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January 15, 2018
The SAR Patriot Records Committee is pleased to announce the launch of a new website: the Patriot Research System (http://sarpatriots.sar.org), which will replace the existing Patriot Index system (http://patriot.sar.org).
We believe the new site provides a substantial improvement in both usability and data capabilities. We hope you enjoy and find this new site to be very useful to you.
Announcing the Patriot Research System 2
Noteworthy Updates and Information
New and Updated Search Capabilities
Instead of just searching for Patriots, the new site allows searching within several different categories from the main page:
• SAR Member
• Descendants (limited data)
Additionally, search options are available for the last name, which include:
• Exact matching
• Begins With
• Sounds Like (e.g. soundex)
These last 2 options help significantly in finding a record when names could be spelled in several ways
Enhanced Biography Support and Reporting
This new site supports:
• Multiple Biography entries per Patriot record.
• The ability to use rich-text formatting for the biographies going forward, which will significantly improve formatting of that data.
• Because of the enhanced formatting capabilities, it is now much simpler (and encouraged) to include footnotes and references to other source materials for a given patriot.
• Better ability to credit the appropriate Chapter with submission given the leverage of SAR HQ data (noted below in more detail).
The site now supports effectively unlimited number of Headstones per Patriot record. (previous site limited to 2)
Browser navigation works as expected
The website is based on standard web technologies, so the browser interaction (hitting return to submit forms, the back button, etc) all work as expected.
Additionally, there are many more hyperlinks to navigate throughout the website, including links directly to DAR GRS entries where applicable.
We’ve made significant efforts to make this site mobile friendly (tablets / phones).
Announcing the Patriot Research System 3
Visualization of Information
In the old system, all data was associated solely to a Patriot record. You navigate to that Patriot record in order to see associated data. This was extremely limiting in terms of both search and presentation capabilities. This new system has the ability to view relationships between membership and patriots from either direction For example, viewing a member to see associated Patriot records.
Patriot record searches make it obvious which records have applications, biographies and headstones associated.
Full data from Filemaker
All data in the previous http://patriot.sar.org site has been migrated to this new system in their entirety. The caveat is that if there was bad/incorrect data within the old system, that same data is likely still an issue in the new site. An example that we’ve heard is that date formats are inconsistent. That’s because of issues within the old system, and now that we are on the new system, we will be able to address those kinds of issues going forward.
That said, this new system provides us significant abilities to find bad data, leverage better ways to ensure good data gets entered, and so forth. Additionally, this positions us to be able to extend/enhance other pieces of functionality going forward.
Announcing the Patriot Research System 4
Leverage Data from NSSAR HQ
We added the ability to import data from HQ for several components:
• Member information – non-privileged data (Names, National#, and Society/State)
• All known associations of Members and their proven Patriots (this includes supplemental info)
• Info on all the Societies/States and their Chapters
This is based on the same information as the current membership database (memberinfo).
Going forward, we can utilize future data imports to make the data within this site much more current than the old system could ever have been. While the National data does not associate a Member to a Patriot P#, we still can see and utilize that relationship and make it available to be seen. These entries are marked unindexed on the site.
By leveraging the SAR HQ data, we significantly improve the overall data quality on this site, and gain access to significantly more data. While not all applications are indexed to specific Patriot Records, this new data import provides more than 24,000 additional applications in the SAR Patriot Research System than was in the previous Patriot Index system. The last data import was from Jan 8, 2018 and included all new members to that point in time, providing very current information.
Significantly improved data relationships
While not visible to the general user, we have significantly updated the internal data relationships between data. This is why we can do so much more with regards to information presentation to users, and also makes it easier to add accurate data going forward.
Still not available online (no change in that regard), however, it should be significantly easier to find appropriate information and record copies.
Designed for Future SAR IT systems
Application architecture was designed with an eye towards the overall IT projects and how we could leverage that data in the future. The programming/development is similar to what is used in the larger SAR IT projects. From a data capability, ideally, instead of receiving exports of data from NSSAR HQ, we would either directly access the same information, or leverage a set of APIs providing the same information to this site in a programmatic method.