APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2001-02 > 0982383632
From: "Mills" <>
Subject: [APG] Laptops during research phase
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2001 22:20:32 -0600
> > PS. For what this tidbit is worth, my colleagues and I have found that
> > having a laptop with us on-site and then writing the report as we do the
> > research, we make more efficient use of our time. Does anyone else find
> > this a good solution?
I'm a little late jumping into this discussion. (Mother nature decided to
send some more excitement Tuscaloosa way, today.) To the excellent comments
pro and con, I'm about to paste in a few thoughts (basically mine and Helen
Leary's) from ProGen's chapter on research reports, relating to onsite use
of laptops and genealogical programs. As groundwork, we offer 2 thoughts:
"For each family project, there needs to be one place in which we
consolidate all relevant material from a specific place, time, and
resource--as, for example, all probate files from Timbuctoo County that
relate to the Periwinkles. Time and again, it will be necessary to
reappraise a specific record in context with the other similar material
found on friends, relatives, in-laws, neighbors, and associates.
For each individual, there needs to be one place in which all relevant
material on that one person is concisely summarized--i.e., a chronological
compendium of abstracts (properly cited) from all documents found to date on
this one individual."
I won't elaborate on the second point, which involves a genealogical data
base. Several have discussed this already. The first bulleted point is the
one that deals directly with Natalie's question. As you might surmise, this
appears amid a discussion of managing larger research projects, but the
section relating to laptops would apply to just about any research
"1. Open a report file when the planning stage begins.
2. Import or type our standard format and boilerplate for the preliminary
background-i.e., client name and address, details of the problem, client
instructions, research limitations (time, money, record loss, etc.), and
other necessary background.
3. Based on that data, identify the repositories and collections to be
searched. For efficiency, we may already have created resource databases,
with full citations and background information for those repositories and
materials we regularly use in our specialty. If so, we need only select the
appropriate items and import the boilerplate into this new report.
4. Add our preliminary analysis of the problem and our research plan, then
print the file for use as an on site guide. (Prudence and safety also
suggest that we make a backup of this preliminary material-on a removable
disk, tape, or CD.)
5. On site, enter research notes directly into this client file, using a
6. When our allotted search time is over, add any untyped notes, an analysis
of the individual records, a reappraisal of the problem based on these
findings, and a strategy for continuing the search-all within the portion of
the assignment that was reserved for the preparation of the research
Hope this helps.
Elizabeth Shown Mills
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