Idea to streamline use of Combined Records page

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Idea to streamline use of Combined Records page

Postby rmrichesjr » Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:05 pm

I have an idea for an enhancement or new feature for the Combined Records page in the new FamilySearch. I submitted through email to FamilySearch Support but wanted to mention it in this forum.

I believe this feature would have large returns on a modest developer investment--the returns being in more efficient and accurate separation of records in cases where information about multiple real individuals had been erroneously combined into one record. (I have done at least three separation operations myself, so I think I have some understanding of how it works.) I believe it could be implemented entirely in JavaScript, so the only increase on FamilySearch server load would be a small increase in the size of the page content sent to the browser.

The basic idea would be to add "color" buttons to the left-hand column. They could be done in radio-button or check-box style. When a user clicked to activate a color for a particular row, the corresponding columns would show that color in the upper box for that column. It could also show the color for the box in the middle of the table, but the column header is more important. (I would suggest hiding the color buttons until/unless the user clicks on another button to unhide them.)

The usage case I would propose for this feature is for a user who has an idea of the birth and death dates and parents' names for the two (or perhaps more) real individuals whose records had been combined into one record. For example, one set of dates is from the 1700s, and the other set of dates is from the 1800s. The user would click one color for the 1700 dates and the parents whose dates are consistent with a child in the 1700s. The user would click on a different color for the 1800s dates and the parents whose dates are consistent with a child in the 1800s.

The page would propagate the coloring to the column headers. The user could then readily see which component records are from the 1700s individual, which are from the 1800s individual, which are not conclusive, and which might have an internal conflict (which requires help from FamilySearch Support to resolve). Once the component records are all clearly classifiable as to where they belong, the user would very accurately check to separate out all the records of one color and leave the records of the other color.

For the combined records I have separated, I have manually emulated this coloring operation by printing screen-shots of various parts of the page, trimming the prints, and taping them together to mimic the full scrollable page. Then, with a red and green marker, I have marked the left column, then the middle boxes, then the column headers. I then used the colors to guide me in selecting which records to separate. If this feature were implemented in the page, it would eliminate a great deal of risk of inaccurate separation.

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Postby rontilby » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:46 pm

I want to be able to click on a cell in the far left column of the Combined Records page and have that cause a sort on all the other columns such that all columns with the selected cell value would be clustered at the start of the table. (For performance and scalability, this would need to be accomplished entirely in the client browser without any additional server transactions.)
I think this would provide a more effective way of identifying records that need to be separated.

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Postby rmrichesjr » Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:41 pm

That's an interesting idea--sorting the rest of the columns based on clicking on the left-hand column. To do that, the entire page would have to be generated by JavaScript, basically an Ajax scheme. Last time I looked at newFamilySearch HTML, it was rather heavily on the Comet side (page generated by the server in HTML without much JavaScript involvement). Making that switch would be a major change to how the system works.

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Combined Records

Postby thrushmk » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:57 pm

I have looked at the previous posts and think that searching Combined Records could be better, especially if you what us layman to break up the huge records.
Today and yesterday I have been working on one that had over 1100 combining it was terrible. I am still working on it.

There needs to be away to search out the ones that do not belong there.
One way is to have check boxes on the left had side so they can be either highlighted or to be taken out. Checking the box at the top is too cumbersome to do especially if you have a lot to go thru.
One other of my pet peeves is that you can only check the ones on the page you are on. OK if you have a page with over fifty lines of entries on a page of a hundred columns you try to get back to where you were before you went up to check the box to eliminate that column. Excel does it better.

Also, going all the way back to the detail page is a pain, too.

One other thing is the fact that it does not remember the set up that you are using to find the information to take out.

For example:
  1. First thing you see when you open combined records is the page is set to five. This is fine if you have 10 or less, but not more.
  2. Then is you have more that a hundred you have to reset the number of columns again.
  3. If you have more than one page of a hundred then you need to reset it again.
That is to cumbersome to say the least.
OK that is the list of my suggestions
Thank you,
M. Kay Thrush

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