Beta tag removed – what now?

As some of you noticed, when we launched the latest version of the tool we also removed the beta tag from the project. This is exciting news as we are now ready to open up the project to the broader community and recruit more contributors. I am sure you will share our excitement in adding more contributors – the more keyers we have, the more historical records we can preserve and the more free indexes we can bring to the public. 

You, our beta contributors, have been invaluable in helping us shape and refine the keying tool. And your feedback will continue to help us improve the tool as we plan to keep making regular updates. We are committed to making the tool as easy and efficient as possible and look forward to working together with you to make this happen.

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Huzzah for an achieved milestone!

Now the tool has been shaped and refined lets all work toward improving project-specific examples and field help. This would include gathering all relavant project-specific message board information into one project-specific area for easy reference.

I assume that’s version If so, a lot of people still seem to be having problems getting it installed and running. Then there is the ever popular ctrl B problem which has resurfaced.

Is there a complete list of all the issues and recommended solution/work arounds anywhere?


I agree with Mitzi. It is very time consuming searching the message board for new fixes. PLEASE

I agree with Mitzi. Much more work needs to be done on the project specfic help fields.

I think that the linked ‘HELP’ fields should be updated regularly with all the problems/answered questions that keyers or arbitrators bring up.

An example is in the Andrew’s Cards where it states in the ‘help’ instructions that the name on the top of the card may be entered as the primary person or the father or the mother.

After keying or arbritating many thousands of records I reread the instructions and noticed that it did not mention that the name on the top of the card could be entered as the spouse, and suddenly had doubt about many entries where the name had been entered as the spouse.

Advice was finally received that the name on the top of the card could be entered as the spouse, BUT THE INSTRUCTION HAVE NOT BEEN CHANGED TO REFLECT THIS ADVICE.

If the help fields were regularly updated with more specific and detailed information it would not be necessary for established keyers or new keyers to have to keep reading all the ‘advice’ given in the information boards.

I for one do not know who the contributors are or whether to accept their advice as being what the staff at WAP want.

I HATE having to scroll through the community boards to fine the latest information or instructions for keying a project.

PLEASE, PLEASE update the help field with all the relevant instructions.

Margaret Parkes

You need to do more than just update the help field. You need have something like your start help pop-ups to let people know that the help field has been changed.

I agree with Mitzi, you need a better way to let people take advantage of the previous question and solutions.

Type your comment here.

I agree as well re the field helps. This is the one big weakness. You can be entering information accurately according to the field help but not realise the intructions have changed int he message boards.

Try to find the information in the message boards can be a nightmare as there are so many posting and if you search on keywords in the title you don’t find everything depending on what has been selected.

People will lose patience if they don’t get clear easy to follow instructions that don’t change every 5 minutes. I know there has been times when I want to give up cos I have got frustrated with the fact the information on the message boards contradicts the field help information.

It is always good to be working with a regular program, rather than a beta.

The best advice is to key what you see. Keying “rules” have to make sense and many don’t, especially when it comes to resident states. Surprise!! Chicago has always been in Illinois and Boston has always been in Massachusetts, others are just as obvious.

In cases while arbitrating databases, I find that some people are eager to get into the keying and make erros in typing and omission in their enthusiasm.

To me, accuracy counts more than a keying record. After all, this is a volunteer position and people sometimes have trouble checking their egos at the door.

Ever since I downloaded the new version, I get a “fatal error” on start up. Also, my stats haven’t changed any, so I’m wondering if the work I’ve been doing since the update is even going in.

This is just a small thing. In the drop down box when keying in the month, is it necessary to have both versions of the month? ie, Feb and February. It would be easier to have just the full month as that is what we have to key in.

I agree with all about the project specific help fields. There should be better examples. Instead of just showing a copy of the field on the card, below it, there should be an example of how it should look after keying it in (i.e., capitalization, punctuation, abbreviations). There should be more than one example where right and wrong data is in a field (example: the country of origin or allegiance may be England, Great Britian & Ireland, The King of Great Britian & Ireland, or maybe London).

Also, rules of standardization should be firmly established and adopted such as the spelling of months. When arbitrating, “Mar” and “March” do not match and the arbitor must choose. If both are acceptable, change the tool to match both. If they aren’t change the tool to accept only the proper one.

EVERY project needs clarification on help issues and devoting the time to set it up before releasing the project will cause better and more consistent data and less headaches for everyone!

I wish the Ctrl-B thing had been fixed (again) before rolling out to live. I’m keying in a Jacksonville Directory and had to blank out the name fields to enter several businesses in a row (approx 20). I had to quit in the middle and I just came back to it to find I had lost all of my business entries. I’m trying to re-key them before I submit it, but who knows if it will stick? If it doesn’t, it will either be hard to arbitrate, thrown out, or tear down my accuracy. It makes me want to avoid that project until its fixed. Very frustrating.

Also, I agree with Ron about the resident states. If the address line simply reads ‘Boston’ and the location of the court reads ‘Boston, Mass.’ I think one could make a reasonable assumption that it’s the same city of Boston in Massachusetts. Better more information than less.

It seems a strange time to be going fully live when it’s not actually working very well. I thought the whole point of beta-testing was to find and remove all the bugs before the general public got to use it.

I have a fried, Kathleen Dodge, who would like to help on this project. How does she get to join this project? Her e-mail address is

[…] March 11, 2009 we removed the Beta tag from the keying tool so we are now officially 4 years strong.  In the past four years we have […]