16 Replies Latest reply on Jun 13, 2020 11:40 PM by Melissa Himes

    Getting locked out during transcribing

    Brenda Kleager Wayfarer

      I have two issues re:lated to transcribing for Citizen Archivists. The first I figured out, but it's still annoying. When I first sign in via the National Archives home page,  I get this message on the screen:

       

      The first several times, I kept trying to log in again. Then I noticed the upper right ribbon that shows I am signed in. So why do I get the weird "Page not found. 404" message? When I click on my account name, I go right to my account. It's not a big deal since I've figured it out, but it's still annoying.

       

      Second issue, which is beyond annoying: I often make time for a lengthy session when I have time to transcribe. I haven't timed it, but it's probably an hour - my best guess; could be more or less. Anyway, I do save fairly regularly during my session - I either save every 5-10 minutes or when I get to a natural stopping point. Then out of the blue (it could be very soon after I just saved), I get this message:

       

      I certainly haven't been "inactive" if I've been transcribing for an hour. And, of course, I click on Save. Most of the time it doesn't save my work, and in fact I lose what I've typed in from my last save (or before?). Then I can't continue to transcribe unless I close what I've done and sign in again. Curious.

       

      Is anyone else experiencing this? What can I do to prevent this? Thanks in advance!

      Brenda

        • Re: Getting locked out during transcribing
          Melissa Himes Adventurer

          I have been dealing with the second problem for years.  I save my work every couple of minutes which really cuts down on the flow of transcribing and just adds more and more entries to our logs.   I sent a detailed email to Suzanne Isaacs on Feb. 11 2019 identifying the problem, the time it occurred, the transcription I was working on, my operating system, etc.  She sent it on to the developers.  Perhaps they need more examples?  

          I have never had to close the program and sign in again.  JMO - but this happens when another transcriber enters into the same project.  Sometimes I work on the last page of  "don't leave me hanging" docs and try not to save for as long as possible.  That seems to cut down on the interruption message and you can get more work done.  But, it is disheartening to enter 90 words or more in a minute or two and "poof" they disappear with no warning! 

          When this keeps happening time and time again, I close the program down and move on to another transcription website. 

          The first problem has been popping up pretty consistently for the last few months.  It is very annoying. 



          3 people found this helpful
          • Re: Getting locked out during transcribing
            Meredith Doviak Adventurer

            Dear Brenda,

             

            Thank you for alerting us to these issues you experienced while transcribing in the Catalog.

             

            With regard to the first issue about the 404 error message when already signed in, we are aware of this issue, and we are working to fix the message. We agree that this message is confusing, since as you noted, you are in fact already logged in! At the very least, we hope to change the message to confirm whether you are already logged in.

             

            As for the inactivity message, and subsequent loss of work, we sincerely apologize for this. This certainly should not happen, and I have shared your report with our developers to further investigate the cause of this. I hope to have an answer for you shortly.

             

            Thank you again for alerting us to these issues. We sincerely apologize for any confusion and frustration these issues have caused. We appreciate your work as a Citizen Archivist.

             

            Sincerely,

            Meredith

            3 people found this helpful
            • Re: Getting locked out during transcribing
              Marilyn Beasley Newbie

              Hi, Brenda.  I can’t stop the “404” or the “Inactivity” messages from showing up, but I can help you save what you typed.  When you see the “Inactivity” message, touch the arrow pointing to the right on the page you are transcribing from.  You will get this message:  “Alert.  There are unsaved transcription modifications.  Do you want to save them now?”  Answer “Yes.”  You will immediately be brought to the next page of the document you were working on.  If you touch the arrow pointing left, you will see the page you were on, with all your work intact.  The “Inactivity” message will still show up, so “Close” out of the document, then go right back in at the page you were transcribing.  You can now continue transcribing that page, move to the next page, a previous page, whatever you want.  This doesn’t mean the “Inactivity” message won’t show up again, but you won’t lose your transcribing work.  Hope this helps.

              6 people found this helpful
                • Re: Getting locked out during transcribing
                  Brenda Kleager Wayfarer

                  Thank you for your time for responding to both issues. I do hope that your developers will be able to correct both concerns. 

                   

                  In the meantime, please know that I'm finding the experience of transcribing very rewarding and fascinating. The project I'm working on (Civil War pension application of over 100 pages, including letters) reads like a novel. I can't wait to find out what happens next as I work through the documents.

                   

                  Brenda

                • Re: Getting locked out during transcribing
                  Sarah Cabbage Newbie

                  Meredith Doviak I just want to chime in and say that I've experienced the "locked out for inactivity" bug too.  Several times, on both Firefox and Chrome browsers.  It seems like the system doesn't recognize actively typing as activity, only hitting the save button, and I sometimes continue to see the warning immediately after hitting Save.  It's very frustrating when it happens and I've forgotten to hit Save as I go along and lose nearly an entire page of transcribing.

