Cataloguing in Gippsland

Musings of a Cataloguer at Large in Gippsland. Just personal thoughts - absolutely no bearing on the thoughts of any organisation with which I am working.

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Location: Victoria, Australia

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sharing data

Many years ago, I started to type the baptisms from a local minister into an XL spreadsheet, but gave up when I couldn't read the writing well enough to be satisfied with the accuracy.

Recently I picked them up again, and realised it was really, really old work. From before the issue of the Victorian indexes to births, deaths and marriages. Suddenly I had a way to cross-check the data. So I was up and at it - there were 498 in there when I started it again, and 1,400 have now been entered in the finished index. But I am still cross-checking the early work.

So what are the issues? Where do I lodge it? The moment anything digital leaves your hands, it is certain-sure that someone will copy it, and everyone will then have it. Does that matter? I wasn't aiming to make any money from it. But again - it goes back to respect, where people feel they have a right to stick a flash drive into a computer when no-one is looking, and acquire whatever they can, there is a lack of respect for the work. But then again, in the words of Spencer from Maffra - "We are here to help people".

Now, if they had something of equal value they were prepared to swap, it may be another matter.

The other, more positive issue? I have been doing a little work with importing from spreadsheets into InMagic, and this index lends itself to a new little database. Which would allow me to sort and manage the data so much better. And add further information about the families. Maybe if I did that, and was only prepared to hand it over as an InMagic database (with the Runtime reader), it would encourage more people to learn how to use a wonderful program. And stop it being handed out to all and sundry.

But then, we are here to share information, aren't we? Is it right to build barriers?

And it is a wonderful database. From 1865 to 1915, with the Minister dying suddenly on a train home to celebrate fifty years of ministry in what was then described as North Gippsland. Lots of children in there where I cannot find them (well, under those details) in Victorian registrations.


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