Thursday, June 20, 2013

Information Overload?

I just finished listening to Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA, Information Overload? Effective Project Planning, Research, Data Management and Analysis (scroll to T241), recorded at the 2013 NGS conference in Las Vegas. I wish I had the syllabus so that I could have seen her visuals but even so, it was excellent. One of the most interesting concepts was the order she does her research, exactly backwards from how most people (including me) do it. She does her research report, research notes and transcriptions/abstractions of all documents BEFORE she enters any information into her database program. She gave excellent reasons why she does it this way that make perfect sense.

After posting this on the Transitional Genealogists Forum (Rootsweb mailing list) on 16 Jun 2013, Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL responded that she too had given a lecture that details this methodology.  Elissa’s lecture is Baker’s Dozen Steps to Writing Research Reports (scroll to S401). Elissa elaborated by saying:

“The idea is that the research report is the "living document" that grows and changes as you do the research. It makes it so much easier to finish the report because much of it is already written through the process. The writing also drives the research as holes or record gaps are easier to see.

Long gone are the days of "collect, collect, collect and I will write the story later." By integrating writing and research, the thoughtful application of words to "paper" make us better and more efficient researchers.”

I have ordered Elissa’s lecture and I can’t wait to hear it.  Even if you can’t attend the big national conferences you can stay up to date by ordering the audio CDs.  This is great stuff and I am certainly going to modify the way I do things.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. I was fortunate enough to hear both. They are great. And I still bought the CDs for both. I think we can all learn more by hearing some of the same things more than once.

  2. Both CDs are on my list (which I'm not allowed to order until I clean the closet in my office). I enjoy hearing the both speak in person, but these will be the next best thing since I wasn't able to go to Vegas. Michele, you've convinced me that these should be the first two I need to order (yes, there are about 12 total).

  3. I was really afraid to look at the list of lectures too close lest I find several that I want.

  4. I heard Information Overload live at NGS 2012 in Cincinnati, bought the CD and have listened to it several times. There's so much to absorb but I've finally managed to get my first research project started using her format.

  5. Anything from ESM is bound to be good :)

  6. I wish these lectures were still available for purchase. Jamb Tapes went out of business.