This page updated 25 Apr 2023
John Cardinal, creator of several companion programs to facilitate genealogical research and publication, has written some amazing software to assist anyone who uses online services to for genealogical research. It's called Online Repository Assistant, or ORA, and you can read all about it on John's website. It is a "browser extension" which when added to your favorite browser adds new features as you browse your favorite genealogical services.
While many of the topics on my website are limited to The Master Genealogist, ORA can be used with any genealogy program, and even with other types of programs. Some of the examples in the Auto Type page mention issues specific to TMG, but the rest of this section applies to users of all genealogy programs.
ORA provides two separate functions when viewing a page for a genealogical service. One allows the user to record the status of any item displayed by the service so you can see instantly that you have seen it before and used it, plan to use it but haven't, found it might be useful, or rejected it. The illustration on the right shows a portion of a list of suggested records from Ancestry.com in which several of the suggestions have been marked with various status symbols.
Some early users have said this feature alone make ORA worthwhile for them. But I think the second feature will be even more useful to most users.
ORA collects the information found in the page – names, dates, places, etc. – and presents it and an easy-to-use format. This illustration on the left shows the ORA OraPanel, where the collected information is displayed, as found on a WWI Draft Registration record on Ancestry.com. The data collected can then be transferred to your genealogy program or another program in four ways:
In the articles listed below I describe in more detail some of the features of ORA and some techniques I have found useful. The articles range from general information suitable for beginning users to fairly obscure techniques of interest only to more advanced users.
Understanding and using ORA
|ORA Basics - An overview of installing and using ORA|
|Basic Tips & Tricks - A few tips on how to use ORA's basic functions|
|Template Basics - Understanding how Templates are used|
|Transforms - Some tools to transform the data items collected into your preferred format|
Enhanced Ways to Copy Data
Customizing ORA to copy data as you prefer
|Intermediate Template Methods - Some more complex Templates to format the data as you prefer|
|Template Tips & Tricks - Some ideas for getting the most out of ORA Templates|
|Auto Type Templates - Having ORA enter the data into your genealogy program itself|
|Clipboard & Memory Buttons - Copying all data items for Analysis|
|Using ORA with Census Records - A method for using ORA Templates for census records|
|Template Examples - Examples of Templates using the methods described in other articles 25 Apr 2023|
Some advanced techniques I've found useful
|Advanced Template Methods - methods useful in constructing more complex Templates|
You can also use the Search function to locate topics of interest.
If you need help in finding the best way to apply the ORA to your application and preferences I would suggest subscribing to John Cardinal's ORA support list, where John and other users are always ready to provide help. And don't forget to consult John Cardinal's very helpful and comprehensive ORA website.
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