If You Scan It, They Will Come

If You Scan It, They Will Come

It’s December, and the records are piling up like snowdrifts in my office. As one who digitizes records for me, my family, and for Kindex, I’ve experienced the cyclical nature of scanning. Like laundry, scanning is never really done. With new records being created or found every day, it the waves of scanning will continue. But if scanning comes in waves, December is a tsunami—the photo above revealing just a few of my ongoing scanning projects.

November and December are times of gratitude and gift-giving. Such times generate a need for both a remembrance of our past and view toward a future where nothing will be lost. It is with these emotions that records find a way to my door. How it happens is a phenomenon worthy of another post on the interplay of dumb luck and divine intervention. Like the cars that stretch for miles in the closing scene of the movie Field of Dreams, the records find their way here.

 

The other day I was musing about all the records I’ve scanned, and while I’m determined to learn exactly how many records I’ve digitized, my top-of-the-head estimate is at least 60,000. I say this not to boast, but rather as a consolation for the times I wonder if all my efforts will make a difference—to Kindex, to my family, and to history. Surely on one of those 60,000 pages is the face of one otherwise doomed to be lost, the words of an ancestor that will be read for the first time. Surely this hope is enough to get me through this next batch, and then the next one. 

Maybe when I die my children can create a baseball card of sorts, with a nod to my final numbers. I know, they are just papers. But to me, they have life. The rustlings are the breath of my ancestors; the ink and paper were in their hands. They bent over them, writing by lamplight. They laughed and wept, holding them. They carried them in their pockets, and hid them in their secret places. Like Norman McLean in A River Runs Through It, I am likewise haunted by the words of the past:

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.” 

 


December Software Update

December Software Update

New Features

We are please to announce the release of several new features designed to improve your Kindex experience.

Breadcrumbs

We have added breadcrumbs to help users navigate through their archives. You will find breadcrumbs on the following pages:

1. Search Results Page

 2. Read Page

3. Indexing Page

On the indexing page, users can click on a Collection in the breadcrumb to return to that location on the main record page.

Search Result Context

When viewing search results, we’ve included more words preceding the search result match to provide more context in the search result. Prior to this change, the search result match was the first word shown.

Transcription Text Editor Tools

In our transcription tool text editor, we’ve expanded tools available to include the following:

  • Indent
  • Outdent
  • Bullets
  • Numbering
  • Alignment
  • Link
  • Code view

Spreadsheet to Table Conversion

We’ve added a plug-in to our transcription text editor to support the converstion of spreadsheets to tables within the text editor. When a user copies data from a spreadsheet outside of Kindex, and pastes it within the Kindex transcription text editor, the spreadsheet will convert to a table in Kindex. This feature supports both Google Sheets and Excel.

 

 

 

Bug Fixes & Upgrades

Kindex Rewards

There have been a few instances of Kindex Archive owners not receiving their $5 credit. We have made adjustments in our tracking and rewards code that have rectified this issue. Please note the following:

Rewards are tracked and earned by your billing period, not calendar month. For example, if your billing period is the 15th to the 15th of the month, you (or a collaborator working in your archive) will need to complete indexing on 20 or more records between that time period to receive the credit.

If you believe your archive should have received a credit, please contact us. For more information, see Kindex Rewards.

Expanded Character Allowance for Transcription Editor

We recently migrated the mySQL object of transcription from TEXT (maximum 65,000 characters) to MEDIUM TEXT (maximum 16, 700, 000 ). This upgrade allows users to write or paste in transcriptions longer that 65,000 characters.

Additional Fixes

  1. Fixed a bug that prevented Kindexers from accessing the upgrade forms via the “Get my own archive” link
  2. Fixed a bug that caused the transcription text editor buttons to wrap and cover up the first line of the transcription field
  3. Fixed a bug that affected our FamilySearch Memory imports

Tagging Features. We will be making some enhancements to our tagging features, including person list editing and tagging. In order to implement these updates, we will be temporarily removing access to our tagging tool beginning on August 1, 2018, and restored as soon as the features are up and running.

Record Uploads. A small number of users have experienced errors when uploading large batches of records. This can occur when a user navigates away from their Kindex screen during the upload process. Users can avoid this issue by staying on the same screen during record uploads. We will advise when this bug is fixed.

How Can We Help?

Is there a feature you would like to see? Are you experiencing a bug? Do you need support or traning? Let us know how we can help!

New Kindex Archive Plans

CLOUD PUBLIC ARCHIVE
Share & Index Publicly
Unlimited records
Unlimited Collaborators
$5
/MONTH
$0/month with Kindex Rewards
CLOSET PRIVATE ARCHIVE
Invite-only
Unlimited records
Unlimited collaborators
$10
/MONTH
$5/month with Kindex Rewards
ARCHIVE JUMP START
Get a searchable archive fast with a custom scanning & archive bundle!
Starts at
$199
1-Year Cloud or Closet Archive
+ Scanning

Rescue Your Records

Make your records accessible and searchable with Kindex archival software. Whether you are a family, organization, or society, you can gather, index, and search your letters, journals, photos, and other documents in a private or public archive.

