Keying Can Be A Team Sport

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This past Sunday I watched an amazing game that reminded me about our ability to overcome things that seem impossible. Team USA's victory over Brazil was inspiring and motivating, and not just because it was so dramatic. Those women never quit fighting and they were rewarded with a victory when Abby Wambach hit a header into the goal in what one Sports Illustrated writer called, "the dying moments of the quarterfinals" of the Women's World Cup.

That same night, I sat out on my back porch with my laptop keying some of the Holocaust records available as part of the World Memory Project portion of the Ancestry World Archives Project. I thought about the people whose names are on these records. And, I thought about you.

Last summer we introduced the World Record Challenge. Our goal was to key 8 million records during the months of June, July and August. Thousands of you joined in and contributed your time and your skills to keying and arbitrating millions upon millions of records. One of our contributors completed an average of 1800 records every single day during the summer of 2010. She may have been recognized as the Abby Wambach who hit the game winning goal into the net with her head. But, you and I both know that Abby did not play that whole game by herself. She was part of team. So are you.

Each and every record keyed, counts. Each and every person who will be found and remembered because of your efforts, counts. It doesn't matter whether your time and circumstances allow you to key hundreds of records a day, or whether you are only able to key a few records a month. Your contribution is recognized and appreciated.

Because of that, and because I know some of you love a good challenge to keep things interesting, this summer we have been running a World Record Challenge that is a little different from what we did last year. We wanted to recognize more individuals, more often, for their contribution. Each week for a day or two at a time we select a Project of the Day and announce it on our blog as well as on our Facebook and Twitter pages. The challenge is to be the top keyer or arbitrator on just that one project for just that one day. I've really enjoyed watching you compete with each other (and help each other on the project pages and discussion boards) as you've come together to move a particular project along.

If you haven't yet participated in a Project of the Day challenge, I invite you to do so. It adds a little fun to what can, at times, be a tedious and isolating past time. It introduces us to new projects that we might not normally key. It stretches our abilities and challenges us to learn something new. At times, we may ask you to key Polish Holocaust records or German census records, knowing full well you don't speak the language. That may seem impossible to you. But, I've seen teams do the impossible before.

You are part of something bigger than just you and your laptop. You are part of the Ancestry World Archives Project community.