Sharing an MLS Database

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
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daddy-o-p40
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Postby daddy-o-p40 » Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:48 am

My stake has bought additional computers as needed for the family history center. Our clerks office is so small not sure where we'd put a 2nd computer. However, Bishops have asked for a terminal in their offices which can see (read only) info from MLS before.

Whatever the circumstances.....I'd make sure the 2nd install of MLS in your case had no way to communicate otherwise it would lead to data integrity issues.
"What have I done for someone today?" Thomas Monson

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iamdavid
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Postby iamdavid » Fri Sep 12, 2008 4:51 am

Interesting thought, Daddy-O

If a passive installation of MLS was located in a separate PC in the bishop's office, it would be necessary to ensure even the bishop could not Edit Membership.

That sounds extreme?

Had a bishopric member who said the bishop should have a copy of everybody's password. I pointed out he has no need to masquerade as someone else and the clerk can give him a new one when he forgets his old!

This once again is a classic case of the temptation to "keep a dog and bark oneself". (Odd how people find that expression so repugnant - but don't hesitate to meddle)

Another solution to bishop's needs is for them to learn how to adequately and properly delegate. By actually holding people responsible, when they are delegated, and by making sure such people are specifically and properly trained, the system works. Blandly relying on, "Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies" is simply instilling the culture of mediocrity. Counsellors, secretaries, presidents and leaders should be able to manage their end of the bishop's stewardship. If not - why not?

I know. I'm a hard man *sigh*

The responsibility of the ward clerk is to lighten the administrative burden on the bishop. That means the bishop needs to slough off some of that to the one who is 'responsible' for record keeping and preparing reports.

I also don't know how a 'passive' copy of MLS could be set up. In order for it to be regularly updated by the clerk it would have to inherit the characteristics of the normal MLS application. If you mean a new concept for Church Policy, of having 'domesticated' data display terminals running as slaves of MLS, it begs the question(s): Would the central MLS have to be running? ; What security would be required in other compartments, open to a 'wider' membership, rather than the Clerk's Office, where the computer itself is behind a locked door? ; Further to that, would such be accessible to the Relief Society president, EQ President and HP Group leader? Security becomes vaguer the farther it is from source.

I thought Palm files and data Exports were quite good answers to all these 'needs'.
But then, I find it necessary to NOT be only a Sunday Mormon! heh

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Fri Sep 12, 2008 5:34 am

daddy-o wrote:Whatever the circumstances.....I'd make sure the 2nd install of MLS in your case had no way to communicate otherwise it would lead to data integrity issues.


WenU wrote:If a passive installation of MLS was located in a separate PC in the bishop's office, it would be necessary to ensure even the bishop could not Edit Membership.


In this rare circumstance (more on that later), if you follow daddy-o's sound advice and the 2nd install of MLS can't communicate (do a Send/Receive), then the Edit Membership role is irrelevant. No changes made would ever have any impact on the actual membership records, nor on the active primary installation of MLS. The second copy is purely read-only.

But this whole discussion seems quite tangential. Wards are only supposed to have one administrative computer. They will never be authorized to obtain more than one under current policy. MLS data may not be installed on any computer other than the Church-owned administrative computer. I suppose a ward might have an old computer that they obtained prior to current policies, but it would have to be quite old. So we are either talking about a very rare circumstance that won't last long anyway, or we are talking about something that is out of policy, and thus not appropriate to this forum.

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daddy-o-p40
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Postby daddy-o-p40 » Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:42 am

WenU wrote:Interesting thought, Daddy-O

If a passive installation of MLS was located in a separate PC in the bishop's office, it would be necessary to ensure even the bishop could not Edit Membership.

That sounds extreme?

Had a bishopric member who said the bishop should have a copy of everybody's password. I pointed out he has no need to masquerade as someone else and the clerk can give him a new one when he forgets his old!

