From: Isaac Koi <isaackoi.nul> Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2011 16:51:09 +0100 Archived: Fri, 30 Sep 2011 06:22:08 -0400 Subject: Re: Larry Hatch's *U* Website Up & Running >From: Rick Nielsen <nilthchi.nul> >To: post.nul >Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2011 08:16:38 -0700 (PDT) >Subject: Re: Larry Hatch's *U* Website Up & Running >>From: Mary Castner <m.castner.nul> >>To: PROJECT-1947.nul >>Date: Sat, 24 Sep 2011 19:30:38 -0500 >>Subject: Larry Hatch's *U* Website Up & Running >>Larry Hatch's Website *U* UFO DATABASE Is Up And Running Again >>www.larryhatch.net >That's great news! >But how does Larry's database compare with Peter Davenport's >National UFO Reporting Center: >http://www.nuforc.org/ ? >Does Peter's include Larry's data plus everything since? Hi Rick, In the absence of any other response to your questions, I'll have a stab at them. The short answer to your two questions above is: (1) It doesn't really compare at all, and (2) No, Peter's database does not include Larry's data. Larry's database is _very_ different in objectives and content to Peter's report database. Peter's database acts as an index to the reports submitted to Peter's "National UFO Reporting Center". It allows those reports to be sorted by the date of the incident, by state within the USA, by the shape of the UFO or the date submitted to the Center. A typical entry in Peter's database looks like the one below: http://www.nuforc.org/webreports/083/S83339.html "Occurred : 8/21/2011 12:00 (Entered as : 08212011 12:00) Reported: 8/21/2011 2:18:14 PM 14:18 Posted: 8/21/2011 Location: Mansfield, TX Shape: Cylinder Duration:one minute Cylindrical object seen in Tarrant County TX While driving north on Bennet Lawson Road, observed a cylindrical object at 2:00 in the sky just south of 1187 (Debbie Lane). Object was white in color and having 2 window like openings to the left and right divided by a single bar. The color of the windows and bar were bluish grey. As we proceeded down Bennet Lawson we drove under a large tree limb with leaves and after clearing the branch the object vanished." On the other hand, Larry's database is more like CUFOS's UFOCAT database in that it contains brief entries of UFO sightings found in the UFO literature (books, journals etc) - from cases such as Kenneth Arnold's sightings to thousands of less well known cases. Larry's database, like UFOCAT, acts as a useful bibliography. Unlike UFOCAT, Larry's database was intended to be filtered catalogue of higher quality UFO reports. Larry's database is closely interwoven with mapping and analysis software, which allow his software to produce relevant maps and various reports/graphs. Those aspects of the database look a bit primitive now, since it was all done in Microsoft DOS in the pre-Windows era (for those of you that remember such a time...). The entries in Larry's database are very brief and dense, with lots of abbreviations to save memory. (The database was supplied on a single floppy disc and the entire database would now fit in a very small corner of the memory on my mobile phone). A typical entry would include something along the lines of the following (accompanied with a matrix of three letter codes indicating whether the sighting featured, or lacked, various attributes): "1432: 1949/08/20 22:50 1 106:47:00 W 32:18:40 N 3333 NAM USA NMX 8:A LAS CRUCES,NM:ASTRONOMER TOMBAUGH:ROW/SQR WINDOWS >SE as if ATTACHED:/FSRv15#3 Ref# 74 EDWARDS,Frank: F.S. SERIOUS BUSINESS Page No. 23 : TOWN &CITY" I briefly wrote about Larry's database (and other UFO research software, including UFOCAT) on this List about 6 years ago, in a post which appears in the archives at: http://ufoupdateslist.com/2005/feb/m13-001.shtml Larry's database includes rankings (by Larry) of each sighting based on Hynek's Strangess/Credibility criteria. See my summary of that system and various attempts to apply it at: http://tinyurl.com/2wss8ms That item included the following: There has been a considerable amount of discussion Hynek’s Strangeness and Probability Ratings. Robert Moore has referred to these ratings as "iconic and widespread" (see Footnote 20.24). However, there has in fact been very limited application of them. The reasons for the limited application are unclear. The Hynek Strangeness and Probability Ratings do not appear to be used in the huge UFO database (UFOCAT) sold by the organisation Hynek founded, CUFOS. UFOCAT entries do, however, include numbers in relation to Vallee’s SVP criteria discussed in PART 21: Quantitative criteria: