World Archives Project: What are the steps a project goes through before it is Live?

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Ancestry takes a variety of steps to process a project in the World Archives Project. By the time the project appears in the keying tool software, Ancestry has completed image enhancements and writing help and instructions. Once the project appears in the keying tool, the following occurs:

Each image set is downloaded and keyed. Depending on whether the project is configured to be arbitrated or reviewed, one of two things will happen next.

For Arbitration projects:

Two separate keyers will key the details of the images. If one of the keyers is not able to complete the image set within the allowed time, or cancels the image set, it is returned to be downloaded by another contributor. After both image sets are keyed, they are submitted for arbitration.

An arbitrator reviews the image sets to make sure both keyers selected the correct form type and have the same number of records keyed. The next step in the process is to arbitrate the fields that do not match and make corrections. If the image sets are too different -beyond the point that the arbitrator can correct them, the arbitrator may return one or both images to be keyed again.

For Review projects:

If the keyer is not able to complete the image set within the allowed time, or cancels the image set, it is returned to be downloaded by another contributor. After the image set is keyed, it is submitted for review.

A reviewer checks the image sets to make sure the keyer has chosen the right forms and has completed the images. The next step in the process is to review the data and make corrections. If the keyer has made too many omissions, or the error rate is too high, the reviewer may chose to return the image to be rekeyed.

For some projects configured as review, high accuracy keyers may have the bulk of their work automatically accepted without additional review. These are known as trusted keyers.


Whichever scenario is chosen, some images will be found to have an issue that prevents them from being completed normally. These images are set aside, to be completed by a select group of contributors. In some cases developer intervention may be required before they can be re-released to the contributors.

Once all of the image sets in a project have been keyed and arbitrated or reviewed, the project is audited for quality. In some cases, post-keying work may need to be done by Ancestry's internal team. Once the work is complete, the project is released on the website. Please note that there are a few steps along the way that may cause an image set to be returned for keying. This is one of the reasons you will see projects disappear and then reappear with only a small number of image sets available.

From your dashboard you can track the progress of each project, from the time it is available for keying to when it is released live on Ancestry.

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