Earn Rewards

You deserve some credit for rescuing records! For every 20 records indexed indexing in your Kindex archive, you’ll get a $5 credit toward your next month’s subscription. That means your Kindex archive could be FREE! Learn more

Kindex Archive Features

CLOUD ARCHIVE CLOSET ARCHIVE
Privacy Public Private
Searchable and accessible via search engines Yes No
Archive search Anyone Owners & Collaborators
Indexing Owners, Collaborators, and Guests
(Guests: Kindexer/Cloud/Closet account)
Owners & Collaborators
Adding records Owners & Collaborators Owners & Collaborators
Deleting records Owners Owners
Single record downloads Owners, Collaborators, and Guests Owners & Collaborators
Public archive links to single records Yes Yes
Custom subdomain Yes
Archive size Unlimited records (JPG, PNG, PDF under 15MB)
Collaborators Unlimited
Record metadata Yes
 Batch record metadata Yes
Batch record uploads Yes
Record transcription Yes
Record tagging Yes
Crowdsourced transcription Yes
Print record to PDF Yes
Searchable transcription and metadata Yes
Support and Training Free

Indexing Hugs & Kisses

Indexing Hugs & Kisses

How about a few hugs & kisses? One of our favorite letters in our grandmother’s Kindex archive is one she wrote when she was just nine years old. Written while Dorothy’s mother June was out of town for an extended period working on a medical certification, it’s the earliest letter we have. In Dorothy’s letter to her mother, it reveals details about her childhood that are both mundane and fascinating: clothes she crocheted for her doll, fun things she was doing to prepare for Halloween, and good reports on her piano lessons and school quizzes. She closes her letter with an endearing chart of hugs and kisses to be applied to specific recipients.

While the hugs and kisses were a little tricky to index, we are treated to a wonderful snapshot of who Dorothy was as a child: smart, affectionate, and playful. We count the hugs and kisses and see that Dorothy esteemed Aunt Mary high enough to send her the same amounts of hugs and kisses that she sent her mother. Reading this now is like receiving a virtual hug and kiss from the past: a gift of affection and greater understanding.

Dorothy dressed as a fairy at about the same age she wrote this letter.

This letter plays an important role in not just Dorothy’s life narrative, but the narratives of her parents, Louis, and Aunt Mary. Stepping back even further, Dorothy’s papers as a whole—if transcribe and tagged—will have an expansive influence, reaching hundreds of additional people, adding citable sources for hundreds of places and events, and marking time with thousands of dates.

The influence of primary source records is key to providing rich details to our family history. Trees can’t stand alone in our body of research. We must digitize and share our historical records through indexing and create content-based resources. Through the ability to connect with our primary sources through transcriptions, markup and tagging, we create accessible, searchable sources for our families.

Indexing shouldn’t be a tool reserved for official records or the so-called historically important. Building narrative genealogies through indexing the letters, journals and papers of everyday people is a key step to adding the depth and dimension we yearn for in our ancestors.

See the original letter and transcript on smith-clark.kindex.org

Do you have family letters to index? Start your own searchable family archive on Kindex for just $5/month.

Hoarder to Order Part III: Prepare to Rescue

Hoarder to Order Part III: Prepare to Rescue

Kindex Co-founder Cathy Gilmore presented “Hoarder to Order: a Step-by-Step Family Record Rescue” at RootsTech 2018. This presentation examines why records are at risk, discusses obstacles to family record preservation, and gives a step-by-step overview of how record-keepers can rescue their family records. We will be sharing excerpts from her presentation on the Kindex blog.  

Part I: Am I my Brothers (Record) Keeper?

Part II: A Family Record Risk Assessment


Now that we’ve discussed the important role of record-keepers, and what risk factors help us prioritize our record rescue, we are finally ready to begin a record rescue in earnest. Put very broadly, here are the basic steps of the record rescue.

Before a single record is gathered, scanned, or indexed, we must prepare for the rescue by asking a few important questions. The first: What is your Why?

Establishing your “why” is a crucial step, because it’s a reason you will turn to again and again. Record rescuers will face countless challenges, face adversity, and experience burnout (and that’s just the first week!). Your “why”” will inspire you and others stay focused on the goal more than a “what” ever could.

Knowing your “why” will help you visualize what you want to have happen as a result of your record rescue. Your “why” can be specific or broad, tangible or intangible. Here are some examples:

  • “I want my family to know who my grandmother was”
  • “I want to ensure my Great-Grandfather’s influence will be felt for generations”
  • “I want to help future researchers and historians”
  • “I want my father to be remembered”
  • “I want to change the hearts of my family”
 


Now that you’re thinking about your “why”, let’s also think about the “what”. The “what” is the scope of your record rescue. Your scope should answer these questions:

Who?    Which?    What?    When?

In other words:

  • Whose records are we rescuing?
  • Which records are included?
  • What are we doing to the records?
  • When will we complete it?

For example:

  • We are scanning grandma’s love letters by Christmas! (not photos, not greeting cards, not family letters)
  • We are gathering all of the family records pertaining to Aunt Betty before she moves into her new home.

Advice on Scope

  1. Start small. You wouldn’t climb a mountain pulling a mountain of 15 boxes, but you could take a backpack. That’s actually a good rule of thumb: can you fit your record rescue in a backpack? If the answer is no, consider paring down the scope into something with reasonable, reachable boundaries.
  2. If possible, separate records based on record type. For example, rescuing grandma and grandpa’s love letters is easier when you don’t include t photos, slides, and diaries. The more record types you have, the more complex your project will be, especially during the scanning and preservation stages.
  3. Show success early and often. Keep your family engaged in the rescue by updating them on your progress and sharing records on social media.

 

In addition to knowing our “why” and “what”, there is one more step in our record rescue preparation: enlisting help. Stay tuned for our next installment where we discuss ways to engage your family in the rescue.

September Software Update for Archive Owners

September Software Update for Archive Owners

Here’s what we’ve been up to this September to improve your Kindex experience.

New Kindex Content & Features

We updated our Featured Archive Page to contain links to help Kindexers get started, upgrade their plan, and learn more about our featured archives. We also fixed issues that were causing the Featured Archive page to load slowly.

New Transcription Paste Feature

We upgraded our transcription field to allow indexers to paste in text directly from Word, Excel, Google Docs, and Google Sheets. Content from spreadsheets will automatically convert to a table within the transcription editor.

Bug Fixes

  1. Resolved issue with content loading into an upgrade modal
  2. Resolved issue with new users receiving a blank Welcome Email
  3. Fixed FamilySearch Memory Import function

Known Issues

There have been isolated instances of Kindex Rewards credit not being appropriately applied. Please contact us if you have experienced this.

Tagging Features. We will be making some enhancements to our tagging features, including person list editing and tagging. In order to implement these updates, we will be temporarily removing access to our tagging tool beginning on August 1, 2018, and restored as soon as the features are up and running.

Record Uploads. A small number of users have experienced errors when uploading large batches of records. This can occur when a user navigates away from their Kindex screen during the upload process. Users can avoid this issue by staying on the same screen during record uploads. We will advise when this bug is fixed.

Kindex Plan Migration

We are in the final stages of migrating all Freemium users to our new plans. To retain their archives, users must upgrade to our Cloud or Closet plans. Or, they may downgrade to a Kindexer plan, which does not include a personal archive. Users wishing to temporarily deactivate their archive should downgrade to Kindexer.

Archive Deactivation. Archive owners may now deactivate their archives by downgrading to a Kindexer plan. When a user downgrades to Kindexer, their archive is inactive and unavailable to the archive owner and its collaborators. The archive can be reactivated by changing the user plan to a Closet or Cloud Archive plan. After the upgrade to Cloud or Closet, archive access is restored. Learn more.

Account Migration to new Plans. Kindex Account migration is currently underway. All “Freemium” users will now see a popup after login that directs them to update their archive plan. Users must update to Kindexer, Cloud, or Closet Plans by July 31, 2018.
Learn more about account migration. 

Learn more about our new Cloud and Closet plans
.

How Can We Help?

Is there a feature you would like to see? Are you experiencing a bug? Do you need support or traning? Let us know how we can help!

New Kindex Archive Plans

CLOUD PUBLIC ARCHIVE
Share & Index Publicly
Unlimited records
Unlimited Collaborators
$5
/MONTH
$0/month with Kindex Rewards
CLOSET PRIVATE ARCHIVE
Invite-only
Unlimited records
Unlimited collaborators
$10
/MONTH
$5/month with Kindex Rewards
ARCHIVE JUMP START
Get a searchable archive fast with a custom scanning & archive bundle!
Starts at
$199
1-Year Cloud or Closet Archive
+ Scanning

Rescue Your Records

Make your records accessible and searchable with Kindex archival software. Whether you are a family, organization, or society, you can gather, index, and search your letters, journals, photos, and other documents in a private or public archive.

Earn Rewards

You deserve some credit for rescuing records! For every 20 records indexed indexing in your Kindex archive, you’ll get a $5 credit toward your next month’s subscription. That means your Kindex archive could be FREE! Learn more

Kindex Archive Features

CLOUD ARCHIVE CLOSET ARCHIVE
Privacy Public Private
Searchable and accessible via search engines Yes No
Archive search Anyone Owners & Collaborators
Indexing Owners, Collaborators, and Guests
(Guests: Kindexer/Cloud/Closet account)
Owners & Collaborators
Adding records Owners & Collaborators Owners & Collaborators
Deleting records Owners Owners
Single record downloads Owners, Collaborators, and Guests Owners & Collaborators
Public archive links to single records Yes Yes
Custom subdomain Yes
Archive size Unlimited records (JPG, PNG, PDF under 15MB)
Collaborators Unlimited
Record metadata Yes
 Batch record metadata Yes
Batch record uploads Yes
Record transcription Yes
Record tagging Yes
Crowdsourced transcription Yes
Print record to PDF Yes
Searchable transcription and metadata Yes
Support and Training Free