Yesterday I contacted my Group Administrator for FamilySearch Indexing and asked to become an arbitrator for the 1940 census indexing project. There are a few reasons I decided to take the plunge and I thought I’d share them. Perhaps you will be inspired to become an arbitrator as well.
Reason #1 – Message from the Group Administrator
I believe it was last week, I received an email from the Group Administrator giving us an update on the 1940 indexing project. At the end of the email was a gentle plea for arbitrators. I made a mental note and moved on with my day.
Reason #2 – Arbitrator Series of Blog Posts
Over the last week, I had seen several blog posts on the FamilySearch Blog on the topic of arbitration. In one of those posts they explained that they had a backlog of keyed material awaiting arbitration. Basically, there was plenty of indexing going on, but not enough arbitration. The way I took the message was, keep indexing (sincerely appreciated and keep up the good work!!), but also think about arbitrating. So, I thought about it.
Reason #3 – Curiosity
I’ve never arbitrated any of the indexing projects, in part because, truth be told, I wasn’t doing much in the way of indexing (just a few batches here and there). So I really didn’t know what it was like for the person on the other side of the coin, being presented with two sets of keyed entries and trying to determine which, if either, was right. The only way I was going to know this, and understand the job of an arbitrator, was to become one.
Last night, after taking all three reasons into account, I decided to take a break from indexing and review the information on arbitration and becoming an arbitrator. I viewed the tutorial and made the decision to become an arbitrator.
For those who are considering becoming an arbitrator, I found the following blog posts helpful, mainly because they were more conversational as opposed to instructional, and therefore, a little less intimidating.
- Now is Not the Time to Get Cold Feet About Arbitration!
- Ten Commandments for Arbitrators
- What “Final” Really Means
This morning, I received an email back from the Group Administrator saying that I am now an arbitrator. I immediately logged in and checked it out. I arbitrated six batches in about thirty minutes. Fortunately there weren’t any record match issues (that is, the records were lined up and in the correct order), so it was really just a matter of “fixing” the differences between the keyed entries. Most were easy, but there were a few zingers in there where I had to stop and really look at and study the handwriting (which is no different when I index) and then make a decision. I believe there were two instances were I felt neither was correct and therefore added my own value.
I of course will continue to index, but when I need a change of pace, or need to give my wrists a break, I can arbitrate as well.
To learn more about indexing and arbitration, plan to attend an upcoming webinar from FamilySearch.