Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers

Using the Dove website: Frequently Answered Questions

Each of the issues dealt with here has been included only because we have had to supply the answer more than once, in some cases on many occasions. We have taken the liberty of re-phrasing the way each question may have been presented originally. So we suggest that a glance at the answer to one or more of the following questions may well save you e-mailing us with a specific question with regard to what is shown on the pages of this website.


1. A search doesn't seem to list the church I'm looking for within the list of those returned. Why not?

2. Why is Dove showing the wrong dedication for my church?

3. The tenor weight shown appears to be wrong. How do I get it corrected?

4. Why is the practice time (or even the practice night) shown for some towers and not others?

5. How do I find out a particular tower's Sunday service ringing times?

6. Why is some text shown in green?

7. What does (M) after a church's dedication mean (or GF, or S, or T)?

8. Some of the entries in the results table have their entry number underlined. Why is that?

9. How do I create a custom POIs file of selected towers (or even ALL of Dove entries) for my SatNav?

10. Why does Dove not now show chimes?

11. I see you have only an approximate tenor weight against my tower; can I supply you a 'better value'?

12. Why can't I search on a society affiliation?

13. How do GB users know which Ordnance Survey map to look at for a given tower?

14. I wish to contact a particular tower itself. How do I go about it?

15. That particular value which is showing against that particular bell is clearly "wrong". Should I write to you questioning it?

16. What shall I do about some data showing in the Dove entry that I know to be wrong or out of date?

17. How can I buy a printed copy of the latest edition of Dove's Guide?

18. Please help me with loading Dove POIs onto my model XYZ SatNav

19. Why haven't I received an answer to my e-mail / submission to Dove?

20. How do I search the pNBR within the Dove database for all instances of one founder's work, for example?

21. Please will you add the following URL to the Dove database for our tower's website?

22. Why is the practice night showing for our tower wrong?: it has been ZZZ for NN years!

23. Our bells are going to be out of action in two months' time. How soon should we let you know about this, and the estimated date for when things will return to normal?

24. May I provide you with a better URL for a given tower?

25. My iOS DoveApp does not now seem to work properly

More questions, and answers, will be added in due course as they meet our criterion of 'having been asked (and answered) on more than several occasions'.










1. A search doesn't seem to list the church I'm looking for within the list of those returned. Why not?

This can be for a number of reasons. The most obvious one is that you may have mis-keyed the search details. Have you spelt the placename correctly (Dove uses - in most instances - the OS map name for UK places)? Think of, and try, possible alternative ways of spelling the place. Have you considered that it might not be spelt exactly as you think it should be (remembering that, for example, placenames DO appear to change over a period of time especially with regard to a consonant appearing once or twice: thus, Goran, Gorran)? Be aware also of the peculiarities of the area concerned (eg, Welsh placenames are a phonetic representation of how they sound and not always immediately obvious to English-speakers, and Cornish placenames are sometimes prefixed with St and sometimes not). Is it possible that there is no longer a ring of bells there? (There is a list of 'lost rings' available on David Kelly's Keltek website). Does the tower actually contain a ring as such, or is it a set of bells which can only be chimed? If you have been attempting to search by TowerBase ID, have you inadvertently used an ID pertaining to a ring no longer extant, or one which has never been issued?

We try to ensure that all names under which a tower might be known will be found when searching on that name, but occasionally (for example if that name follows an opening bracket) then it may not be returned as one of the results. In such cases try to think of an alternative searching strategy, such as looking for the county concerned, or the probable postcode characters. Don't forget that if you know how to use Grid References, you can also search on an approximate Grid Reference.

One very common way of failing to get a 'hoped-for' answer to a search enquiry is to constrain your search over-strongly by entering too many search requirements at one time. It is helpful to remember that each search's constraints are 'additive': all have to be matched rather than just any one of them.

Have you been searching within a "diocese" for a church which has been declared redundant and has now changed 'ownership'? Another possibility is that you have been looking for a 'mini-ring', in which case one needs to remember that we have a 'cut-off': the minimum weight of the tenor of a ring included within Dove is 56lb (0.5cwt).

