Saturday, 28 September 2013

Stop! Collaborate and Listen!

You know you're GenX if you 'got' that one!
Every so often in genea-circles there are discussions about collaboration. Some people seem to think it is some solo endeavour, of old biddy pitted against the fiendish microfilm in a bid to read every document and visit every archive. Not me! I find it hilarious that as a student at school and uni, and in the workplace, I loathe group work, but when it comes to my genealogy I am a total convert to collaboration.
Firstly, there's all the wonderful collaboration with genealogists via Twitter, blogs and FB groups, to assist each other on the journey of collecting, analysing, recording and sharing our research. Then there's the mailing lists, helping out with specific areas of interest, particularly look-ups. I live very close by a particular cemetery, other people own particular CDs or subscribe to various websites.
The most important collaboration though would definitely be with relatives who are also researchers.
I am fortunate to have quite a few researchers on various lines, and in each instance there's been a different form of collaboration which has evolved.
Type 1: The one-off exchange
I copy all my stuff and send it off, the other person copies all his/her stuff and sends it to me, and then we both have the benefit of our collected research findings. Great for discovering odd, missed tid-bits, acquiring new photos and confirming previous avenues of research.
Type 2: The staged exchange
This has been the most common one I've found. We do the initial swap, then update each other should there be any major new breakthrough. My husband's relatives are good at this one.
Type 3: The round-table discussion
Rather like the above, but in person with biscuits. Far more fun!! My Evans relatives are fond of this approach.
Type 4: Full collaboration
I have a Dorey relative and a Sykes relative who are especially good at this. Not only do we update each other on our findings, but we vet each other's theories, double-check each other's conclusions, and strategically acquire resources so we don't double-up. It's terrific. We get the best possible bang for our buck and our time.
The only alternative is doing it all yourself, and there is just not enough time or money in the world for doing all the things that need to be done in our research!!

I'm hoping one day, when I have more time, to set up a Wiki to help facilitate family research. For example, I have about five Dawson researchers I keep in touch with. It would be so much simpler if we got a group share on the go, especially when it comes to files etc.
Anyone got any interesting experiences to share about how they manage their collaboration?
When I have time... Good one!!

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