No Index or Record Is Perfect

Every finding aid or source we use was created by humans. No matter how careful we are and how much we proofread, errors are bound to occasionally creep in to a series of records.

That’s why manual searches are sometimes necessary when the index fails and why people are sometimes left out of records entirely.

The occasional error doesn’t mean a record series should not be used. Of course records or compilations that are known to contain a significant number of errors should be used judiciously, if at all. Transcriptions that are done carelessly are to be avoided. But there are individuals whose transcriptions of records are done conscientiously and are highly accurate.

Then there are the occasional transcription errors and compilations that make one wonder if the transcriber or creator was utilizing illegal substances.

It’s up to the researcher to obtain all they can and determine where the weight of trust should fall.


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