Author Topic: OPR Indexes at Scotlandspeople  (Read 6300 times)

Offline worldlywanderer

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OPR Indexes at Scotlandspeople
« on: Saturday 11 December 10 16:37 GMT (UK) »
I have been in correspondence with management at the Scotlandspeople Centre on this subject for many months. The best information I believe I obtained was that the OPR index is the IGI index - which one I am not certain even GROS know. I believe the error level in that index to be substantial and I know I am not alone in that belief. There is a way GROS could establish what the error level is but they have point blank refused to do this on the grounds that it would be a waste of staff resources. I would quote exactly what was said but emails from GROS all contain a privacy clause - I'm not sure how effective that is but would hate to be the one who forced them to waste staff resources arguing the case.

In January of this year I was informed that had it become easy enough to update poor images images of the statutory records and GROS now claim they can do this within a couple of hours of a report being received (not a claim which can always be substantiated). For OPRs, however, I understand the software is completely different making the updating of the index much more complex. I understand this has still not happened and GROS are currently sitting on over two hundred and fifty reported errors (their figure) but bear in mind, however, that a reported error could reflect whole sections of the index which are incorrect. Some months ago I was told that the number of known errors was well into four figures and that this could reflect an error level ten times higher. Frankly, until GROS are prepared to disprove this belief I am convinced that the higher error levels are more likely to be correct. Probably the most honest statement issued from GROS on the subjeect is that nobody knows how many OPR images need to be rescanned.

If one searches the SP website diligently it is possible to discover a list which shows each year for which GROS hold an image for a death or deaths in that parish. A comparison of this list with the published index used to indicate which year ranges exist for different classes in each parish shows several anomalies. The reasons given for these anomalies are interesting but not the issue. What concerns me is that this is recent work by a GROS contractor and although I could find the errors without the benefit of the electronic or staff resources of GROS apparently their checking systems did not. these anomalies alone prove, in my opinion, the need for a careful look at the images currently on the system compared with the paper resources and the previously produced although incomplete indexes. Without this I cannot see how GROS can even begin to estimate the staff resources required to correct the errors let alone plan a programme of corrections.

Given there is an acknowledgement that the error level is significant one might expect a warning on the SP web sites. I have written confirmation that no such warning exists or is planned. It appears to me and other users of the SP Centre that the only work currently undertaken on the identification of errors is by us - the paying public. We identify the errors and we report then, well, at least some people report some of the errors. It seems to me that the least one might expect is feedback when an error is corrected or an apparently missing image is found. GROS management have recently confirmed that they have no plans to "divert staff time" to provide such feedback.

I realise there is a formal complaints procedure which requires a specific answer within a specific time and enables reference to, eventually, the Parliamentary Ombudsman. It seems excessive to invoke such a ponderous procedure but perhaps that is what is required to have GROS management recognise that incomplete indexes and missing images are failures of their system and reports of missing images or incomplete indexes are complaints and require acknowledgement. Even if we are likely to have to wait years for all of the errors to be corrected.

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Offline ScottishAncestry

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Re: OPR Indexes at Scotlandspeople
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 18 January 11 15:11 GMT (UK) »
Itís very interesting to hear your experience with the Scotlandspeople Centre, I have to admit we too have been frustrated at the quality of indexing done by large organizations/companies. Although we do use large websites our experience has been purchasing booklets transcribed by local people can be of a much higher quality and actually if you have a number of ancestors from one parish can save you a lot of money.

We have just picked up an order today from Selkirk genealogy ( and as itís a local person painstakingly transcribing the records they have been done to a very high standard.

Which part of Scotland are you most interested in? I might be able to recommend somebody. Alternatively FHSís like the Scottish genealogy society and Aberdeen FHS have a large bookshop you can search online.


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