TMG-L ArchivesArchiver > TMG > 2006-06 > 1151679821
From: "Prof. G. L. Esterson" <>
Subject: Re: Custom tag for choosing one of several categories
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2006 18:03:41 +0300
I want to thank Teresa, Paul, Bob Gillis, and Ian Singer for their
additional observations on this question of categories. And again, a thank
you to Terry who reminded me, "Don't forget to check the "Display role for
Principal" option on the tag type definition screen - that way the role you
selected will be displayed in the Person View." I have tested that and it
Since I was able to iron out my misunderstanding about how to choose other
Roles for the Principal from among the Roles defined as possible for such
"category" tags, I have been thinking about which of the suggested
alternative methods to use for my Jewish genealogy project.
As you may remember, my objective in this project is to provide Jewish
genealogists with tags and roles specifically tailored to be useful in
Jewish Genealogy. That is, which satisfy the special needs for entering
data for the myriad types of Jewish and secular names used by Jews
throughout the ages, for their special Jewish Life-Cycle Events, and for
how their identity as members of the Jewish religion can be confirmed and
described. I am now putting the final touches on the Jewish-Identification
tags, and your help with choosing an approach for Jewish genealogists to
use has been most enlightening and helpful to me.
I think that I have come to a conclusion which meets the needs for a
simple, effective, user-friendly tool for Jewish-Identification
tags. There are two types of J-I tags which I call "category" tags, one
for use with categories which can only be described as statistically
defined, the other for use with categories which are "hard" and completely
distinct from one another.
The first type requires that the user remember that some data base entries
may use more than a single category, e.g., some people may choose to
identify themselves as being some combination of Religiously Observant and
Cultural, so that their tag would include "Religiously Observant/Cultural"
as the answer. Others will make do with but a single category, e.g.,
The second type of "category" tag is one where only *one* choice can be
correct. For example, in Judaism, each person, male and female, is
genetically classified as being in one of the three "tribes" Cohen
(Priest), Levite, or Israelite. His/her category is completely determined
by the classification of his/her father, i.e., this classification is
passed down from father to child throughout their generations. Knowledge
of this classification is necessary in a synagogue when a man is called to
the Torah in an "Aliya" according to his being a Cohen, a Levite, or an
Israelite. And there are other events (e.g., Redemption of a first-born
male -- Pidyon HaBen) where constraints are placed on whether or not the
event can be held at all, depending on the tribal standing of mother and
father (neither can be of the Cohen or Levite classes).
Since the categories to be written in a genealogy report will sometimes
include but one possible category, and sometimes two, it is necessary to
include this possibility in the tag structure and use.
For the sake of conceptual consistency to help the genealogy researcher,
the use of Roles seems to be at a disadvantage. The terminology and
structure of the tag-and-Role field system is based on the simple idea of
one or two Principals who are the foci of the event, plus a group of others
who have specific Roles in the ceremony of the event, plus a number of
others who are simply observers or witnesses to the ceremony. But when one
wants to use this *structure* for "category-type" problems, this conceptual
basis is confusing -- this is where I got shot down. While the structure
can be massaged for use in both statistical and discrete "category" cases,
it does seem like an artificial carry-over, and is not conceptually
obvious, despite its ease of use once understood. So, I would hesitate to
ask Jewish genealogists to use Roles for this case of "category" problems,
for I believe that they would have problems similar to those that I had.
On the other hand, the simple possibility which does not utilize Roles,
namely, a default sentence of
"[P] was categorized religiously <[D]> <[L]> as Jewishly
Observant/Cultural/Secular/Convert/Convert's Descendant. <[M]>",
where the required action by the user is simply to delete those default
sentence words which he feels inapplicable, satisfies all of the user
requirements. It includes the categories presented up front so that he can
make a rational decision on which one(s) to use, the procedure to be
followed is clear and unambiguous, and it is sufficiently different from
all other tags that "how to use it" stands out clearly. And it is a
simple, direct extension of the normal procedure to "localize" the default
sentence of the tag at hand.
So I believe that I will install this approach on my computer and try it
out for a while to see if there are any problems.
If anyone feels that there are technical problems (e.g., having to do with
how the report might print out), please do let me know.
Thanks again to all for your support and contributions -- it has been a
good learning experience for me.
Shabbat shalom, and warm regards,
|Re: Custom tag for choosing one of several categories by "Prof. G. L. Esterson" <>|