Vallee’s SVP ratings. I have contacted the researcher that has managed the UFOCAT project since about 1990 (Donald Johnson) and understand from him that the Hynek Strangeness and Probability Ratings were was never "formally adopted" by UFOCAT. Before 1990, and after David Saunders and Fred Merritt stopped working on UFOCAT, it went through a period when it was "out of favour with Hynek, presumably because of Willy Smith's efforts to invent UNICAT as a replacement. The UFOCAT record layout therefore "remained stagnant and no new fields were added" until Donald Johnson started work on UFOCAT around 1990. He began working on re- creating UFOCAT "by first adding many pages of case coding that had been done by CUFOS staff in the early 1980s" and noticed that "no one had attempted to add the strangeness and probability ratings" and so "that probably influenced me to be as expedient as possible and not add the Hynek ratings when I expanded the number of fields". From an article published in the MUFON Journal in 1976, it appears that at least some of those that worked on UFOCAT had envisaged that Hynek's Strangeness and Probability Ratings would be added (see Footnote 20.22). That article indicates that at that time columns 133-136 of UFOCAT's records related to "Credibility (to be computed)" while columns 137-140 relate to "Strangeness (to be computed)". Another MUFON publication a couple of years later contains some analysis of some of various fields within the UFOCAT records and notes that the columns above column 120 (i.e. including the columns designated for Strangeness and Credibility Ratings) "are devoted to detail coding, and are not in active use at this time" (see Footnote 20.23). Donald Johnson’s view, having managed the largest existing UFO database for about two decades, is that "applying probability ratings is not that difficult, but I have never seen a written codification of the process to apply the strangeness ratings". He decided that "without sufficient guidance and because I could not go back and ask Hynek about it, as he had died in 1985" that he would decided not to include either of these ratings. However, Larry Hatch’s *U* database (the second largest UFO database, after UFOCAT, of which I am aware) does include Strangeness and Probability Ratings, but that database can only be accessed on modern computers if considerable effort is made since Larry Hatch developed his own database software for use under MS-DOS. Few computer systems purchased after about 2002 will have an operating system compatible with the software developed by Larry Hatch. (It is currently still possible to run a "Virtual PC" on a modern computer that simulates an older computer environment capable of running the *U* database, but involves several steps - see Footnote 20.25. The necessary backwards compatibility is now reaching its limit, with that method not working on the very latest incarnation of the Windows operating system, i.e. Windows 7]. Donald Johnson has commented that while Larry Hatch did make the effort to add Strangeness and Probability Ratings, Larry Hatch "has never really defined and operationalized how he would assign these codes" so Donald Johnson "hesitated to follow suit" (see Footnote 20.19). Another database (Willy Smith's UNICAT) also included Strangeness Ratings. According to UFO researcher Jan Aldrich, it included "strangeness values assigned by Hynek" (see Footnote 20.26). Unfortunately, Willy Smith died in 2006 and he, according to Jan Aldrich, used "used a computer program which is obsolete". Jan Aldrich is in possession of paper copies of the content of UNICAT, but this consists of "500+" records, with each record having a separate page. I am not aware of any plan to make those records available to other researchers and this would, presumably, be a time-consuming task. (I do not know how many hundreds of hours were spent by Larry Hatch and Willy Smith creating and maintaining their respective databases, but I note in passing that the above couple of paragraphs should provide some sobering facts for the next generation of UFO researchers that are currently planning and creating new UFO databases). All the best, Isaac Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast At: http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/sdi/program/ These contents above are copyright of the author and UFO UpDates - Toronto. They may not be reproduced without the express permission of both parties and are intended for educational use only.
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