For the vast majority of time these databases do run correctly. They are searchable, you find results, you print your results, you download images etc. You know, all the usual stuff that makes you happy researchers!
However, every now and then one of these databases may actually hiccup in a way that really does not make it look like there is a problem when in fact there is a problem.
Case in question just happened this week. One of our regular participants, Bruce C., just let me know he was experiencing a problem specifically with our “America’s Obituary and Death Notices” database. For many of us we would not have even seen the problem Bruce described to me. He searched, found results and was going to print the result but then discovered that when he wanted to select the option to include a “citation” for the obituary, he immediately saw an onscreen box appear letting him know there was an error involved in trying to capture the citation.
Yes you can search “America’s Obituaries and Death Notices” database and get good search results. But if you try to print your result with the citation source included you will see and error message and not be able to obtain the citation source as part of the printout.
So Bruce could have just printed the obituary without trying to use the “citation” option and be on his way. But Bruce is a very detailed and an incredible researcher who really takes advantage of all the options these databases include to produce your results. Instead, he meticulously documented the error he received and sent me an email with the error he experienced. Bruce has done this in the past if he notices certain errors or that things just don’t seem to work correctly in a particular genealogy database that is accessible from home.
Once I received the email with the indication something was wrong, I was able to duplicate the problem in the library and could then let our internal database staff know an error had been discovered in one of our databases. We then contacted the database provider and let them know there is a problem with the database and what the problem is.
We are now just awaiting a response back from them with the hope a correction date will be provided.
Bruce, thank you so much for using our databases and discovering those things about them that are flat-out functioning incorrectly as well as those things that are not functioning in the deeper levels of the database.
To all my readers that use our online accessible databases, be they intended for genealogy or for other subjects, if you see that a feature of a database is simply not working, please let us know. Give us a call at our main library number of 847-985-4000 and just ask to be transferred to our Reference Desk. We want our databases to work and work correctly in all aspects of what their capabilities are.
I will let my readers know when we have a fix for the “America’s Obituary and Death Notices” database so that citations can be selected and included in the print output of the obituary you discovered.
Schaumburg Township District Library