More than 730 subscribers today #lithuania
Today, we have more than 730 subscribers to our mailing list - The LitvakSIG
Home Page <http://www.jewishgen.org/litvak/> is expanding each day and has
hosted almost 24,000 visits since its inception December 6, 1998 - and my
mailbox this morning contained Digest #648. How many of you remember this
message on June 15, 1997?
<<Subj: -Operational Test-
Date: 97-06-15 07:30:23 EDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bernard Kouchel)
To: LitvakSIG@mail.jewishgen.org (Multiple recipients of list LitvakSIG)
If you received a copy of this test message, then you are a subscriber to the
LITHUANIAN SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP (LitvakSIG).
Send postings to: <LitvakSIG@mail.jewishgen.org> (the SIG discussion group
Sometimes, in the "day to day" running of the SIG, we get so immersed in the
details of each project that we tend to lose sight of the overall picture.
Today, I decided to sit back and reflect a little on the project which has
obsessed me >from day one!
The "All Lithuania" database is still growing. We are processing more than
500 sets of records - thanks to more than 60 inputters and data donors. You
can find the names of these wonderful volunteers at
If you have volunteered to input data for the "All Lithuania" database, and
have not heard back >from us yet, do not despair. You WILL be contacted. It's
been trial and error - always so with a completely new concept - and the
long delays which have taken place were because what we are trying to do is so
unique and difficult. When we submitted our first 16,000 records to Michael
Tobias, the JewishGen webmaster, he realized that his search engine would need
to be modified, and we learned that we had to make changes in the way we had
entered data or it was lost or changed in strange ways. Templates were
created for each of the unique types of records that we were entering. For
instance, within revision lists entire households are presented together, and
we needed to have the ability to keep these so. Most of the kinks have been
worked out, and although we may sound like a broken record, more than 50,000
records are in the pipeline, and new towns are finished literally every day
and are ready for the database.
The process works like this:
Two additional copies are made of all records received by us - so that each
co-coordinator and the uyezd project coordinator has a copy for safekeeping.
A translator checks the records to be sure that all pages that should have
been sent are included. Sometimes, we have to ask for missing pages, or for
replacement pages for poor photocopies.
The translated copy comes to me in electronic format, and if fields need to be
rearranged by "cutting and pasting" or additional information is entered, I
send instructions to each "inputter" concerned. The volunteer "inputter"
studies the translation for consistency - especially spelling of names which
appear in the same town but are spelled differently, adds the name of spouses,
and (in terms of the Revision Lists) the relationship to the head of
household. These important and tedious steps require careful attention to
details such as "how could this person be someone's mother and only be 10
These possible problems are highlighted and sent to whomever is playing the
proofing role, to go over with the translator. But the inputters make errors
themselves too. We find that about a 2% - 3% error rate made by inputters who
are working in English but are not necessarily experienced with data entry.
When errors are pointed out, they are either corrected, or confirmed that was
how the recording clerk wrote it (eg. sometimes two brothers spelled their
Discussing apparent inconsistencies, or clarifying the meaning of statements
in the comments field has proved very important and the database is much
better because of all of this work which is invested in it. However, even
with the best plans and supervision, we are all human and mistakes do find
their way into the system. When the uyezd coordinator reviews the proofed
data, I then forward it to Anne Rothman, who prepares it for Michael Tobias.
We are working on a data flow traffic chart for our home page, and although
only those who have contributed to the purchase of records or provided input
have had a "sneak preview" of this exciting data, we look forward to
presenting it on our website in the very near future.
Davida Noyek Handler