As a genealogist, have you thought about your ‘philosophy’? For example, do you just search ancestors or do you also search descendants?
I was aware that different genealogists have differing research philosophies or goals. However, I hadn’t paid attention to differing philosophies about what is recorded in a research log. I had made an assumption that a research log was where one tracked all of the sources used. I hadn’t considered the fact that some genealogists might also include sources they want to use in their research log.
However, my eyes were opened to these differing philosophies about how a research log is used when I made a post to the RM 8 preview group asking about the transition of research logs and tasks lists from RootsMagic 7 to RootsMagic 8. Knowing about these different ways to use a research log not only made me question my own use but also helps me understand the complexity of the programming decisions going into RootsMagic 8.
RootsMagic 7 has three different ways to track research activities
- Correspondence List
- Task List — where completed tasks can be transferred to a research log
- Research Log
I have to admit that I would get an ‘F’ when it comes to consistent use of these tools. However, I did try them out and tried to force myself to use them when I first transitioned to RootsMagic. Thus, I have information in these lists and logs and am curious about how it transitions into RootsMagic 8.
In following my FB post and a couple of others regarding research logs, I learned that all three of the methods to track research activities in RM7 are merged into the list of tasks in RM8.
To understand the tasks page in RM8, I need to refer back to the three lists in RM7. For example, when I pull down the LISTS menu in RM7 and select RESEARCH MANAGER, a window opens showing the various Research Logs I created in RM7.
When I compare the list of my Research Logs in RM7 to the Tasks page in RM8, the names of the logs have become the FOLDERS in RM8. When I click on a log in RM7, it opens a window showing items in the log. For example, my Eli Bland log in RM7 has 3 items listed.
In RM7, when I highlight an item and click on Edit Research Item, another window opens showing the information I entered for the item.
In RM8, I can see the same list of items by clicking on the folder. There are three sections to this screen. The far left is the list of folders. The center TASKS area shows the list of ‘tasks’ while the far right side is the edit screen for the highlighted task.
While trying to learn how to work with these screens, I found that the way I used tasks in RM7 did not transition well into RM8. In RM7, a task has an option to ‘Transfer to a Research Log’.
I used that ‘transfer’ option when I completed a task. Thus, most of my entries on a research log are ‘Completed’. Others may have used the To-Do List in RM7 to create the task and then transferred it to a log so they could track all tasks – completed and open. These different ‘philosophies’ or ways to use the ‘to-do list’ and the research logs in RM7 are complicating how the items are imported into RM8.
Now that I understand the importing issues, I can see clues in my list of tasks that will help me understand and work with the tasks in RM8. As I look at my entire list of tasks, there are some visual clues.
- Tasks created from RM7 research logs have a priority of 6 and the priority is shaded a lighter blue.
- Tasks created from RM7 TO-DO lists have a priority of 5 and are shaded a darker blue
- Some of my tasks from RM7 TO-DO lists have a check mark in the STATUS column indicating that they are completed
Thanks to the way I created my research logs, all of those tasks with a priority of ‘6’ are likely completed. To verify whether a task is completed, I can look at the RESULTS information under the EDIT TASK on the right side of the screen.
By running the mouse across the results, a pop-up window appears showing what has been entered in this field.
Clicking on the > symbol to the far right of the Results line will open the Edit Note Slide-out. This is where changes to the RESULTS note can be made. The < symbol at the top of the EDIT NOTE Slide out will close this slide-out and save the changes to the RESULTS.
Since the results for the task indicate that this task was completed, I can change the status from ‘In progress’ to ‘Completed.’
I can also change the priority. If I change the priority to 9 (lowest), the highlighting changes to green.
As I learn about this TASKS page, there are visual clues to other ways to display this information. Besides the list or grid view, the words, ‘Filter Off,’ is a clue that I can FILTER the list. With three vertical dots in the upper right corner of the tasks lists, I’m fairly certain that symbol is a clue to additional menus.
Clicking on the three vertical dots does open a menu with options for filtering the list or printing reports.
Clicking on the FILTER TASKS menu option opens a window allowing me to manipulate my list of tasks in a variety of ways.
One of the ways that I could filter my list is by Task Type. The choices for this filter are the three lists from RM7 (Research Items, To-Do Items, Correspondence).
Thus, I could use this ‘task type’ filter to just show my correspondence tasks or to show the items from my RM7 to-do list.
Now that I understand how my use of the to-do list in RM7 transfers into RM8, I know that I have another option for filtering out the tasks that need done. I can change ‘Only show tasks with a priority this high’ to 5 and uncheck completed.
Using this filter, I now have a list of tasks that corresponds to my To-Do list in RM7.
As I’ve worked with my RM8 task list and its various screens, I’ve made another discovery. I have data that I transcribed from various sources saved in these Research logs!
Thus, I have two different types of completed tasks in my list:
- Tasks that have resulted in citations for an individual’s fact or facts
- Tasks that contain transcriptions and/or images related to my FAN club research
Even though many of my tasks are in folders for a PERSON in my data base, there currently isn’t any way to open the person’s edit screen from the TASK page. However, it is possible to open the person’s edit window and then migrate back to the TASKS and work with both at the same time.
Since I can have both the TASK and the EDIT PERSON window open at the same time, I can easily verify whether the transcriptions in the RESULTS NOTE for the task have been incorporated into the Research Notes for the SOURCE.
Thanks to the ability to have all of this information visible, verifying that the information recorded in the research log entries has been entered as a source for the individual will be easier in RootsMagic 8 than RM 7.
As I learn more about these features of RM8, I will need to decide how I want to proceed in the future.