-base will be the most valuable tool that researchers from this ethnic group have ever had. We are driven by the need to make the data that has been submitted to our archives over the past 30 some years available in a easily searchable data-base. We know, for a fact, that some of the early submitters to the Arthur and Cleo Flegel obituary collection now have their own obits in that collection. Ours may be in there before this project is finished.
When will it finish? We do not know and cannot even predict. The obits we are currently indexing are the archival collection in AHSGR headquarters in Lincoln, NE which contains 143,465 obits, so we are only about 60% through. In addition we have scanned about three times that amount which are in the queue for indexing. That is around half a million and there are more out there to be scanned. We had hoped to have the Lincoln obits completed by June, 2003 for the AHSGR convention in Yakima. WA, but you can see that at our current pace we cannot achieve that goal, but we will have a very large representative database at Yakima for demonstration and use by our members. For this we thank all of you.
Many have asked, when is it available to me, or how will we eventually access it? These are good questions that a committee of Board of Directors members of AHSGR are working on right now. It is named MORE (Marketing/Managing Our Records Effectively/Electronically). Some initial decisions are expected to be made at the Spring Board meetings in March in Lincoln, NE.
In 2002 the scanning team scanned the archival records of the Denver Metro Chapter, the AHSGR HQ 2002 updates, the Central California Chapter 2002 updates, the Northern Colorado Chapter updates, the Esther Krause collection in the Windsor-Severance Library plus some starvation letters from the colony of Messer that a library employee contributed, The Glukstahl Colonies Records Association (GCRA) 2002 updates, Pastor Schaal’s birth and death records, and approximately 20 Argentine Journals submitted by Frank Jacobs in Topeka, KS. There is much more out there and our motto “Have scanner. Will travel” is still in effect. The scanner, owned by the California District Council, has held up well and promises to do so for some time.
Current indexing figures are:
Packets distributed 1700 X 50 obits/packet = 85,000 obits out 60% of HQ total
Packets returned 1655 X 50 obits/packet = 82,740 obits in 97% of out
Packets QA checked 353 X 50 obits/packet = 17,650 obits completed 21% of in
The number of packets completing the quality assurance process has increased significantly in the past month, thanks to the efforts of the Bensons and will continue to do so in support of demonstrating SOAR at the AHSGR convention in Yakima, WA in June, 2003.
SOAR has truly gone international! This morning I sent Boris Alekseev from Chuvasia, Russia his first packet. We welcome Boris to this dedicated group.
Attached to this message is a NEW cickwdst program and the instructions on how to load it. You have all done this before and it should be no problem. If you do have a problem please do not hesitate to ask one of us for assistance. This program’s purpose is to prohibit the loading of two packets at the same, which some of you encountered. If you have trouble loading it or problems afterward please contact us at the addresses listed below
The SOAR coordination group wishes you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May God Bless all of you and we pray he will continue to bless this project since it's inception.
Bob & Marge Benson firstname.lastname@example.org
Ken Leffler email@example.com