Arbitration and Project Update

We are excited that four projects have been completed and are 100% arbitrated!  These projects are now going through additional processes before making their way to the site.  There are two projects that are getting close to the end of arbitration, England and Wales, Criminal Registers and Nebraska State Census.   We would appreciate your support in finishing the arbitration for these projects.

If you are not currently an arbitrator and want to know how to become an arbitrator, read on…

Once you reach the requirements we have set for arbitrators, based on both accuracy rating and the number of image sets you have submitted that have been arbitrated, you will see a note at the bottom of your My Stats box.  The message reads, “We currently need more arbitrators and you have met the requirements.  Learn More.”  Clicking on the Learn More link will lead you to a page that introduces you to the arbitration process  and contains the “Become an Arbitrator” button.  Clicking on this button will send a message to our system to indicate that you are now an arbitrator.  Once you are an arbitrator the next time you login to the tool and Download Image Sets you will see that there are two sections – the top is arbitration image sets and the bottom is keying image sets.  We encourage you to read the Step by Step Help Instructions for Arbitration and to also view the Keyed In: Learn the Ins and Outs of Arbitration webinars.

Session I

Session II

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Reader Comments

What are the requirements for becoming an arbitrator

Is it okay to arbitrate sets you have keyed? I have stayed away from those because I thought it might cause a conflict.

We have adjusted the requirements for becoming an arbitrator and may adjust them in the future – so currently there is not a permanent set of requirements.

We have standards set in place that do not allow a keyer to arbitrate the same image sets that they keyed.

I think the requirements for becoming an arbitrator appear to be quite random. There are posts where people have reportedly become arbitrators after completing 900 records with 100% accuracy, which could be quite a normal score after that amount of records. It should also take into account the types of records people have been keying – the Andrews Collection is renowned for its difficulties in keying and many people stay away from it for this very reason; while the Criminal Records, Census Records and Slave Manifests (which disappeared far too quickly!) involve transcribing handwriting and all its peculiarities and the idiosyncracies of the individual recorder. It should be anticipated that people keying these records would have a lower acuracy rating. Many of the naturalisation records are transcribing typed records and generally classed as easy and should naturally lead to a higher accuracy rating if only keying these projects.
I have watched in wonder as all the discussions on the boards have been about who has become an arbitrator and volunteering the number of records and accuracy score and silently (or not so silently now!)waiting for my “invite”… but alas, it has yet to appear.
I am currently rekeying some sets of the Criminal Records and am actually having some difficulties wondering why they have been sent back from arbitration to be rekeyed – they are perhaps some of the clearest sets from this project that I’ve seen. It is with some annoyance that I read the Criminal records have almost completed the arbitration and I’ve missed the opportunity to do further work on the project I enjoyed the most.

Tracy, while I can’t speak to most of your post, I can provide some insight on why some of the Criminal Registers may have been sent back to be rekeyed. I have keyed and arbitrated many of those. Some of the biggest problems are that people choose the wrong form type. I have found many in which one keyer chose “Image with no data” when it was clearly a register page (printed or otherwise). I feel, in that instance, the image has to be rejected so that another arbitrator will have records to compare.

I think that keyer’s accuracy rates would be higher and the number of arbitration requirements would be less if we had a good guidline on how to handle some of the country names.

I have been keying under the concept of what you see is what you type as presented by the introduction video.

However this must be wrong as my accuracy rate has never exceeded 91% even though I double check my keying.

For example the counties I have questions about are Nova Scotia, New Foundland, Prince Edward Island, Victoria etc etc. Under the concept of what you see is what you type these would be correct entries.

I totally agree with the complaints. I have keyed over 16,000 records with a consistent accuracy over 90% and not been asked to arbitrate. Surely projects should be weighted if they are not classified as easy. Even the boss and her side-kick disagreed on a record’s treatment during the webinar. I have been following the boss’s interpretation of the Andrew’s project and expected to see my accuracy to go up. It has not. Presumably the arbitrators have not watched the webinar! I am becoming dispirited and will key fewer records!

Having read Michelle comment on why some of the Criminal Records have been returned for re-keying, I think that there is a need to have much more clarity in the definitions. I feel that returning a blank proforma because it has been entered as a page with no data is a trivial and time wasting exercise. I am one of those who believe that the absence of entries on a form makes it a page with no data. If “a page with no data” is intended to be a blank page it should be defined as such.

I apologise for using the word “sidekick”. I should have said deputy.

I thought the same thing when I watched the webinar – what hope have we (the keyers and arbitrators) got when the staff at Ancestry don’t agree how things should be keyed??

I would like to offer some suggestions for improvements which could be of benefit to everyone and create a index that is consistent, no matter who keys or arbitrates the images:
1) Ancestry decide on the keying guidelines before putting the project online for everyone to key/arbitrate. This should include how unusual items should be keyed;
2) The project specific articles should be more substantial in the first instance. They should highlight the idiosyncracies of the individual project and keying guidelines;
3) If there is a change in how things are keyed, this should be added to the “World Archives Project News”. Sometimes we only become aware of changes through the forum and to be honest, I don’t have the time to wade through all of the posts, but do refer to the “news” items that are specific to the projects I am keying.
It would appear at times that ancestry is in too much of a rush to get the projects moving that some of the background work is not being done.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the keying and will keep an eye out on ancestry for a project I enjoy…

I am so excited about the Illnois Naturalization Project as some of my ancesters lived there.

I would like to download program to my laptop so I can key projects while away from home for a week or more. Is this possible?

Wynnell Noelke

I have the same concern as Robert in question 6. I am keying easy naturalization cards from New England. However, Canadian provinces and cities are often written in the “Country of Allegiance” field. Do I correctly key what I see, or “Canada”, for Nova Scotia, Victoria, etc. Therefore, feedback on commonly appearing errors or specific guidelines for even the easy projects would be helpful.

I just became an arbitrator and I did watch the Webinar. It said about the resident state was not listed in the address leave it blank. If both keyers did key it in should the arbitrator leave it or change theirs to a blank? This is the same for the
home country and or state?