Author Topic: Library and Archives Canada Databases  (Read 2973 times)

Offline J.J.

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Library and Archives Canada Databases
« on: Tuesday 03 March 15 02:13 GMT (UK) »
  I wish some of you might help me ...help all of us, with a complaint to Library and Archives Canada, as we once could search for any variation of a name, inluding using the middle or ending of a surname or forename...

I'll start by saying we are most lucky to have a site where we might have access to so much information. There are new census images and WW1 CEF files and ship's lists and so much more. All have been very accessible until the site began the database changes.  I have pointed this out to them many time since, even recently, but my complaints have never been properly addressed.

I could look for variations of a name and pretty much always found my person, if they were in there..... When they first made changes to all the databases, I complained as they still said you could use asterixes for any missing letters, and this was no longer so...They said thank you for pointing this out, nobody had notice this had happened.........BUT!!!!....... Instead of correcting things to be back to the way they were, they simply made new instructions to show one asterix only may be used after the first part of a name. I do not see how rebuilding a database to be less intuitive than its predescessor would in any way be an asset to the site. Someone or several people were, I would imagine, paid quite well to do this backward thinking.

For example:  Looking for surname STINCHCOMBE One could have once searched for ST*nc*O*M*  STIN*COM*  *INCHCOM*   *COMBE  STIN*C*MB*  etc....but now you need the exact beginning/s and are now allowed only one asterix.      ST*  Stin*   etc. & that's it....you must have the exact beginning in order to have a fruitful search.

To simplify, I think one can easily see that seaching for Henry Smith ( noting that forename could be Harry or Henry and surname could be Smith Smyth or Smythe, that using
H*ry  Sm*th*  was a great time saver.  Imagine my irritation this weekend trying to find my friend's  Ukranian ancestors.

Those who have taken a great deal of their time to enter into a database all these names that may never be found because they are wildly incorrect or transcribed wrong. It is not fair to those who worked on that nor to the descendants all over the world who would like to find their ancestors.
J.J.

The databases
http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/Pages/browse-product-type.aspx#databases

If you have something to air about the site, go ahead and add it here, but please tell them directly. I was shocked that they said I was the only person who pointed out the shortcomings of their database service.
You can email here webservices@bac-lac.gc.ca although they don't seem to acknowledge complaints.
Or fill out this form
https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/assistance-request-form/Pages/assistance-request-form.aspx?requesttype=3
"We search for information, but the burden of proof is always with the thread owner"

Canadian  census  transcribed  data  2005 www.AutomatedGenealogy.com

Offline majm

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Re: Library and Archives Canada Databases
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 03 March 15 02:44 GMT (UK) »
Oh deary me   ..... it seems the NSW BDM disease did get across the Pacific.  Those clever award winning database makers messed around with the online New South Wales (Australia) BDM database back in 2010/11 (they had messed up earlier, but a massive mess was undertaken with taxpayer funding into the millions of dollars).   It took about three years for them to get it back to where it had been and then to build on the improvements initially promised back in  2006.    Yes,  the wild card asterisk had been fantastic for an unlimited number of characters BEFORE 2011.   And then, poor Mr Asterisk, it got itself quite upset, it would not work properly until mid 2014.   It is only in the last several weeks that the website has finally taken on all the proper searching options once again.   

During the chaos the questionmark came in handy.   This was able to be used for each character.  So if I were to search for a Henry/Harry SMITH/SMITHE/SMYTH/SMYTHE  I could substitute the ? for each character.   Ummmm...... so if I put five ? in the surname box, I got ALL the registrations where the surname was five letters long.....  Yes, all, regardless of if the initial letter of the surname was A or Z or anything in between....  The website often fell over.  .....

But on the other hand,  SM?TH usually stopped the collapse ..... 

Hope this bandaid approach will be of some assistance,  perhaps we exported our "experts" .... if so, please do not return to sender ..... What we have now is actually working....

Cheers,  JM
 
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Offline J.J.