Always remember that certain keyboard characters should NOT be included in 'a search string': examples include ampersand (&), comma (,), hyphen (-). Also one needs to bear in mind that there are two other characters which we call 'wildcards' which are used for special purposes when searching. The asterisk (*) can be used to substitute for 'any number of characters, including none' and so searching on the string A*Y will give you all sorts of results you might not expect. Try it and see if you can explain them all. Similarly the query character (?) can be used to substitute for just one, and only one character: thus searching on B??KS will find towers in Bucks and Berks, and will also return places such as Berkswell and Barkston.

Finally, you may care to help others if you are convinced that the name you are searching for doesn't produce a result and yet you are certain that there is a ring of bells there. Drop us an e-mail telling us the name you were looking for - and support that with a grid reference if it's in the UK so that we can check that the OS also uses the name you used. Then we will consider adding that as an alternative place name for the Dove entry.

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2. Why is Dove showing the wrong dedication for my church?

We try to explain all our conventions on our Conventions page. There, in the paragraph headed 'Dedication', you will see we indicate that (for the most common situation of a Church of England church) we use the dedication shown in the most recent edition of its official publication Crockford's Clerical Directory. In the past, when presented with good evidence (and in our experience that is usually best done in consultation with the appropriate Diocesan office where there is probably an archivist with access to supporting historical records), we have known Crockford readily agree to change it in a subsequent edition. And if you succeed in getting them to agree to change, do come back to us to let us know with a copy of their confirmation that such will be done, and then we will gladly change what we show. As far as churches within the Church in Wales are concerned, Crockford also shows those, but the definitive repository for such information is the RB office in Cardiff and their website can be viewed via this link.

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3. The tenor weight shown appears to be wrong. How do I get it corrected?

We have consistently maintained that "we don't claim infallibility for what we show in Dove" but we do claim to have had high visibility for tenor weights for a long period of time.

If you have reason to believe that the value we are showing is incorrect, we ask to be notified via an e-mail using the Dovemaster link provided in the bottom left hand corner of each webpage. BUT before rushing off to do this, please note that we expect you to provide some supporting information and justification before we will change a tenor weight. Appropriate support could take the form of a copy of the original letter from the bellfoundry which originally supplied the bells to your church or which did subsequent work on them (such as retuning). And also, we will be most interested to know why you have left it so long before telling us about this for, in most cases, Dove has been showing the present tenor weight since August 1990 without challenge.

We certainly prefer to get the conventional Dove entry correct before dealing with any submission for the pNBR.

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4. Why is the practice time (or even the practice night) shown for some towers and not others?

Dove tries to show information from sources about which we are as confident as we possibly can be for their reliability, or simply continues to show what has been shown in the past.

If no-one has told us about your practice night, and the time that you normally start, then there is no way we can know about it unless we take an inordinate amount of effort to look in the many places in which we might find such information - and then only to be told that it is out-of-date or incorrect in some respect.

So the message is clear: YOU, please, make it YOUR job to let us know about YOUR practice information. DON'T rely on someone else to tell us; and DO remember to do so when you change anything that will be helpful to a potential visitor. Equally, if YOUR practice information is incorrect in any way, DO please tell us how to amend it AND, please, tell us your position with regard to the tower concerned (eg, Tower Captain, even Branch Secretary).

We work on the basis that all practices start at 7.30pm (or within 29 minutes of that time) and on the same day most weeks of the year. If the start time is anything different, then please tell us and we will show it. And remember that if you do not hold a practice every week (or, say, 50 of the 52 weeks in a year), then we can show simple alternative arrangements, such as joint practices with another tower.

In these days of the internet and mobile phones, it is useful to have a tower webpage of your own which gives information about contact details and up-to-the-minute changes in normal practice arrangements. In this way a potential visitor can know whom to telephone to ensure that you are ringing - for we all recognise that most towers will need to cancel a practice occasionally. Remember, though, if you do have such a webpage, to make certain that someone ensures that it is up-to-date: outdated information conveys a very poor image.

Note also that practice night information is not shown in on-line Dove while ringing is suspended at a tower (for example during repairs to the tower).

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5. How do I find out a particular tower's Sunday service ringing times?

Sunday service ringing times seem to change exceedingly frequently and we think it most unlikely that we'd be able to keep pace with that sort of change. We suggest that that tower's own website is the place to show that sort of information: we'll happily make a hyperlink to that website from Dove (if we are told about it, and providing people remember to tell us when it changes). Another place to look is the website for the association/guild within whose territory the tower is situated - and you can find those websites listed on the Central Council's Ringing Societies webpage.

