We are pleased to announce an all new feature for the Sussex OPC scheme and this web site. Regular users can now create a user account and profile, which will enable them to do all sorts of exciting and useful things, including collaborating and communicating with those who share genealogical interests.
Currently the features are limited, but we have plans to extend the functionality for regular users. All the options available are remembered between login sessions. At present these functions are available:
The system will allow you to choose how you want dates displayed. There are many options available.
The default number of rows of data displayed is set to 16. Logged on users may choose to display any number between 2 and 50.
Pictures are displayed on the homepage, parish pages and church pages by default. You may choose to turn these off if you wish to speed up page load times.
You can enter some text to describe yourself, your research interests and, if you wish, invite others to contact you.
You can then chose whether to make your profile visible or not. If you chose not to, other registered users will be unable to contact you or see your badged interests (see below) - although it will remain visible to you allowing you to proof read your profile before you make it public if you wish.
This functionality requires the most explanation.
Once you are logged in, you will see on each Parish, Church and Image page a row of three badges, Gold, Silver and Bronze.
These are used to allow you to select parishes, churches and images to be assigned to your personal favourites (Gold being the most favourite). You do this simply be clicking on the required badge while you are visiting your favourite page. The clicked badge will then be highlighted to indicate the selection.
This enables the following features:
Once you have chosen some favourites, miniature badges next to your logon status (top right hand corner) will appear. These are fast links to your favourite pages on the site.
Once you have badged something, the highest ranking favourite will become your homepage when you login. The ranking is Parish, Church, Image (Gold, Silver, Bronze). So assuming you have a gold favourite parish, this will become your default page. We have supplied the option of turning off this functionality if you prefer to see the standard homepage.
When another registered user visits a page that has been tagged, they will see a list of people who have awarded a badge to the page and thus declared an interest in the content. If you have chosen to hide your profile, you will not appear in this list.
The following options are available prior to logging in:
This allows a user to register their account. You must use a valid email account so that we can authenticate your account. Some details are optional - the registration explains what they will be used for. To protect your account, and our database, the password validation is quite strict, and must be at least eight characters and contain at least one digit, one uppercase letter, one lower case letter and one symbol.
This allows a user to log on. There is also a login link on the top right hand corner of the window, which is where your personal links will appear once you log in. Please make every effort to remember the password, as the system will lock you out for an hour following three bad tries - which if you are in a hurry would require you to go through the Forgotten Password process. Please do not tick the remember me option if you are using the site on a public or shared computer.
Use this option if you have forgotten your user account or password. By entering either your email address or a valid account name, an email will be sent to you with instructions for gaining access to your account. Be aware that no errors are reported by this process, as this would aid hackers.
The following options appear once you have logged in:
This shows you a summary page of your chosen options, with facilities to clear or alter them.
If you decide you no longer want your account, we have given you the ability to cleanly close your account and provide optional feedback to us.
Finally a directory of all those registered users who have chosen to make their profile public. Note that while this site provides functionality to allow registered users to contact one another by email, we do not publish the email addresses in order to frustrate email harvesting scripts.
Once the user account system has bedded down, we plan to introduce additional features to really help people with their researches, as well as hopefully some fun items too! The ideas here are not promises, but an indication of our current thinking and we would really welcome ideas from our visitors!
There is a clear opportunity to add a register for research interests and requests for help. We are also considering a feature to allow users to post comments against database entries (e.g. to add additional information about an event, image, church, parish etc).
We may offer the option of an automatic email sent whenever significant changes or additions are made to the site. We could perhaps base this on the preferences expressed through the badging system.
The badging system will also enable us to determine which parishes are receiving the most interest, and perhaps direct where we need to focus our transcription efforts.
Some way off, but something that could really accelerate the coverage of the database, is to allow people to load records into the database themselves. We are currently considering how to manage the checking of data before it is published to ensure that the system cannot be abused - and to ensure the quality of the submitted records. If you have any ideas or suggestions on how this could work, please let us know!
Likewise, if there is anything that could improve your experience of the web site, we really do appreciate feedback, positive or negative!
Finally, and on a more light hearted note, we may implement an On This Day Feature - allowing people to pull up records based on, for example, their birthday or today's date.