This once again is a classic case of the temptation to "keep a dog and bark oneself". (Odd how people find that expression so repugnant - but don't hesitate to meddle)

Another solution to bishop's needs is for them to learn how to adequately and properly delegate. By actually holding people responsible, when they are delegated, and by making sure such people are specifically and properly trained, the system works. Blandly relying on, "Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies" is simply instilling the culture of mediocrity. Counsellors, secretaries, presidents and leaders should be able to manage their end of the bishop's stewardship. If not - why not?

I know. I'm a hard man *sigh*

The responsibility of the ward clerk is to lighten the administrative burden on the bishop. That means the bishop needs to slough off some of that to the one who is 'responsible' for record keeping and preparing reports.

I also don't know how a 'passive' copy of MLS could be set up. In order for it to be regularly updated by the clerk it would have to inherit the characteristics of the normal MLS application. If you mean a new concept for Church Policy, of having 'domesticated' data display terminals running as slaves of MLS, it begs the question(s): Would the central MLS have to be running? ; What security would be required in other compartments, open to a 'wider' membership, rather than the Clerk's Office, where the computer itself is behind a locked door? ; Further to that, would such be accessible to the Relief Society president, EQ President and HP Group leader? Security becomes vaguer the farther it is from source.

I thought Palm files and data Exports were quite good answers to all these 'needs'.
But then, I find it necessary to NOT be only a Sunday Mormon! heh


In our case it's not a delegation issue but expediency. With more and more Bishop forms (missionary, etc.) being pushed to the web it would just make it fast for them to have access to details these forms ask for upon demand.

I get the dead pan humor, but don't forget this site is an international one, so take care to not confuse our non-US Brethren who may have to translate your words. ;)
"What have I done for someone today?" Thomas Monson

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Postby lajackson » Sat Sep 13, 2008 10:06 am

daddy-o wrote:In our case it's not a delegation issue but expediency. With more and more Bishop forms (missionary, etc.) being pushed to the web it would just make it fast for them to have access to details these forms ask for upon demand.


For missionary forms, the bishop merely needs to activate an application and tell the candidate to proceed. If the clerks office has high-speed access, he can do it from there. Otherwise, he needs to do it from home.

For reports such as disciplinary council forms, the bishop does them from the clerks office computer.

One of the things the Church has done as these forms have become available, whether on the clerks computer or at a secure web site, is to make the pulling of member information automatic. And in the worst case, the bishop merely needs to ask his clerk or executive secretary to print him out a copy of the membership record.

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iamdavid
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Postby iamdavid » Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:25 am

Point taken, daddy-o. I'll mind my colloquialisms in future (aka dead-pan humor)

As for all these Forms and the like, which bishops may need to access, it's certainly the case that the number is increasing but as stated above, instances such as Online Missionary Recommendation can be accessed from home and the relevant Membership data is entered automatically from Church sources. Personal details in the Missionary case are primarily entered by the member.

In practice, which is where technology can sometimes be incorrectly utilised, we need to become sufficiently familiar with the technology we have that we can use it as the labor-saving tool it's meant to be.

For instance, a bishop may wish to access Administrative Forms at the PC in the clerk's office - but he has a clerk to do that. Printing out the Forms preparatory to a Council can be performed by the clerk. Appending hand written notes to the form, during the Council, is the clerk's responsibility. Entering the final version of 'notations' to the Form can be done by the clerk, who saves the Form (for 90 days) and prints it for the bishop's signature and transmissal to stake.

Bishop's should not HAVE to deal with hands-on clerical tasks - that is the responsibility of the clerk.

THE great benefit of the new system is that Forms submitted to Church Headquarters will now be uniformly legible, as opposed to some of the hand written documents which must be on file back at SLC. I love it! My own "spider dipped in ink" scrawl can be quite venomous to translate. heh

Letting go might be a challenge for some priesthood leaders who's personal style is to be particularly 'hands-on'. This was the burden of my delegation comment above. Not all find it simple to delegate and let go.


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