USMS History & Archives Committee

The Process for Building an "All-Americans Since 1972" File

This is the on-line version of the official list of All-Americans published by the national office of USMS. The title "All-American" is only used with any swimmer in the Top Ten web site if their "permanent swimmer id" appears (in parenthesis) after a name of an All-American in this list. Until the "id" appears in this list, swimmers are called "#1 Swimmers" rather than "All-Americans".

This part of the Top Ten web site is work in progress. This is far more difficult work than any other parts of the Top Ten web site because our source material is not in computer readable form.

Our goal is to have a totally reliable list of USMS All-Americans from the beginning (AAU days). The manner in which this data is presented at this time is in a database format because this is the way the data must be stored. When the database is complete and accurate, then we'll redesign the web pages to make them more attractive and readable. The information is available on-line because the people who are doing this work are communicating this way.

Twenty two people have made this project possible. Meegan Wilson (Florida LSMC) is scanning source documents and converting them to text. Carl House (Florida Gold Coast LMSC) is converting the text to a database and posting the data to the web. Esther Lyman (New England LMSC) is matching names to data from the USMS Registration file. Tracy Grilli, Dorothy Donnelly, June Krauser and Nancy Ridout are acting as client, answering questions -- and putting in their nickel (or million dollars) to make sure this is accurate and complete. Ceil Blackwell, Sally Dillon, Maureen Koss, Peter W. Lee, Esther Lyman, Debbie Morrin, Ginger Pierson, Joan Smith, Joe Tesmer, Skip Thompson, Earl Walter, Rhea Wilkins, Rick Windes, Mary Beth Windrath and Jill Wright have divided up the database and proofread it all to make sure it is accurate.

Rules of the road:
Our intent has been that data will be presented exactly like the official USMS source documents. This was intended to mean we would not correct misspelled names or make any other changes unless so directed by someone in authority. In practice, we are keeping the name the same as our source documents in the right hand side of the table, but name in the left hand side is intended to be as the person is registered today or at the most recent time.
The kinds of errors that are most likely in this process are these:
1) We might have a page missing in our source documents and thus miss 1988 long distance All-Americans, or some other group. Where we have All-Stars, they should be identified (a new field).
2) Meegan's OCR process can easily read an "l" for an "i", or an "o" for an "e". She's being careful to check work and make corrections, but we shouldn't expect her to be perfect, especially since it is her work that is the most time consuming. So we want to make sure names are spelled here exactly as they are in the source documents.
3) We are saving certain work for last. For example, some data shows age group in the name field and shows "all" in the age group field; it's easier to make these corrections at the end, and there's less chance of error this way.

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