I remember seeing my parent's separate Caller I.D. attached to their landline phone, and thought, "Wow. Cool. But? I don't see me really needing that."
Now? I have no landline phone, and everyone in the house has their own cell phone, and 3 of them are smartphones.
And without the Caller I.D.-like function on my iPhone, I'd be lost. Okay. Maybe not 'lost', but I'd be less efficient. When I receive a phone call from a new person and I've decided that they're a contact, then I save the number as a contact and then build the contact info from there.
And when a Contact calls me, then their name and number appear and I can decide to answer the call or not. Or when I want to call someone, I either look them up in Contacts or in my Recent Calls screen [the part that's Caller-I.D.-ish]. Then I tap and call. Unless I'm in my car, Annie, where my iPhone is connected to my car through Bluetooth, and I use Voice Commands to make a call. [I love Annie.] Or I use the touchscreen in the car [not my iPhone] to Accept or Reject an incoming call.
So. Yeah. Times have changed.
And what does this technology have to do with genealogy?
Everything and nothing.
You see, I had someone ask me a couple of weeks ago about having a research log. Like, 'Did I have one? Was I going to give one out as a freebie like I did the Research Plan OneNote/Evernote/Doc template?"
And it got me to thinking about a research log. I'm sure I'm about to get a few boos and hisses. And perhaps [No. Definitely.] some head shakes.
And I'm sure folks are going to say that I'm being an irresponsible, time-wasting, disorganized researcher.
And they're probably right.
However, not too many researchers research the same. And not too many searchers search the same. And if you use a research log and you're happy, that's great. But I don't use a Research Log to log everywhere I've already searched online.
My search/research workflow process is such that sometimes I get on the internet, open up a bunch of tabs to database sites, and search. Now, the distinction ~at least mine~ between 'search' and 'research' is that 'search' is where I'm looking for something and 'research' involves a more systematic way to my searching.
So. When I say 'search' I mean I'm going to get on the Internet and start looking. Period. I may have some system to it, but not much. And I've been successful with that at times.
And other times, not so much.
When I say 'research', I mean I'm going to have some type of a plan to what I'm doing. Usually [but not always] I've already done the search [maybe chaotic and maybe somewhat systematic and maybe a little of both]. In fact, at this point I've probably done several searches and I've probably done a Research Plan based on my searches and other things [like what I know about the person, the situation, the records, or the location, etc.].
Some days, I just search. Freely. Like the wind. Like there's no tomorrow. There is some thought put into it. It's not like I'm looking for answers on the McDonald's Restaurant website or anything. I'm just looking to see what I can see. [Unless, of course, I'm looking for a Mr. Dick McDonald or Mr. Mac McDonald who started a hamburger joint.]
I've always done this, and I think it some of it stems back to when my younger brother was so sick with his rare Mitochondrial Disorder, MELAS. Back then in 1996, not many folks were using the Internet for searching for answers, but for my Dad and I, our searching for answers to my brother's rare disease led us to the Internet. There's nothing like a life and death situation to make you desperately seek for anything and everything ~ information, support, new protocols for treatment of symptoms, a glossary for all those DNA terms, and the answer to the question, "Why?", etc.
So while my motivation for searching online has certainly changed, the way I go about it is still the same. There were so many sites and information that my Dad and I found online, that I can't imagine what we would've done without it.
Back then, though, we just bookmarked sites that we wanted to return to and we also printed out pages and pages and pages to read later. There's nothing like falling asleep while trying to decipher biochemistry-laden medical journal articles with not-so-great diagrams. [Yowzer.]
Learning to look outside the box in order to find information was critical to us back then. And that feeling [which also combines with my sense of competition] has carried over into how I research online today.
It works for me, though. It's not all that I do. I analyze and assess. I look everything over with a critical eye. I construct a research plan with tables and explanations. Then I research. And that's where a log of sorts comes in, and I very briefly touched upon in it one of my OneNote Research Plan videos when I discussed creating tables for repositories so I could record my positive and negative findings.
However, there are times that I don't bookmark properly for whatever reason while I'm searching, and I don't have a formal Research Log for searching online. It would disrupt my workflow. [There. I said it.]
So yeah, technology has changed a bit. I don't have a landline phone, I text my kids when it's time for dinner, I make calls in my car with voice commands, and I accept or reject phone calls on my touchscreen in my car named Annie [named after my 2nd Great Grandmother, Annie O'Brien]. And while I don't even use the term Caller I.D. anymore, I certainly use the technology that it birthed.
And I don't use a traditional Research Log and then I have this 'system' that I'm calling a Search Log, for lack of a better term.
It's now much easier to surf around and look for preliminary info, and a traditional Research Log ~whether on paper, a Doc table, or Excel Spreadsheet~ doesn't quite support me and the way I search online. [Even a really pretty one.] It inhibits me and my creative searching, which, to me, is a necessary part of my overall plan.
So get ready for a blog post on how I record my online searching tomorrow.
But what about you? What is your online workflow process recording system? [Did I just suck the fun out of family history and genealogy with that question, or what? LOL.] Are you recording it somehow? Do you know that it's probably a good idea to do it, but then you find yourself not doing it? Does it feel natural to you while you're doing it?
And then, of course, there's the guilt. [Always the guilt.]
I think everyone's different, and I don't think any one way is the right way, but I'm curious. How are you recording where you've searched online?