Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Starting up with the COCP

Your disc has arrived plus far too many instructions and a pre-formatted spreadsheet. What next?

First, the disc. The LDS-supplied discs contain lots and lots of jpg files. Each one is a page and each one has to be opened individually. Acrobat Reader does not work with them. Probably the best thing to do is download the free software IrfanView. This is a Paintshop-like piece of software that enables you to manipulate the images.

How you transcribe is largely up to you. Some people transcribe to paper first, but most probably transcribe straight into the spreadsheet. A number of you are printing the images and transcribing from them straight into a spreadsheet. You can transcribe horizontally or vertically. Personally, I always do it vertically, a page at a time. I do the forenames first, then the surnames and then work to the right. Finally I fill in the details to the left of the surnames. You may find it easier to transcribe at least your first six pages onto paper and then input them into the spreadsheet.

The spreadsheet comes to you formatted as.csv (comma separated variables). We use this because it reduces the size of the files and this matters because all files are sent by email on our project. It should open in the most common WP spreadsheet programmes, MSWord and MSWorks. It you can’t get it to open, launch your spreadsheet programme and try to open the file from within the programme. If all else fails, let me know and I’ll resend the file formatted so that you can open it.

Once you have it open, resave it as a normal spreadsheet. Forget about .csv till you have completed the task.

A major problem is squeezing everything into a 15” screen. Irfanview will allow you to reduce the size of the image area being displayed. The spreadsheet can be seized by the bottom right hand corner and made smaller. The luxourious solution is the one adopted by me – I have two flat screens hooked up to my computer. However, I was lucky in that a computer I was discarding had a 15 inch flat screen and all I had to do was buy a second video card.

Other people are running a laptop alongside their desktop. And at least one volunteer is using a TV as a second screen.

Your first target is to produce six pages for a "health" check. Do read the Field Descriptions and the General Instructions. The answers to most questions are in them.

Good luck!

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