This post is a follow up to my Relatively Speaking post of Monday March 29, 2010.
I made the statement, "I do not transcribe EVERYTHING on a doc.” Yep, I could hear all the purists groaning and moaning and thinking, well Carol, you have just lowered yourself in my opinion. Well, for that I am sorry, but, read on, understand my reasoning, then judge me.
TRY to balance my life, and my research. There are times for excesses, there are times to be downright lazy. Best is if you can come to some happy medium. Well, best for me, anyway.
So, when I say, I don’t transcribe every thing from a document, that is a balancing act. I do look at every single column or entry on each and every document, there are little hints hiding there folks! My job is to discover them.
I also realize that my time on this side is limited, my energies are limited by health, time and the sometimes need to sleep. So, I try to use that time wisely.
Balance this with knowing my audience. Say what?? My audience, as in who will really be looking at my data base and my sources and my transcriptions. My audience is, first, and mostly, MOI. My second audience are those that may eventually, now or in the future, access my data base via computer or hard cover published works.
I know me, I know that I have a shortness of patience to do full transcriptions of every document that I pull. There have been days when I pulled 30 or 40 documents from the internet, full imaged documents. How long do you really think it would take me to fully transcribe them?? Two days, three?? Knowing how well I type, and SLOW is the name of that game, it would probably take me a week to do a FULL transcription of 40 documents. OK, honestly, it would take a lot more than a week, cause life gets in there, dogs, laundry, meals, Man, family, etc. Do I really want to spend that much time transcribing, when I could be doing some more research?? Well, honestly, NOPE, not Moi!
Another issue that is important for Moi, is, can I duplicate the find, as in, have I sourced the information sufficiently that I can go back and find it again. I judge the quality of my sourcing and transcribing by this factor alone. Do I have enough information, yes, or no?? And, yes, I look at work I have done, and go, what is THIS?? So, I go fix it. Sometimes my work does NOT stand the test of time. My to do lists are notorious for not standing the test of time. I’m working on it tho!
Next audience will be of course, family and other researchers that will use my research, now or in the future. Lets get down and dirty about this folks, purists and others, how many of these users will be serious researchers, and the answer is, NOT MANY. How many will be family members who are interested in their ancestors, the answer is, more. How many of those family members casually flipping through your data base will really be interested in totally perfect sourcing and totally transcribed documents. Not many.
I have a bit of experience with this as I have published a couple of family histories. I know my audience there. Nice people, lovely people, people dear to my heart, but, they honestly just don’t care that much about perfect sourcing. They are not librarians (although I do have one or two of those in my audience), they are hard workers, busy people, short on time, who do not care to be bogged down in the minutia details of perfect transcriptions of every single document I have found. Seriously, they really don’t care if I have followed the best advice of “Evidence” or not. They do appreciate knowing where I got my information, but it is not the end all of end all for them. They really want to know the story, as in “just the facts mam”. (Besides, those full transcriptions sure can add to the number of pages if a family history is to be printed out, and they add pages quickly!) I believe, that the serious researchers that may use my data in the future will be able to re-create my documentation, I have that much faith in my sourcing.
Balance, not perfect. But, it works for me, and, as the Wild Ones frequently say, that is what counts!
* In comments on my original post, Greta suggested a great way to do transcriptions, thanks. And, also on the original post, GrannyPam suggested a free downloadable program for use in transcriptions, Anne loves it, and I know I am gonna love it too.
** "Reminder" graphic, from internet site, source information lost. Scale from clker.com
***And, NO, I am not always successful at that balancing act. Note I did say TRY! LOL
Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence.