Step One: Read all project instructions, field helps, and project updates for the project you are planning to arbitrate.
If you aren’t familiar with the project, you shouldn’t arbitrate it. The easiest way to get familiar with the project is to read everything the indexer should have read and to index a few batches of that project to be sure you understand what the indexer was asked to transcribe.
FamilySearch cannot always anticipate questions that may arise with a project before it is available for indexing. This is why the project updates page is so important.
Project updates may occur frequently with new projects. Even if you read the project updates a week ago, you should review them again. A link to the Project Updates page can be found at the top and the bottom of the Project Instructions tab within the indexing application for each batch you download.
Step Two: Record match before you begin arbitrating your batch. Record matching is used to make sure the recorded names from the A indexer and the B indexer line up correctly. Skipping this step could lead to lost arbitration work.
Need a refresher course on record matching? Check out these training links:
- Arbitration Tutorial: http://broadcast.lds.org/elearning/FHD/Local_Support/FamilySearchIndexing/EN/Arbitration/Lesson2/index.html
- Record Matching Guided Demonstration: http://broadcast.lds.org/elearning/FHD/Local_Support/FamilySearchIndexing/EN/Arbitration/MatchRecords/MatchRecords.htm
Step Three: Don’t try to arbitrate records in a language you don’t speak or read well.
We have a global community of indexers and arbitrators working together. We’re all here to help each other with our different areas of expertise. The good news is there are over 150 projects available for indexing and arbitrating. If there isn’t an arbitration batch available in a language you know, switch to indexing for a while. Or, if you want to participate in another language, start by getting trained by a qualified individual who is familiar with the project, and index a batch with him or her helping you. You can make a difference whether you index or arbitrate.
Without your efforts as an indexer and arbitrator, none of these records would be searchable online. By mastering these three simple steps, you will not only become a better arbitrator, but you will help to ensure a quality index for current and future researchers to find their ancestors.