Telephone numbers, membership information entry

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dalewebb
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Telephone numbers, membership information entry

Postby dalewebb » Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:56 pm

When reports print, e.g., a phone list or general directory, what is the "priority" given phone numbers? Household > Husband's individual > Wife's individual? Can the report(s) be modified to cause MSL to print BOTH husband and wife's names and numbers if there is no "home" number?

This next question is just a pet peeve of mine. There are as many ways to enter data in the database as there are enterers. Some are careful, others are not. I suspect some ward databases are a mishmash of entry formats. I for instance, am a minimalist and enter data without extraneous periods, hyphens, commas, etc. and use 2 letter abbreviations for addresses when possible. I omit the ZIP+4 portion of the zip code 'cause I don't have room for the extra digits on my customized reports. I only enter the area code if it is different from that of the ward. For example:
Dale M Webb 1719 Bridge Av Galesburg, IL 61401 221 1755
Does the Church "suggest" a format that we should be adhering to for continuity?
Thanks,
DW

russellhltn
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Re: Telephone numbers, membership information entry

Postby russellhltn » Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:37 pm

dalewebb wrote:I only enter the area code if it is different from that of the ward.

The phone numbers also go to LDS Tools. Failure to include area codes could render the dial-from-directory feature unusable for anyone outside of the member's area code.
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aebrown
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Re: Telephone numbers, membership information entry

Postby aebrown » Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:47 pm

dalewebb wrote:When reports print, e.g., a phone list or general directory, what is the "priority" given phone numbers? Household > Husband's individual > Wife's individual? Can the report(s) be modified to cause MSL to print BOTH husband and wife's names and numbers if there is no "home" number?

Certain reports are focused on individuals; for those reports, the person's individual phone number is used if available, and the household phone number otherwise. Other reports are focused on households; for those reports, the household number is used, and there is no alternate.

Your proposal to modify MLS to do something different for a household-oriented report when there is no household phone number sounds like an unlikely change, given that MLS is not getting a lot of attention from developers at this time. But you're welcome to propose it; I'd recommend using an MLS message to make your suggestion.

dalewebb wrote:This next question is just a pet peeve of mine. There are as many ways to enter data in the database as there are enterers. Some are careful, others are not. I suspect some ward databases are a mishmash of entry formats. I for instance, am a minimalist and enter data without extraneous periods, hyphens, commas, etc. and use 2 letter abbreviations for addresses when possible. I omit the ZIP+4 portion of the zip code 'cause I don't have room for the extra digits on my customized reports. I only enter the area code if it is different from that of the ward. For example:
Dale M Webb 1719 Bridge Av Galesburg, IL 61401 221 1755
Does the Church "suggest" a format that we should be adhering to for continuity?

The Church has no particular suggested format, but I would definitely concur with RussellHltn's suggestion to include the area code. Note that phone numbers also go to CDOL, where they might be visible to people in a different state or country. I have called stake clerks in other states, and I was certainly glad that the area code was included. Also, it looks like you used a space within the phone number; I find it to be more readable if a hyphen is used, and the hyphen is no more extraneous than the space. I see far more hyphens than any other separator on US phone numbers.

Regarding addresses, I tend to use USPS standards (except that I don't use ALL CAPS). That may result in 3- or 4-letter abbreviations for streets, but that's okay. And the comma before the state abbreviation is extraneous, so you can actually be shorter.

scgallafent
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Re: Telephone numbers, membership information entry

Postby scgallafent » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:47 am

dalewebb wrote:Does the Church "suggest" a format that we should be adhering to for continuity?

In your case (United States), Clerk Resources will prompt you with a standardized address based on Postal Service standards including the ZIP+4. There are standardized USPS abbreviations for street suffixes at https://www.usps.com/send/official-abbreviations.htm. MLS doesn't provide any standardization help.

