Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View
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Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View

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A modern-day equivalent of a barn raising, only for 21st century genealogists.

A modern-day equivalent of a barn raising, only for 21st century genealogists.

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    Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View Presentation Transcript

    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View Dick Eastman April 19, 2014
    • Today’s handouts and slides are available at: http://www.eogn.com/handouts/sourcing
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View Genealogists have labored alone for years, often in silence. These “lone wolf” efforts have frustrated many. In fact, we didn’t learn from our ancestors. They were often better than we are at collaboration:
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View Collaboration is often the key to success! In old-fashioned barn raisings held by our ancestors, a group of individuals came together, bringing with them a variety of skills sets, and dedicated themselves to building a barn in a short period of time.
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View Our ancestors traded with each other, buying and selling land, labor, seed, cattle, and the like. Despite traditions of independence, self-sufficiency, and refusal to incur debt to one another, community barn raisings and other cooperative projects were a part of life. Why can’t we do the same?
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View What types of crowd sourcing do we see or can we look forward to in genealogy? Indexing of the 1940 Census images by volunteers. Building the FamilySearch Research Wiki with almost 67,000 individual articles.
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View How about sharing family trees on FamilySearch, Ancestry, MyHeritage, WeRelate, and dozens of other web sites?
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View Today, we don’t call it “barn raising.” We call it “crowd sourcing.” crowd·sourc·ing: to utilize (labor, information, etc.) contributed by the general public to (a project), often via the Internet and without compensation. – Dictionary.com
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers. - Wikipedia
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View Crowdsourcing Your Brick Walls was the topic of Drew Smith’s presentation at RootsTech 2014, and his message was clear: using crowdsourcing to solve a genealogical problem is like putting a message in a bottle and sending it out to sea. One never knows when the right person will come along and assist in breaking down that genealogical brick wall.
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View Isn’t this barn raising in the 21st century?
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View • Genealogists have traditionally used: • Mailing lists • Message boards • Groups/Communities, primarily on social networking sites
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View • Now we have: • Record extraction projects (1940 U.S. census) • FamilySearch’s Obituary Digitization Project • Wikis
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View 1940 Census Extraction Project
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View FamilySearch’s Obituary Digitization Project
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: Other Wikis
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View
    • Summary Crowdsourcing is today’s genealogy barnraising: “Help your neighbor and he will help you.”
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View How about accuracy?
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View Some people place "unverified information on the Internet” Some of it contains fairy tales! Shouldn’t that be banned?
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View I believe in verification of every bit of information I obtain. I don't care if a fact came from the Internet, from a book, or even from an original record. I still want to verify every bit of information I read.
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View I always look to see who reported the information or who wrote the book I am reading. Even if I recognize the author as being a leading genealogy expert, I still want to verify the claim independently. I don't believe anyone.
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View So you think I would be against unsourced, unverified information on the Internet? Wrong!
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View When I am looking for genealogy information about my ancestors, I want to see EVERYTHING. I want to see the sourced information, the unsourced information, the verbal claims from someone's Aunt Lydia, and even the guesswork.
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View I want to see every hint and every bit of guesswork. I want to know what everyone else is thinking. I am hoping that someone, somewhere has an idea that I have haven't thought of so far.
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View When I read someone else's guesswork or facts, I'll check them out and I will ask questions, but I still want all the hints. The proof is always up to me, regardless of where I found the claimed information.
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View I am a big fan of group collaboration. Some people call that "crowd sourcing.” Such crowd sourcing will often be wrong, but it almost always includes some clues that I have not seen or thought of previously. Those can be valuable clues.
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View What I do see is an education problem. A lot of newcomers will believe "I saw it on the Internet so it must be true." That is a problem.
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View We should encourage our newcomers to document their sources and to include that documentation when posting information online. Of course, this is not a one-time effort.
    • Sourcing and Collaboration: a Genealogist's View I still never automatically discard something simply because it is unsourced. I never look down my nose at any online genealogy claim, regardless of the source of information. I do, however, maintain a healthy skepticism.
    • Summary  Crowdsourcing through formal and informal methods (mailing lists, message boards, and online groups/communities) can be an excellent way to solve brick wall challenges. Crowdsourcing in its many forms continues to be the heart of the genealogical community.
    • Summary  Then verify the claims for yourself.
    • What will the next year bring? Stay tuned! http://www.eogn.com
    • Today’s handouts and slides are available at: http://www.eogn.com/handouts/sourcing