Saturday, July 20, 2019

Now Indexing:
More New York Records

Not only has last week been a hectic week, but now that I think of it, it feels like a million years since I last indexed any records at Sure enough, checking my progress, it's been almost six weeks since I last volunteered to help get any online records search-ready. Time to get back to offering some regular help and giving back to the community.

Sometimes, when I've just gone through a busy work week but want to do my part with regular volunteer work, I look for an indexing project that is light and easy—something requiring little brain power on my part, but still needing the hands and effort to finish the work. This time, I returned to my home state of New York and found some World War II draft registration cards from New York City that needed some indexing help.

Once the drill is down—where to fill in what information, what rules apply to the process—the routine goes smoothly. Each batch of records contains about ten—or sometimes fewer—individual files, and clicking through each one can move quite quickly.

In this case, I opted to do two sets. Not a heavy load, admittedly, but my theory is to do a little bit of volunteer work on a regular basis, rather than to give my all in one huge push. That way, I'm sure to come back for more, over and over again. I won't let myself get burned out with any saintly sacrifices. Being realistic helps keep volunteers in the game for the long haul. And over that long haul, I'll have contributed, cumulatively, much more than I could in one grit-your-teeth-and-hold-on marathon volunteer day.

That's the theory I've learned to run with when working with volunteers in the organizations I've served, and the principle remains the same, when I switch roles and become the volunteer, myself. Taking in the big picture—, after all, has multiplied millions of records which still need that indexing transformation to become searchable online—that's the most realistic way to achieve such an enormous dream: one record at a time, one volunteer at a time. When we all come back to do what might seem to be our "little" part, it adds up to something impressive for all of us.


  1. I haven't been there for about 6 weeks ...I am way far behind:(

    1. Understandable, Far Side. You have a lot going on right now. There will always be more work to do, once things settle down for you!


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