                  2 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Getting locked out during transcribing
                      Meredith Doviak Adventurer

                      Sarah Cabbage, thank you for reporting your experience as well. These are all helpful pieces to share with our developers as they investigate the problem. We are so sorry about any lost work you experienced while transcribing. I imagine that is so much more than just frustrating! Thank you for sticking with us as we work through these issues. We sincerely appreciate all your work as a Citizen Archivist.

                        • Re: Getting locked out during transcribing
                          debbie jones Newbie

                          I am also having issues with the site.  I find myself saving after almost every sentence because I never know when the program is going to "reset"? and erase all of my work without warning.  Sometimes when I save my work, I get a spinning circle for over a minute and a half.  Very frustrating.  So I am assuming that since these posts were made, there has been no improvements.  I clear out my cookies and my cache also and that does not eliminate the problem.  As was said above, I get frustrated and move on to another website to transcribe.

                            • Re: Getting locked out during transcribing
                              Meredith Doviak Adventurer

                              Dear Debbie,

                               

                              Thank you for reporting this issue. I am so sorry your experience as been a frustrating one. Our developers are aware of these issues and are investigating them. We do not have a resolution yet, but it is helpful to have these reports to draw on, so we appreciate you letting us know. Although we know this does not solve the problem yet, or make the experience any less frustrating. Thank you again for reporting this, and for your work as a citizen archivist.

                               

                              Sincerely,

                              Meredith   

                                • Re: Getting locked out during transcribing
                                  Natalie Buck Newbie

                                  Hi Meredith - came over here to see what the heck I'm doing wrong to constantly get the "inactivity" warning and lock/reset. I too am saving after every couple of sentences. It really should read my clicking "save" (because it IS saving) and acknowledge that I'm active.

                                  This seems to be a continuing problem for over a year now - is there a better way to get in contact with the developers/IT?

                                    • Re: Getting locked out during transcribing
                                      Meredith Doviak Adventurer

                                      Hi Natalie,

                                      Thank you for letting us know, and again I apologize for the error messages you are receiving while you transcribe. Our developers are actively looking into this, but have been unable to identify the cause thus far. Could you possible share the URL or the page or name of the record you were transcribing when these errors are happening? Any other information you could provide, such as what browser you are using might also help us isolate the issue. Thank you so much.

                                       

                                      Sincerely,

                                      Meredith

                                        • Re: Getting locked out during transcribing
                                          Gary Gansky Newbie

                                          I am a new user to Citizen Archives and have been repeatedly experiencing both problems of "lock out" and "disappearing text".   Highly annoying after transcribing large amounts of text to watch it disappear.  Saving my work seems to make no difference.

                                           

                                          Considering how long these problems have remain unresolved, for now I will stop spinning my wheels on transcribing for the National Archives and stick with the Library of Congress and Smithsonian, for whom I also transcribe.

                                            • Re: Getting locked out during transcribing
                                              Annette Grant Newbie

                                              I am also having the same problems, with loading of the page, the 404 problem and also from the "out of the blue" - spinning (loading) circle image going on and on for minutes and then not saving my work, (we just never know when that's going to happen) extremely frustrating!

                                               

                                              I found that I got the 404 message too, simply because I already had an active page or multiple pages open. So I closed those and went back to the first open page. Problem solved for that, kinda sorta, I thought, until I realized that quickly saving it, because I had to step away, and going back to the first opened page, either didn't save any of my subsequent work. OR...

                                               

                                              Saving it after every line, because of the unpredictable loading image popping up, while again actively working on a page (which made no sense) and also opened the page up for someone else to complete my work on the page, that I was trying to work on! And whoever it was, made it look nothing like the original, whatsoever, and also missing letters of words! Which was completely frustrating and very unsatisfactory for "official" records, while changing all of my work, and in their "saving" process, locked me out from correcting their incorrect corrections!

                                               

                                              The loading icon, out of the blue, is probably because the developers didn't give enough time for working on a page, before it "times out" - which should never happen, because on the National Archives and the other related sites, there are citizen archivists, working from different platforms, at their own pace, and from different devices!

                                               

                                              Genealogy websites, allow users to have the options to be able to log in for a couple of hours or log on for two weeks. If someone logs on for the shorter time, as long as they are actively typing, users are never timed out, and can continue to work for hours, for whatever amount of time they have to work, it also saves information "as you go" without interrupting "work in progress" and users only seem to be automatically logged out after an hour of inactivity, if they choose the lesser of the log in options!

