Keying Standards

We are making some changes to the keying standards.  As many of you who have been indexing for a while know this can be a little complicated as some projects will have different instructions than others.  The main premise for the changes is to move toward more “keying as seen.”

UPDATED: Periods – This little punctuation is much debated.  The keying of periods is optional.  Reviewers should accept entries with or without periods. (This is the final change.)

Location/Place – We are moving to key as seen as opposed to asking that city, county, state, etc be keyed with a comma in between.  If the the record shows Orange County, California it would be keyed “Orange County, California” and if the record showed Orange California it would be keyed as “Orange California”.

That’s all for now but we may be making additional changes in the coming months.

Happy indexing!


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that will make reviewing a lot easier and the accuracy rate should increase.

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Wow, that will certainly slow up typing lists of names like in the “Kansas” project!

You make a good point. Whether the period is there or not doesn’t matter as much, so long as there is a space between initials.

If you want to key without periods that is okay.

Can’t quite understand the logic of making periods the standard if no periods are acceptable.

Are these in effect immediately?

With regard to keying location as seen, does that include keying location sections out of order? For example, I’ve seen several railroad cards that have location as “Chicago Illinois Cook County” – would these be keyed as seen as well? Also, what about locations that include numbers (e.g. “Chicago 16, Ill”)?

this will make it a lot better for people like me who index places in America even though I live in England as we are not always sure of the abbreviations of all the States etc

no comma between Orange and California?

like snappy I too am based in the uk,searched on line and found a list of us states and abbreviations has them

Overall I think this is a good direction to move in. It probably will help those who are new to keying, since they tend to “key as seen” including periods despite what the project instructions say. Now that we can accept either with or without periods and commas, it will make reviewing faster since we likely won’t have to make as many “corrections.”

I think states should be written out. Abbreviations have changed over the years like PA, Penna, Penn ett. Also many towns appear in more than one state so the state should be keyed if it can be determined. What about age? Should we still calculate if it can be determined from the information provided?

I just finished keying a set for the Kansas, County census. When I keyed a period in the suffix of and entry, I had to F7 the entry to go on. Was I wrong to key the period? Do we have a similar problem when keying Prefixes?

These are all good comments, but no answers yet. I’m particularly interested in whether we should make changes when reviewing to the geographic locations, i. e. taking out the commas out of the Niagra Falls Honeymoon register. Some of these were keyed before this new change.

I apologize – I can’t recall where I answered the question about when the changes would take place.

All new projects will have updated instructions and older projects should be keyed according to the field helps. ( But reviewers can accept entries keyed either way – we have been doing this with periods for a while.)