Thursday, March 31, 2011

Exploring WikiTree- Post 11: A Better Way to Merge Profiles

The Exploring WikiTree Compendium has all of the posts in this series. 
In Post 10, I explored merging two duplicate profiles in WikiTree that resulted from importing two different GEDCOM files.  The method I used in Post 10 was not very time efficient - and after reading the Help page I found a better way to merge two duplicate profiles.  Here is the "better way," in my opinion:

1)  From any WikiTree page, the registered user can click on the "Watchlist" link in the menu line at the very top of the page.  The "Watchlist" is the list of Profiles that the registered user manages.  I now have over 3,200 of them now.  Here is the top of my WikiTree Watchlist page:

The text at the top of the page says for "My Watchlist:"

"These are the profiles you are watching. You are on the Trusted List for all of them and can therefore access and expand on their information. You may have created these pages yourself, or requested access to them, or been proactively given access to them by someone who trusts you.

"Key: The colored dots are the Privacy Level: Unlisted Unlisted, Private Private, Private with Public Biography Private with Public Bio, Private with Public Bio and Tree Private with Public Bio and Tree, Public Public, or Open Open. Icons after names link to the person's family tree ancestors or descendants descendants. WikiTree IDs can help you create your own links. Status indicates whether the profile is managed by you Profile Manager or if a person is pending Pending i.e. they've been invited to join WikiTree but haven't responded, or active Active [Note: the colored dots don't show up in this blog post]

"Sorting: The profiles are currently sorted alphabetically by last name at birth. You can resort them in reverse alphabetical order, by date of birth, by most recent edit date, or by Privacy Level (most public first)."

The Watchlist can be paged through in 500 Profile increments, or the user can click a link to show the whole Watchlist on one page.  I usually do that!  Here is the Watchlist almost at the end of the list, in the T surnames that shows a number of Thurston Profiles that are duplicates caused by submitting my two GEDCOMs:

I want to merge the two Profiles for Job Thurston - so I note the Profile numbers for Job's two Profiles - they are "Thurston-112" and "Thurston-144."  I wrote those down, so that I'm sure to remember them. 

2)  I opened another window to access the "Merge Person Profiles" page since I wanted to leave the Watchlist page intact because I have many more duplicates to merge. 

There are two fields in the screen above for the Profile numbers for the two Profiles that I want to merge into one Profile.  I entered the two Profile numbers for Job Thurston in the fields, and clicked on the "Continue" button.

3)  The familiar "Merging ..." page opens, showing the Profile numbers for Job Thurston and his information from the two Profiles (two screens below - some overlap shown):

There is an interesting feature shown in the bottom screen above - the system found that there were probable Profile duplicates for Job Thurston's parents also - and advised me that I should merge their profiles before I merge Job Thurston's Profile.  I did that - it saved me two manual merges.  Then I click on the "Confirm Merge" button for Job Thurston and his two Profiles were merged into one.

4)  Here is the merged Job Thurston Profile:

Because I merged two duplicate Profiles for Job Thurston, there are now two sets of information for Job in the Contents section of the Profile.  For Job, there are duplicate entries for his birth, death, user ID, Reference Number, Notes, etc.  The Sources and Repositories were not duplicated, presumably because they had the same source and reference number.  This duplication will require the user to go into each merged Profile and edit out the duplicate information in order to keep the Profile as "neat" as possible.
This Merge process is much easier, more time efficient and logical to use than the Merge process in Post 10 of the series.  In my description above, keeping the Watchlist open on a separate browser window really helps if you have more than one or two duplicate merges to perform.  I put the "Merge People" page in one window and the Watchlist in another window, and when the merge occurs, a separate third window opens.  The other key feature is to write down (or try to remember) the two Profile numbers to be merged. 

The Merge process is not optimum yet - that would be the WikiTree system finding the probable duplicate Profiles and suggesting that they be merged. 


Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Looks pretty good. I'll give it a try. Thanks for the great demo! As always... ;-)

Chris Whitten said...

Hi Randy,

I'll second Dr. Bill's comment. Thanks for another great demo.

We'll aim to make this easier by providing links that don't require you to copy-and-paste the WikiTree IDs (the profile numbers) and improve the auto-matching system that makes the merge recommendations.

Keep your suggestions coming whenever you have them. Some things are technically difficult, but some things are just about the user interface. Sometimes it's just a matter of understanding how it can be more intuitive and user-friendly. That's only possible with good user feedback.