Out-of-the-Box Indexing Goals and Activities

May 7, 2020  - by 
Group of friends indexing under a tree.

Have you ever set a goal to index a certain number of records? Or organized a group around a specific indexing project?

Many indexing groups around the world have made astounding contributions to the searchable records on FamilySearch.org as they have made and reached their indexing goals. But using number goals as an incentive isn’t the only way to index! Every record indexed can help someone somewhere learn about family. No matter how many records you index, your contribution makes a difference.

If indexing is not about the numbers, how do you do indexing as a group? While some group members might be motivated by reaching a numeric indexing goal, group organizers should consider that not everyone will be. For some, numbers can be tedious or intimidating. A reliance on numbers can also create an urgency to index quickly rather than accurately.

What follows are a few fun ideas for getting group members excited about indexing—ideas that don’t rely on charts, graphs, or a number.

Not sure what an indexing group is?

Learn what they are, how to join one, and how to create a group.

1. Share fun or unique things you find.

Historical records are about people, and people are fascinating. Can you find a unique name, an occupation, or an interesting fact inside the record you are indexing? Share with your group via messaging or in a group gathering.

Youth indexing with family and sharing what they've found.

2. Get to know the places on historical records.

Are you indexing a record from Minas Gerais, Brazil or Florence, Italy? Learn about the food, names, culture, or history of these places. You could even hold a themed activity.

3. Work in small support teams.

Have you ever thought an indexing project was intimidating or worried your entries were off? Try working on it with a partner! Have one person type the information while another uses the internet to double-check spellings for names and locations. This group process can increase the quality of the index, and it might help you interpret hard-to-read records.

Group of people indexing in a team.

4. Center your goals on learning something new.

Instead of setting number goals, each person can learn to index a new type of record, a record from another part of the world, and so on. You can brainstorm ideas together and then look at help resources on FamilySearch.org, the FamilySearch Research Wiki, and elsewhere on the internet.

5. Challenge each member of your group to teach someone how to index.

As a group, try teach someone else to index, and then share your experiences. Did anyone new join your group as a result of the challenge? Now that’s a successful activity!

6. Invite group members to share an indexing story.

Indexing stories could be about an inspiring moment while indexing, the story behind how a person got started, or simply about how indexing has brought joy or satisfaction to group members’ day-to-day life. It’s possible that not everyone has something to share, but even a single story might be fun for the whole group to hear.

Gentleman sharing an indexing story with a group.

7. Invite group members to give a mini-lesson on indexing.

This short lesson could be on an indexing technique or something they have learned. Much of what a person knows about indexing can be learned by trial and error. Is there a way to help someone new to indexing avoid these errors?

8. Learn how to index in another language.

If you have group members with experience in another language or who can dedicate time to online learning, indexing in another language could be a fun challenge. Go to the Language Resources page, and choose a language from the drop-down list. Be sure to study these resources and the language carefully to make your entries as accurate as possible.

9. Explore different ways to keep in touch

Social connections can make for a great indexing experience, but what this looks like may be different for every group. Whether you chat via Facebook or WhatsApp, hop on a video call, or text back and forth while indexing, those connections can really make a difference.

Snacks and food on a table.

Let the Fun Begin

So here’s your challenge. Pick an idea. See how it goes. Spend an evening having fun with indexing and discussing its joys without worrying too much about statistics. Don’t talk about numbers. Talk instead about how indexing makes people feel, and focus on the reasons why each of you loves indexing. Each record you enter is helping someone somewhere get one step closer to family—creating connections that might have been much more difficult without your help.

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  1. This is a timely article! Thank you. I also noticed that the link to the FamilySearch Research Wiki, works fine but is terribly outdated. It was last updated in 2017 just around the time that the new Web Indexing program came out. The articles are mostly for the old Desktop indexing program which is longer functional. Perhaps someone should be either updating the articles?

  2. Working in projects and in development, what enriches a product is the level of reports that a tool can provide.
    A few simple examples, the missionaries have goals, number of talks, number of contacts, hours of study, number of baptisms, attendance at meetings of new friends. In the chapels are counted the assistances, primary, Young Men and Women, JAS, Relief Society, Quorum of Elders. Stoker talks…. And we can list a lot (this is measured with numbers).
    I do not share that some people see this work as a competition or seek adrenaline, nor should we NOT harm those who do perform this service with the best intention.

    We can remember what happened to Abraham when the Lord sent the 2 angels to destroy the cities, what do we learn? If there were a certain number of people of good intention, the Lord would not harm them for love of them.

    I beg and invoke that they give us the tools to work and help in this work.
    Other idea. If they have detected people who index wildly and do not do it in the best way, the batches with more than 2 errors are not considered in their favor and perhaps this will make them reflect. (They can do this by giving reviewers this option.)

    Any extreme or exaggerated does not lead to good.
    Our actions must be measured by the good things and not by the wrong things.

    1. As a reviewer I have to say that it is a rare batch that does not have two or more errors in it. It would be helpful if there were a way to let an indexer know when they repeatedly make the same error.

  3. I used to set goals for each indexer and follow up with them to assist in any way and to motivate their activity. They appreciated my calls and feed back. In the last two months we did more indexing than the ward in the last year. They often would question my goal as to being too low. This was an excellent motivation tool.

    1. Hi Linda Montsion,
      In a nutshell, when we scan or photograph anything, the result is an image. Even if there is writing, a computer cannot interpret it the same way humans interpret. You are now reading this sentence. When a computer reads it, the computer realizes it is text. But “text” in a photograph, no matter how plain to a human, is till only an image to the computer. It takes a human to read it then type (like I’m doing now) what the image says. In the digitizing world, that’s called “indexing” because a search engine can recognize each word we type whereas it cannot do so while deciphering an image of handwritten text.

      1. If an image with clear definable text on it is scanned and made into a pdf file format, Adobe read and write software can make that scanned image searchable by indexing programs.

  4. Esta bien que no anoten los datos de cuanto indexo o reviso cada miembro del grupo, pero si es muy util saber el comportamiento de los indexados y revisados por barrio, lo que nos permitira motivar a los integrantes de nuestros grupos a seguir teniendo experiencias positivas al indexar o revisar, ahora bien esto nos a obligado a mantenernos mas unidos ya que establecimos un informe semanal en el cual cada grupo por medio de su administrador o con la ayuda del Líder de la Obra en el Templo e Historia Familiar, recopilan la información personal y semanal motivando a sus propios integrantes y animan a otros a unirse, solicito que se continue informando los registros indexados y revisados por barrio, no solamente los totales, cada grupo tiene su propia meta, gracias por su atención

  5. El recogimiento de Israel del otro lado del velo bendice nuestra vida y el participar en la Obra nos acerca mas al Salvador

    Spanish translated to English: The gathering of Israel on the other side of the veil blesses our life and participating in the Work brings us closer to the Savior

  6. Excelentes ideias… Muito obrigada!!!

    Google Translate: Portuguese to English
    Excellent ideas… Thank you so much !!!