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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Experiment confirms New FamilySearch hypothesis

The following observations are not intended to be critical of the New FamilySearch program or its programmers. It appears, that despite their best efforts, the relatively unsophisticated users of the program do not understand or cannot follow the instructions and can thereby ignorantly produce extensive duplication.

Having observed thousands of Ordinance Cards printed from New FamilySearch, I suspected that the number of duplicates being processed was extremely high, despite claims that the program was having an impact on the number of duplicate ordinances being submitted. In a recent situation, a New FamilySearch user presented a stack of over fifty cards for processing. It was immediately evident to us that nearly all of the cards were requests for duplicate ordinances, that is, ordinances that had been performed previously.

From its inception, New FamilySearch was supposed to help avoid duplication of effort in the performance of Temple Ordinances. It was immediately apparent to me, at the time the program was first introduced, that there were a number of very simple ways some one using the program would end up with ordinance cards for work that had already been completed. As time passed, I was constantly aware that a significant amount of the work being done using New FamilySearch was far from original despite efforts by the programmers to discourage duplicates.

When we got the recent stack, we decided to see if my supposition or hypothesis that it was very easy to produce cards for duplicate work could be proved. So, one of my assistants took some of the cards and made copies and then returned the original cards to their owner. Later, using the copies we went into New FamilySearch and looked up each of the people for whom cards had been printed. Within seconds, by clicking on the "Find Duplicates" button, duplicate individuals for all of the cards were found and the records combined thus showing that the ordinances had already been performed. It was apparent that the user had made no effort at all to search for duplicates and had simply clicked on the green arrows and printed the Family Ordinance Request forms. However, we are not in a position to even comment to the user about the duplication.

In discussing this situation with the users, in a non-confrontational way, we do not believe that they are acting other than out of lack of knowledge of the existence of duplicates. Notwithstanding the multiple admonitions and warnings now built into New FamilySearch, a significant number of people are simply ignoring the warnings and proceeding to print Family Ordinance Requests that duplicate prior ordinance work. In discussing this situation with knowledgeable New FamilySearch sources, we understand that additional changes will be made to the program to enhance its ability to discourage duplication. If avoidance of duplication is a positive result, then the changes cannot come any too soon.

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