How do we choose projects?

Recently the question of how we choose projects for the World Archives Project was posted on the message boards.

As we review projects that have been acquired by our Content Acquisitions team we review the contractual terms and decide how it should be indexed.  A few questions we ask that would qualify the project for being part of the World Archives Project are…

  1. Can the index be made free?
  2. Is there a set timeline for the index being available on Ancestry?
  3. What is the complexity and size of the project?

After answering these questions, we determine whether the project is a good candidate or not.  If the index cannot be free this disqualifies the project from being indexed by contributors. As you know the timing of projects is determined by the size of the project and how many contributors choose to index that project – so if we have a timeline in the contract that we feel we could not meet this also disqualifies the project.  Lastly, if the records are very difficult we may also choose to disqualify the project. (Do any of you recall our Swedish record test?)  Once we have determined that a project will be part of the World Archives Project we proceed forward with the project set-up and indexing.  (You may be interested in reading our article on The Life of a Project .)

This is how we choose the projects being indexed by you – how do you choose the projects you index?

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Reader Comments

Do you know when the 1950 US census will be released for indexing? That will be fun! I can’t wait to see my family on it!

Mary, Due to the 72 year rule, the 1950 census will be released in 2022. Ancestry currently has a 1950 Census Substitute database that is available to search,

I choose projects
1) that are written in English
2) preferably hand written
3) that have vital dates
Currently working on Massachusetts

I prefer to do those written in English as I don’t have a second language, although I did do and enjoy one Polish project.
I mainly concentrate on Australian projects as I enjoy trying to see records for my ancestors well before they are released to the public. That said I have worked on a number of English and US projects as well as a Canadian one early on. These are usually hand written as I like the challenge they can present.
Currently working on NSW Government Gazettes Pt 3 (having done parts 1 and 2 over about 5 or so years) and England Dreadnought Hospital Records.

I prefer to do those in English too, usually UK but also do some Australian and US records. I did try some German ones once and found my German wasn’t as good as I thought! However I really enjoyed having a go at records in French when we had some. Any chance of getting any in the future? Other than that I like to have a mix of records – handwritten Workhouse records are one favourite plus some typed easyish ones for when I’m feeling a bit of brain strain.

Type your comment here.
I only do those from UK as I feel that you contribute most when you understand names, places etc. I prefer handwritten the older the better, but typewritten ones are quicker to transcribe.

I also index for Family Search, but since my college degree was in French and Spanish, I always index foreign language projects for them. When I index here, it seems good to be able to index in English.

I generally choose projects from the UK, preferably older hand written ones rather than typed, although those are good for when I want to do something a bit less taxing. I loved the Quarter Session Orders from the 1600s and 1700s, and getting to grips with the “Latin” they used! Great fun, and beautiful to look at, too

Which census will be released electronicly? I was in the Air Force in 1970 and believe it was a fill in the square form. How was the 1960 handled?

I only choose Australia projects (SA, VIC, NSW) and maybe those from southern England (where I’ve lived and researched). Having tried other places, I know how hard it is to succeed at keying areas where one doesn’t know the local geography, language and culture. I’ve also seen the effects of this when reviewing those of others (eg UK/US keyers in Aus projects).
I prefer projects which give me stories, but this can be rare.

It’s great to hear from so many contributors. Our assumption was correct – generally contributors do index collections they are more familiar with. Thank you all for your continued support and contributions!