FamilySearch Wiki:WikiProject Waypointing
Waypointing is a process used to group images together according to locality, record type, and year range in preparation for online publication. The Waypointing process creates a browse structure allowing users to focus their search to a single place and time. Waypointing is, in essence, a digital microfilm reader, allowing patrons of FamilySearch access to many images that they would otherwise have to access at a Family History Library on microfilm.
Waypointing is a way of describing images in less detail than Indexing, allowing Waypointing to publish images online using fewer resources. While creating a detailed index is the ultimate goal for all images, it will take years before all projects that need to be indexed can be completed. Waypointing allows the publication of many images that will not be indexed in the near future. Eventually, all images that are waypointed will be indexed as well.
Publishing records in their original context can be helpful as well. It allows patrons to look at the pages surrounding the record they were searching for, often leading to additional discoveries. For example, finding an ancestor’s baptismal record is helpful, but being able to look at other baptisms that happened at the same church a few years before and after that ancestor’s baptism could lead to the discovery of previously unknown relatives who lived in the same parish.
Waypointing often assists indexing projects by completing fields that are held in common across multiple images. For example, if a book of records all come from the same parish, Waypointing can fill in the parish name for all of the images, preventing the necessity of an indexer typing in the parish name for each entry.
When a Waypointer treats a digital folder, they use Waypoint Markers to group the images together. Waypoint Markers are the first and last few images of a natural grouping, usually an individual book of records. The Markers identify the locality and record type of the group of images, and usually provide the year range. Because the year range for a group of images is provided by the Markers, and not all of the images in a group are examined, the year range should be considered the first and the last year found in the group. Not all of the years between may be found in that group. Focusing on the Waypoint Markers allows each project to be completed in a very short time frame, as little as one day and rarely exceeding two months.
There are several limits to what the Waypointing tool can do. First, the Waypointing tool is not designed to describe the anomalies found within projects. For example, if a single page in a book of marriages has a single entry of baptisms, there is a good chance that the waypointer will not find that anomaly. It is expected that as the records are used, patrons will note the anomaly on the Family Search Wiki. Then, when the project is indexed, the anomaly will be identified and described.
A second limit to the process is found in the requirement of a greater level of standardization and simplification of record types and localities. Indexed record types and localities can be linked together, allowing a search for baptisms to bring up indexed documents with record types of Baptisms, Baptisms of Infants, Baptisms of Adults, Baptisms of Slaves, and so on. Because Waypointing creates the links in a browse structure, each unique spelling of a place and each variation of describing the record type creates a different, independent group, and shows up in the final product online. Having groups of Baptisms, Baptisms of Infants, Baptisms of Adults, Baptisms of Slaves, and so on, can complicate a project, and divide it into so many groups that it loses usability. Waypointing seeks to avoid this type of complication by creating standardized spellings of a project’s localities, and a standardized list of record types. This way, any type of Baptism falls under the standardized Baptism record type. Deaths, Burials, Interments, and so on, become Burials. This applies to other record types and also to localities.
Perhaps the biggest current limit to the process is our inability to correct errors found after publication. The time and resources required to remove the project from the internet, return it to the Waypointing team, fix the problems, and resubmit the project are too great to justify fixing minor errors. There is currently an effort to create a web-based tool for Waypointing to use, which may enable minor published mistakes to be fixed without having to remove the whole project from Record Search.
Waypointing is still a new process. It has been around for only a few years. It has taken time to define and refine the process, and there are ongoing efforts to improve it. Many of the problems that can be found in the earliest projects have been identified and repaired in subsequent projects.
To find projects that have been Waypointed, go to [www.familysearch.org/ https://www.familysearch.org/]. Beneath the search area there is a list of regions under the heading Browse by Location. By browsing the record collections, users can find all of the projects that have been posted on the Beta site. Projects that have been indexed, or are in the process of being indexed will list the number of records in the project, while projects that have been published without being indexed will have Browse Images. Some Waypointed projects are already in the process of being indexed, so they will not have the notice next to them. Waypointed projects that are being indexed will have an option to browse through the images under the search criteria for the project.
The Waypointing team has recently started accepting volunteers. Waypointing projects come from all over the world in a variety of languages. Projects are divided into folders, which can usually be completed in 10-15 minutes. Waypointing is fun and rewarding. There is no minimum time that is required to be a Waypointing volunteer. Most volunteers dedicate 2-4 hours in a week, though more hours a week are always welcome. Volunteers get to work on complete sets of records, usually whole record books, instead of isolated pages. It’s fast and easy to sign up, and those interested can start right away. Through Waypointing, volunteers will help increase the number of records available on FamilySearch, helping to increase accessibility to important genealogical resources.
Anyone interested in learning more about becoming a Waypointing Volunteer can contact Bradley Marchant at: firstname.lastname@example.org