Phone number formats are a little blurrier even before you start thinking about differences in formats between countries. Here is a US-centric viewpoint:

Most people use either (xxx) xxx-xxxx or xxx-xxx-xxxx in the United States. The official* format is (xxx) xxx-xxxx. In some metropolitan areas, a shorthand has developed for multiple area codes. For example, someone in Denver might write (303) 555-1212 as 3/555-1212. To keep your LDS Tools users sane and happy, I would include the full area code on all numbers. Pick a format and stick with it. For the curious, Google has a phone number formatting library (https://code.google.com/p/libphonenumber/).

*Official is a relative term for phone numbers. As far as I know, the North American Numbering Plan standard format is still (801) 555-1212. There is also the E.164 format (+18015551212) and E.123 (+1 801 555-1212 or (801) 555 1212, depending on whether you're inside or outside of the United States). Microsoft calls +1 (801) 555-1212 "canonical" format, but I don't know of a standards body that has specified that particular format. And we still haven't left the United States. Quebec requires 1 801 555-1212. And the list goes on....

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Re: Telephone numbers, membership information entry

Postby RossEvans » Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:26 pm

scgallafent wrote:
dalewebb wrote:Does the Church "suggest" a format that we should be adhering to for continuity?

In your case (United States), Clerk Resources will prompt you with a standardized address based on Postal Service standards including the ZIP+4. There are standardized USPS abbreviations for street suffixes at https://www.usps.com/send/official-abbreviations.htm. MLS doesn't provide any standardization help.


That statement about Clerk Resources is only partially true. The "standardized" address is not "based on Postal Service standards" when it includes an apartment number. In such cases, Clerk Resources mangles the USPS standard, which calls for appending the apartment number at the end of the first line. Clerk Resources wrongly suggests formatting the apartment number on a second line.

This is a huge problem for units like ours that have been trying to enforce USPS standards in our addresses. The issue has been reported in Feedback, with no remedial action.

For details, see this thread.

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Re: Telephone numbers, membership information entry

Postby scgallafent » Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:36 pm

RossEvans wrote:That statement about Clerk Resources is only partially true. The "standardized" address is not "based on Postal Service standards" when it includes an apartment number. In such cases, Clerk Resources mangles the USPS standard, which calls for appending the apartment number at the end of the first line. Clerk Resources wrongly suggests formatting the apartment number on a second line.

I saw that thread this morning. I just asked one of the Clerk Resources developers and he isn't aware of it. There is someone else I'll check with tomorrow.

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Mikerowaved
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Re: Telephone numbers, membership information entry

Postby Mikerowaved » Tue Dec 03, 2013 12:01 am

scgallafent wrote:To keep your LDS Tools users sane and happy, I would include the full area code on all numbers. Pick a format and stick with it.

If it's of any consequence, every LDS training video I've viewed always used the xxx-xxx-xxxx format for phone numbers within the US, so that's what I've tried to adopt as the standard format for our stake. (Now, trying to implement that standard stake-wide is a whole different topic. :rolleyes:)
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mwgrover
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Re: Telephone numbers, membership information entry

Postby mwgrover » Tue Dec 03, 2013 12:29 pm

More and more, people are keeping phone numbers on their mobile phones when they move and not changing them when they arrive at their new area. In our ward alone, we have a dozen or more different area codes listed in the ward directory. Also, in our area, we have two local area codes that overlap, although one is not widespread yet. I would certainly include the area code in all phone numbers to minimize confusion and to keep all phone numbers the same standard format.

As far as the format, it is only my opinion, but I have always preferred xxx-xxx-xxxx. It seems to be the most readable, the easiest to type, and the easiest to proof for errors.

russellhltn
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Re: Telephone numbers, membership information entry

Postby russellhltn » Tue Dec 03, 2013 12:41 pm

One thing of concern that I haven't tested - to make sure the different mobile devices recognize the format. It may not be an issue since LDS Tools knows it's a phone number, but you know what they say about assumptions.

(I remember back in Directory 1.0 being jazzed that my Droid "understood" properly formatted numbers - making the old technology directory really cool. I could hot link right off of a plain webpage. Addresses too.)
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lajackson
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Re: Telephone numbers, membership information entry

Postby lajackson » Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:57 pm

Although not widely used in the U.S., I prefer the format used throughout much of the rest of the world, 000.000.0000 because I can get to the period faster than the dash.


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