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Re: Library and Archives Canada Databases
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 03 March 15 05:18 GMT (UK) »
Funny majm...although not really very funny...Yes, this all began for us years ago as well, with the newer site "improvements".  Hehe, Maybe they hired the same wonderful people as you say. I can't even imagine how much it all cost. But at least you finally/eventually got results. Nobody seems to give a rat's petootie.

But..No...No question marks either ( unless they were used in the actual transcription) no phonetic searches, no fuzzy results, no intuitive reaction at all...

just one lousy "wildcard" character, the single asterix.  Bl**d* H*ll   

Here is an example of how it can work ( NOT work)...I sent them a copy of this and got no reply...but it was changed to say " ​Enter one or more search terms. (eg. Whiteaves, White*)"

The results for this same search now number 293 as it searches for anything with that combination of letters. 
Note that the database totally ignores the date info which also should have narrowed the search considerably
( yes, the asterix once worked in all aspects of the search )
"We search for information, but the burden of proof is always with the thread owner"

Canadian  census  transcribed  data  2005 www.AutomatedGenealogy.com

Offline majm

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Re: Library and Archives Canada Databases
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 03 March 15 06:54 GMT (UK) »
Well, you will certainly enjoy (NOT) what happened when I tried the website....

a)  I was asked to complete a survey, and given the option to complete it now or later ..... I was asked BEFORE I had left the front page !  So I agreed to the survey for later.

b) When I got to the option "How to Access the Library and Canada Records Archives"  I selected that, clicked on it.    and promptly laughed AT my puter screen.     I got 404 error !  you know the 404 error ..... yep THAT error.    I phoned a friend, they tried it from their puter.   and they got a 404 error too. 

Well, so I exited, ignored the survey, did the shut down, re-start etc and then I still got a 404 !   So as I had AGAIN been asked about a survey,  I filled it in.    I even explained that I speak Australian and that I live in Australia.     I did not mention that I learnt schoolgirl French at High School. 

They are now fully informed about my views about their website.   

As I respect RChat, I have no intention of repeating my words here but I assure you they are all found in the Concise Oxford.

Cheers,  JM
The information in my posts is provided for academic and non-commercial research purposes. 
Random Acts of Kindness Given Freely are never Worthless for they are Priceless.
Qui scit et non docet.    Qui docet et non vivit.    Qui nescit et non interrogat.   
All Census Look Ups Are Crown Copyright from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
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Offline carol8353

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Re: Library and Archives Canada Databases
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 03 March 15 11:11 GMT (UK) »
just one lousy "wildcard" character, the single asterix.  Bl**d* H*ll   

That did make me laugh JJ- I don't think I have any ancestors called Bl**d* H*ll ,but I have said it many times since starting my genealogy quest about 30+ years ago.

Carol
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Offline majm

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Re: Library and Archives Canada Databases
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 03 March 15 11:26 GMT (UK) »
Blinda Hall .....  oh Carol, you are not related to Blinda Hall ....  ::)
The information in my posts is provided for academic and non-commercial research purposes. 
Random Acts of Kindness Given Freely are never Worthless for they are Priceless.
Qui scit et non docet.    Qui docet et non vivit.    Qui nescit et non interrogat.   
All Census Look Ups Are Crown Copyright from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
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Offline carol8353

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Re: Library and Archives Canada Databases
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 03 March 15 11:34 GMT (UK) »
Blinda Hall .....  oh Carol, you are not related to Blinda Hall ....  ::)

Nope- not that I've found so far anyway  8)
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Offline jorose

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Re: Library and Archives Canada Databases
« Reply #7 on: Tuesday 03 March 15 11:57 GMT (UK) »
Ah, website updates. Like turning up to your favourite restaurant and finding that they've "improved" it by putting up new lighting and then hidden the menus. Why would you want an easy way to see a list of what food they have? Look, the new lights are shiny!

There used to be a way to just search across all the genealogy databases - remember that? Where you put a surname in and then you could see how many hits in, e.g. WWI records/Western Land Grants/whatever.

The digitised microform parts are now the best because they're "archived" - e.g. kept in the old format and not improvruined.
Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk