Let’s Talk About: Smart Searching from Cyndi

Last February the EWGS program featured Cyndi Ingle. Her (too-short) time with us was fact-and-tip filled and her 8-page handout was a thorough reminder of what she taught us that day.

Some quick-and-always-good-to-review points to keep in mind:

  • Records were and are created by humans.
  • Humans make mistakes.
  • Humans misspell things.
  • Humans are inconsistent.
  • Humans miscommunicate things.
  • Just because many more things are digitized now doesn’t mean that searching is really any easier than it was before. 
  • We MUST think about ow and why humans created any set of records and the circumstances of their times and methods in doing so.
  • We must consider how archivists and librarians catalogued their records’ collections. 
  • We must consider HOW those records made their way into the digitized world. 

Cyndi also explained that mysterious word database. What is a database? A database is a container filled with records. Think of a phonebook; it’s a database filled with records, no? So Ancestry is a database of records, right? Then to be worthwhile, a database must be indexed for the words, fields and records to be searchable. 

With a big smile Cyndi said that “every database is unique depending on the data it contains and depending on the software used to create it. Everybody did it their own way!”

Then search engines. These are tools we use to search databases. And as with databases, every search engine is unique depending on the software and hardware used to make it.

One comment on “Let’s Talk About: Smart Searching from Cyndi

  1. judy l artley says:

    I’ve heard speak on these topics and it was definitely worth the time!

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