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Preserving Historical Masonic Records

Preserving Historical Masonic Records



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.