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Our Policy On Correcting Errors

by SteveTuesday, February 21, 2006

Quite often we receive e-mail from users letting us know that they spotted an error in one of the cemetery transcriptions published here on Interment.net.

Most of the time, they're just sending us a "heads up", but there are others who insist that we change the record.

Our policy has been that we don't change these records unless we are asked to do so by the person who submitted the transcription to us. The "submitter" is almost always the person who created the transcription, though there are some instances where the "author" was someone else.

The reasons for having this policy are...
  1. We recognize the transcription as being the work of the submitter, and respect their work by giving them the "right of first refusal" on all corrections. Moreover, we don't wish to act as a messenger of e-mail traffic between the submitter and the person reporting an error. If you believe you found an error, please contact the submitter.


  2. Transcriptions are not "living documents" subjected to modification and correction in a public forum. They are meant to be a word-for-word copy of an original source. It's possible the original source contained the error, and got copied to the transcription. Regardless, the transcription is supposed to depict what was contained on the original source, errors and all. They are not meant to represent the truth. If we change a piece of information, then you're no longer seeing what was actually written on a tombstone or sexton record. It's your job as a genealogist to determine what the truth is.


  3. We cannot verify the validity of the corrected information. When someone writes to us about an error, we cannot verify if the "correct" information actually is correct. The only person who can do this is the person who authored the transcription. Therefore, we set this policy of accepting corrections only from the submitter.
Some people have voiced concerns that the inaccurate information found in a transcription will cause problems with family histories published by amateur genealogists. Yes, knowing some amateur genealogists, that's true. But the responsibility lies with the genealogist to determine what information is accurate. Our job is to provide a place to access these transcriptions.

But that doesn't mean we publish any transcription "willy nilly". Maggie Rail, our editor, has the job of reviewing submissions for quality and thoroughness, and rejects transcriptions she feels is lacking. She has an extensive background in transcribing cemeteries, in several states and countries, and has the qualifications to make this decision.

It's because we are indeed concerned about quality that we don't accept corrections from anyone other than the submitter.

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