While looking at her account, most of her batches came back in the 97-99% accuracy range except for one batch that was 84%. We looked through that batch and saw multiple places where the arbitrated results did not match what we both felt was the correct result. We both felt frustrated that her average was going to be docked & the records would be incorrect.
Scene 2 - I attended a virtual chapter meeting for the Utah Genealogical Association with Thomas McGill from FamilySearch (you can watch the recorded meeting in the members section of the UGA website) this month and the subject was indexing the 1940 Census. It was amazing to see that we have blown away all projections & there are more people signing up to index every day! We looked at graphs showing how the number of indexers has dramatically increased (as has the number of batches completed). The number of arbitrators has increased as well, but not at a high enough rate to keep up.
Many attendees brought up similar situations to the one above where they had a batch or two that received a very low accuracy percentage when in fact many of the "corrections" were wrong! Thomas explained that they were very aware that not all of the arbitrated results are accurate and that they are aware (i.e. they've been told many times over) how discouraging it can be from an indexers point of view.
Scene 3 - I asked several friends who are indexing about their experience and most of them had at least one story to tell where an arbitrator corrected their work and the results were far from perfect. Many of them were frustrated that their hard work was being discounted.
Scene 4 ("Ah-ha" moment) - While on FB today, a friend talked about how arbitrators are desperately needed right now. You see, all these batches are being submitted, but they can't be completed until someone arbitrates them. There were many comments, but one that stood out to me was from a former arbitrator:
I actually quit arbitrating because I was so upset about what my Facebook "friends" were saying about arbitrators. Yes, there is a greater purpose and I need to consider that, but the negativity and name calling broke my spirit.Here comes the "ah-ha" moment. Arbitrators are human. They are people. Maybe you are an arbitrator. Arbitrators are not out to "get" you & they don't mess up your hard work on purpose. In fact, aren't we are working towards the same goal? To make this work accessible. To make it available. To help in future research. YES!!!
So, yes, I'm a perfectionist & I don't want to see my accuracy tarnished by a batch that was not arbitrated the way I would agree is correct. I also want to make sure, the most accurate transcription is being produced. But I will support my arbitrators and realize that they, too, are doing their best. I will no longer grumble and gripe over that one bad batch, but I will consider the many others that were completed quickly and accurately. I thank my arbitrators for a job well done. Heck, maybe I'll even join the ranks.
Are you with me?
And if you're still concerned about the accuracy, here's an excerpt from an blog that FamilySearch released on this subject:
Here are a few more blog posts to read from Familysearch:
- All indexing values from both indexers and the arbitrator are preserved in the FamilySearch database. At some future date, if needed, all three could be published side-by-side and made searchable.
- In the future, when FamilySearch publishes its public family tree, patrons will have the ability to make corrections or add alternative information, giving more richness to the collection.
- It is also likely in the future that patrons will have the ability to index individual records that they come across in their research, essentially on the fly. These researchers will likely be more familiar with the records than the average indexer and will provide a higher-quality index.
- Computers are getting more sophisticated all the time, and in some future scenarios it may be possible to program them to read handwriting so accurately that they will surpass the capabilities of both the casual and experienced indexer. This sounds futuristic but may, in reality, be closer than most would guess.
- Now is Not the Time to Get Cold Feet About Indexing
- Learning to Like the Referee
NoAttention to the Man Behind the Curtain
- Ten Commandments for Arbitrators
- Arbitration Results Ruining Your Day?
(a.k.a. DearMYRTLE's daughter)