Last week I noticed FamilySearch had invited us to "wiki" away and add source citations to it's Historical Records Collections. See "Are FamilySearch 'Historical Record Collections' sources really subject to open addition/edit?" (27 December 2010) I followed up with a blog about the host of problems with the wiki-driven sources in one of those Historical Record Collection databases. See "A closer look at FamilySearch 'Historical Record Collection' sources." (29 December 2010) Since then, I have experienced the FamilySearch wiki-a-source process. I'm blogging about my experience and thoughts in the hope FamilySearch will change this policy.
You, Me and Elmer Fudd
This morning, another FamilySearch user and I have been going back and forth, trying to agree on how the source should be reported for the FamilySearch database "New Hampshire Death Records, 1654-1947." This source will appear on the database search page and related wiki, "New Hampshire Statewide Deaths."
We've been through two edits, and we both know it still doesn't "look" right. Much of our discussion is memorialized on the Wiki discussion page. Keep in mind, neither of us is a known authority about this database. Rather, we are making educated guesses about the universe of FamilySearch records that made up this single database. What we decide will become the source for a million records/images in this single database--it is less than one-year old.
Oh my!! We aren't far into the process before it hits me, anyone registered for the Wiki could add "Elmer Fudd" as a source author to ALL the Historical Record Collection databases.
Worthy of a source!
I'm sure many of us who participate in FamilySearch Indexing feel connected to the Historical Record Collections. From the indexing website (emphasis added), "The key life events of billions of people are being preserved and shared through the efforts of people like you ... Millions of rolls of microfilm provide census, vital, probate, and church records from over 100 countries for indexing projects. Governments, churches, societies, and commercial companies are also working to make more records available."
Indexing is one part of the whole effort behind these fabulous collections. Someone collected and microfilmed the records, digitized those papers, films or reels; organized the materials into an indexing project, wrote that incredible indexing software ... and more and more and more.
I can't estimate the man-hours it will take to bring these Historical Record Collections to our computer screens ("millions of rolls of microfilm," storing "billions" of life events). I know that each and every collection represents a massive effort. That effort certainly seems worthy of the relatively simple administrative tasks necessary to assure each and every collection is PERFECTLY sourced back to the specific titles listed in the Family History Library Catalog.
Don't you agree? --GJ