Saturday, September 11, 2010

Using a blog for research note-taking

This morning I began working on my new Google Reader and Drew Smith's Goals for Future Research posting on his Rootsmithing: Genealogy, Methodology & Technology blog caught my eye. While typing my response, Ol' Myrt here realized it amounted to a fair enough blog entry for my DearREADERS.

THANKS for a thoughtful posting, Drew.

A blog can certainly be used to plan a research project and to document progress. The added benefit when traveling to research facilities is that these blogged research notes can be accessed through any computer with internet access.

One of our mentors, Birdie Holsclaw, maintained a blog where postings were left in draft mode until she was ready for the world to see her work on a specific individual in her Colorado School for the Deaf & Blind project. She had one blog entry for each student at the school. Draft mode status might extend into years, if Birdie felt her research wasn't complete.

I could only view the "draft mode" when sitting next to Birdie as she logged in to her research blog, since the unpublished blog entries are not viewable by the public. Even her published entries were private, as she exercised the option to limit access to specific individuals. Each completed entry was in preparation for later use on her Colorado School for the Deaf & Blind website.

Looking at one of the unpublished blog entries, Birdie showed me that she included partial sentences and entire paragraphs describing her various findings and suppositions about her subjects. Months later, if Birdie resolved an issue, she'd go back to the  blog posting, cross out the text of a refuted theory and include the results of her findings. But she continued to keep the posting in draft mode. I was amazed to see that better than 90% of the blog was in draft mode.

Just before publishing a blog entry, Birdie would clean up her random postulations, crossed-out theories and notations, arranging them in logical order. 

I learned a lot about what to do with individuals who don't yet fit into our genealogy management databases by observing Birdie's largely draft-mode research blog. 
Social Networking for Genealogists 

Thanks again Drew for pointing out a very useful application of blog technology for genealogists. Drew Smith is the author of Social Networking for Genealogists, and co-host of the popular Genealogy Guys Podcast.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.

1 comment:

  1. What a fantastic concept. You certainly don't have to worry about misplacing your notes!