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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > Sep > Sep 30

Re: Larry Hatch's *U* Website Up & Running

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




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