Monday, April 29, 2013

Working With My Research Logs in RootsMagic 6

I was recently asked in an email about how I was doing with my Research Logs in RootsMagic, so I thought that I would describe my process and some of my results.

This is very much an occasional task, and I really should make it a daily task after I've completed a significant task.  I have gone through several of my surname notebooks and added earlier research items to the Research Log for that surname, but I have many more notebooks, and Research Logs, to go.  In the past few months, I've concentrated on my active research tasks, especially the Family History Library research and results from my one-day March visit.

In RootsMagic 6, the Research Logs can be found on the Lists > Research Manager menu:

I had created Surname Research Logs for my 32 3rd Great-grandparent surnames, plus a few logs for my One-Name Studies.   The list of different "Research Logs" appeared.

I highlighted the "Richman Family Research (Wiltshire)" log on the screen above, and it showed the current Research Log I have created over the past few months.  

If I want to add a new research log, I can click on the "Add research log" button in the area above the list.  If I want to add an entry to a current Research Log, I can click on the "Edit research log" button in the area above the list.  I did that for the "Richman Family Research (Wiltshire)" log, and saw:

On the "Research Log" screen above, I can edit the log name, the objective of the log, select "Edit research item" or "Add research item" or "delete research item."

If I want to "Edit research item," I just click on the specific item and can edit or add to the "Research Log Entry" fields:

The fields are:

*  Date of your search
*  Reference number
*  What were you trying to find?
*  What source did you check?
*  Where did you check (repository and call#)?
*  What were the results of your search.

I'm trying to be as specific as possible in these entries without being really longwinded.

One problem I've found is that if I put a long URL in the Goal or Source/Repository columns, that the entire URL is put in that column, and the Results column gets real narrow.

RootsMagic 6 does provide a way for To-Do list entries to be added to the Research Log.  On the "Edit Person" screen, I clicked on the "To-Do" button and the list of To-Do items opened:

The list shows that I have four closed items, and one open item on the list for James Richman above.

I highlighted the first one, and clicked on the "Edit task" button above the list of items, and saw:

The "Edit To-Do" screen opened, and I edited the content to reflect the results, and also filled in the "Status," "Last worked," and "End date" fields.  In the lower right-hand corner there is a "Transfer to a research log" button.  I used that, chose the Richman Family Research log, and edited the Research Log item to reflect the results.

This process is fairly easy to perform.  The problem I have is consistency in my To-Do items and in my Research Log entries.

I have chosen to do Research Logs on a surname basis rather than on a family basis.  That way all of the information for a set of ancestral families, plus any others of the Surname, are available in one Research Log.  It keeps the list of Research Logs shorter, also.  This seems to work pretty well for me - now I need to "fill in the blanks" from the surname notebooks moldering in my bookcase against the window wall.

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


Linda Schreiber said...

Marvelous post, Randy!
I started working with the Research Log a few months ago when I got the upgrade from 4 to 6. And I didn't realize that it linked so well with the to-do list.
I had been treating it, I think, too much like a paper research log....
Your post gave me a hopefully great idea. I have so many notebooks and downloaded images that have not yet been fully analyzed and entered. If I use the To-Do list as a place to list and process these things, and then coordinate with the research log to follow up with further questions to work on from those findings, I think this will work really well for me.
When you spoke of inconsistency in use of To-Do and Research Log, it hit me.
There is hope!!!! ;-)

Kim Ashford said...

The research log is one of my favorite features of RootsMagic! I love to enter my results of my searches as I go, such as when I am looking at microfilm. My only wish is that I could access my database without closing the research log.

Nancy said...

Thanks for this clear description of your research logs in Roots Magic. This is an area I have been putting off because I wasnt sure how to be efficient in switching over. Your idea about surnames as one log strikes me as good organization. Think I'll try it!