Saturday, April 28, 2012

Indexing - It's not just the arbitrators

There has been some conversation regarding the "bad" arbitrators.  Please understand that we do make mistakes.  And I know I've made a few as an arbitrator.  I'm sorry.  And, as an indexer who has had some entries considered incorrect, I understand how indexers feel. 

HOWEVER, please realize that we arbitrators would never see your indexing entries IF the other indexer agreed with you.  These just never come to our screen.  So, if you want to ask other indexers to improve their indexing, fine.  If you want to ask arbitrators to improve their arbitration, fine.   I truly believe that each of us is honestly doing the best we can. 

While there are some batches I arbitrate that take very little time, there are others that I spend many, many minutes trying to figure out the difference between the vowels, or consonants, etc.  And, I truly stress more when I download a batch as an arbitrator than when I download a batch to index.  Why?  Because I know when I index that someone else either will agree with me and the arbitrator won't see the batch, or that the other indexer and I will have different entries and the arbitrator will correct my "error" to the best of his/her ability. So, as an indexer, I know that someone else is looking at it.  That's reassuring. 

There is a request for more arbitrators.  But new indexers aren't going to sign up if they feel that they are going to be criticized for every decision they make.  After all, for each entry I arbitrate, there is one entry considered "right" and one entry that is considered "wrong."  That's just the way it is. 

I'll continue to index.  I'll continue to arbitrate.  And I'll continue to do my best, as I'm sure all of the rest of you are doing.  Thank you all for your efforts.  We're make tremendous progress on the 1940 census but remember, there are many more records to index after the census is complete (or even now if you need a change of pace.)  So, thank you again.