                                               

                                              After reading this whole thread, another suggestion I have for the developers is to make it so that NOT more than one person can be on the same page or have it open at the same time! (Since we are instructed to choose an untagged page, we should be able to work on the page we chose, without it being hijacked) I was in the middle of my first transcription, had to step away for a couple minutes, only to have it hijacked when I came back, and I didn't even recognise it as the work I had done! I was furious, to say the least!

                                               

                                              Being that these sites have volunteers working on them, it really pays to have the most user friendly, relaxed, yet secure program you can have!

                                              Even as volunteers, is our responsibility, as citizen archivists, to get records exact and as accurate as possible, or seriously, go do something else!

                                               

                                              Another frustration, even in just trying to get this response out, is that it "timed me out" right in the middle of typing and I had to log back in again! It saved the draft, and allowed me to pick it back up again and continue with the message, however we don't even have that option on a page we are working on in National Archives! If you save your work in the middle of a page, it takes you to the next page, and continues opening extra pages as you go with every save, next thing you know you've got 10 pages open, when you thought you were working on one!

                                               

                                              Seriously, the National Archives website needs programmers who aren't afraid to better test out the system, their own programs, by doing a little archive work from a regular computer and multiple other (non-programmer) devices, to find the glitches! NOT using their programmer computers/laptops/devices, which will not show them the problems we see. And work long enough, archiving a page, to experience ALL of the issues we are complaining about!

                                               

                                              And sorry to be so blunt, but if there are programmers that won't do that, the sites really need other programmers who will listen and fix the bugs! These are websites representing the "gov", meaning programmers are well paid, and as such, it shouldn't take since Aug 12, 2019, for them to finally understand what we are talking about!

                                               

                                              The device I am using is an Amazon Fire Pad. It doesn't have a regular keyboard, and is slower to type on, but I can work on genealogy and other citizen volunteer documentation websites with it just fine.  Thank you for your time and attention.

                                                • Re: Getting locked out during transcribing
                                                  Jason Clingerman Adventurer

                                                  Annette Grant I want to first apologize sincerely for the issues you and many other citizen archivists have been experiencing while using the Catalog to tag, transcribe, and comment. These problems have been exacerbated by significant increases in citizen archivist activity during the pandemic. This is no excuse, but helps explain why you might be experiencing these issues much more frequently now than previously.

                                                   

                                                  We have a larger fix that will address many of these issues scheduled for deployment in June, but that is a long time away. We are working with our developers to implement some near-term fixes that will address these issues sooner. I don’t have a specific timeline for you yet, but it is something we are working diligently on getting resolved.

                                                   

                                                  I appreciate your suggestions for how we can improve the user experience, and have recorded them for us to work towards in future versions of the Catalog. The longer session times, automatic saving, methods for preventing simultaneous work by multiple users, and better time out / return to your work messages and windows are all great ideas and you’re right, we should be striving to provide the optimal user experience for you and all other citizen archivists. We appreciate your hard work, which really helps increase the findability of records for all users, and the last thing we want to do is to dissuade you from participating due to your frustrations with the user experience.

                                                   

                                                  Also, there is no need to apologize for being blunt! All of your comments are spot on. Please never hesitate to let us know what you’re experiencing and how you feel about how we’re doing. Comments like yours only push us to be better. I hope to have good news for you soon on resolving these issues. Sorry again for the trouble and frustration these issues have caused you to date, and I thank you for weathering them and continuing to contribute to our Catalog.

                                                   

                                                  3 people found this helpful
                                                    • Re: Getting locked out during transcribing
                                                      Allison Brochu Newbie

                                                      I'm very hopeful that the problem of unlocking the record after "5 minutes of inactivity" will be fixed soon ---- it's now June!

                                                       

                                                      It's so frustrating - I save after practically every line and I almost never stop typing. I should be noted as "active". Sometimes I'll go to save (after one line) and the message pops up that my record will be "unlocked". It didn't even tell me this until I went to do my usual saving!

                                                       

                                                      When I get this I close the record I'm working on, refresh the page then enter in my page number and go back to transcribing.

                                                       

                                                      I'm hoping there will be a resolution soon!

                                                        • Re: Getting locked out during transcribing
                                                          Melissa Himes Adventurer

                                                          Don't hold your breath, but, it is refreshing to see an apology and a promise.  This problem may be exacerbated by the pandemic, but, it has been a plague for years.   I reported the "5 minutes of inactivity" problem 5 years ago and 6999 transcriptions later, we are still waiting for the cure.  But, I will admit that this inconvenience was not the only problem with this site that led me to impose a "self-quarantine" from Citizen Archivists.  The instructions, mostly in regard to whether to transcribe for searchability and readability as opposed to confusing the transcriptions with worthless  formatting notes, coupled with the incorrect use of the comments sections led me continue this important work on more user friendly sites.