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Preserving Historical Masonic Records
 

Preserving Historical Masonic Records

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Overview of the state of Masonic records and strategies for their preservation.

Overview of the state of Masonic records and strategies for their preservation.

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    Preserving Historical Masonic Records Preserving Historical Masonic Records Presentation Transcript

    • Preserving Historical Masonic Records
    • Lots and Lots of Records
      • ~14,000,000 Index Cards
    • Lots of Data
      • Roster Books
      • Minutes Books
      • Annual Returns
      • Officer Registries
      • Much, much more
    • Manual Data is Bad
      • Bad Date Formats
      • Misspelled Names
      • Extinct Lodges
      • Missing Information
    • Index Cards
      • Most jurisdictions have a card file.
      • Cards typically contain a smaller subset of modern datasets.
      • Card files are deteriorating in many ways:
        • Paper breakdown
          • Are your cards on archive quality paper?
        • Misfiling
        • Ink fading
          • Are you inks archive quality?
    • Index Card Risks and Costs
      • Property housing cards is expensive:
        • Environmental controls.
        • Humidity and temperature need to be maintained at appropriate levels.
      • Access to information is difficult.
        • Access requires staff time.
        • Cards can be hard to find.
        • Cards are hard to read.
        • Handling them can damage them.
    • Scanning Cards
      • Requires professional grade scanners.
      • Requires professional grade software.
      • It is time consuming.
      • Cards commonly use many formats.
      • But… we need to do it.
    • Why Scan Cards
      • Preservation
      • One fire, one flood and they are gone.
        • You can’t get them back.
      • Morally it’s the right thing to do.
    • Scanning Process
      • Cards are scanned to an image.
      • Image files need to be maintained.
      • Scanning projects can produce a large volume of data.
        • Hundreds of thousands of image files.
      • Data needs to be extracted from image files.
    • Scanning is a First Step
      • Data needs to be extracted.
      • Formats of data need to be standardized.
      • OCR is not adequate for all cases.
      • Crowd sourcing data is an option.
    • Integrating Data into Operations
      • Historical Data is frequently of lesser quality than modern data.
      • Integrating with operational system is difficult.
        • Missing data is the largest issue to get over.
    • Grand Lodge of Massachusetts
      • Scanned card file in 2009
      • Worked with the New England Genealogical Society.
      • Extracting some data via Optical Character Recognition.
      • Looking at integrating data into operational database.
    • Grand Lodge of North Carolina
      • Acquiring scanner
      • Using professional grade software.
      • Using staff resources to do it.
    • Masonicapedia
      • The Goal
        • Central repository for deceased member data.
        • Available on the Internet.
        • Available to researchers in academia.
        • By Masons for Masons.
        • Grand Lodges can participate at the level they are comfortable with.
    • Masonicapedia
      • Initial prototype was created in 2008 based on MORI system.
      • Lessons Learned:
        • Existing data models are hard to adapt to historical data.
        • Deceased records data can be more highly optimized than operational data.
        • To scale to the size of current deceased data for all of Masonry the data storage can be rethought and optimized.
    • About Vita Rara, Inc.
      • Mark Menard, President Vita Rara, Inc.
      • [email_address]
      • (518) 369-7356
      • Visit our table in the vendor area near the registration desk.