Our experience is that even with other sorts of information which one might expect to be less susceptible to change we need to make more than 4 changes to our data every day. So, quite frankly, we'd prefer not to show information about which there is a very high probability that we'd be wrong.

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6. Why is some text shown in green?

We try to follow the convention that text shown in green like this is normally a 'hyperlink' to another place where fuller details of the matter under consideration may be found. To distinguish whether it really is a hyperlink, or not, place the cursor over the green text. A hyperlink will be indicated by the cursor changing to a hand with the index finger acting as the pointer, and at the same time the text will change its appearance slightly (such as its colour changing and underlining may appear, but precisely what those changes are will depend upon some of your browser's settings).

Remember that when you have 'visited' the webpage pointed to by the hyperlink, you can return to the place from which you jumped by use of your browser's 'Back' button.

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7. What does (M) after a church's dedication mean (or GF, or S, or T)?

Over the last few years we have been developing a prototype National Bell Register ("pNBR") within Dove and we have a webpage describing this. Those (very few) rings of bells for which no details at all have yet been supplied are marked with an M to indicate that they are missing. The data that is shown includes, wherever possible, the weight of each individual bell, its diameter, when it was cast, and the bellfounder who cast it. We feel that this sort of additional information about any particular set of bells can make your visit to ring there the more interesting.

We also provide a mechanism by which those who have reliable information about this sort of data can supply it to us. We feel also that, by drawing attention to those places where it is still missing, we might encourage these details to be submitted.

Towers at which ringing takes place from the ground floor are marked GF, and those where there is a simulator are indicated with an S. T indicates those having access to a lavatory for use by ringers, although on occasions it may be necessary to ask for a key to the facility.

M, GF, S, and T may appear either singly or in combination.

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8.Some of the entries in the results table have their entry number underlined. Why is that?

You have been very observant: it's surprising how many people don't seem to have noticed this feature.

Dove is actually not a piece of continuous text which is edited as necessary but is produced from a database (it is a 'database report'). That database is frequently updated as new information becomes available, old data becomes incorrect, and as circumstances change. An example may be when a 6-bell ring is augmented by the addition of two extra bells to become a ring of eight. Another is when a practice night has been moved to a different day of the week, or practices have ceased to be held. So as the database is changed, we have to regenerate the webpages to show the corrected information and upload them to the internet for viewing. You can always find the date of that action by looking at the "last modified" date of the Dove data file in the bottom right hand corner of each of our pages.

It is sometimes vital to know when, and how, and why data has changed, and who it was who supplied the information about the change - and so our database is designed also to keep a record of these changes. Some changes are important whereas others are minor in significance. When we feel that there has been a recent important change for a particular ring, one about which it may be worth knowing in greater detail, we draw attention to it by underlining the item number. The details page for the ring will show the update and the identity of the person who supplied it, for a 6-month period in the case of changes which would not be visible in a printed edition of Dove and permanently (until another edition is published) for those which would modify the printed entry in some way.

We also provide another searchable consolidated file of all updates which can be downloaded onto your own computer (for example to use with a spreadsheet program) so that you can sort or show the updates we have on file.

And remember the corollary: if you supply us with information that results in a changed entry, then you should realise that you will be expected to be able to answer any queries that others may have about that change.

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9. How do I create a custom POIs file of selected towers (or even ALL of Dove entries) for my SatNav?

You can use Dove's Favourites facility to create your own customised view of Dove; if you add towers to your Favourites, and then switch to Favourites mode, subsequent actions will use only your selected set of towers - so you can Search them, map them, or even download them as SatNav POIs.

If you have not selected any towers at all as 'favourites' and yet still go to the webpage for downloading favourites as POIs, then ALL the entries in Dove will be selected. You can then make further choices about which towers to include or exclude (such as omitting unringable towers).

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10. Why does Dove not now show chimes, as appeared in the first eight editions?

As we said in A8, Dove is actually not a piece of continuous text which is edited as necessary. If it were 'as simple as that', then to re-introduce the chimes would be a relatively straightforward task. In contrast, the various listings are actually derived from a database (they are 'database reports'). From that we benefit not only by there being less chance for inconsistency but also have the ability to carry out the much more sophisticated searches that are offered on the website. Two examples suffice to illustrate what could not be done from a continuous piece of free text: being able to supply a grid reference, or a postcode, and have all rings listed within a given radius of that geographic point, or again finding all ringable rings of, say, 8 or more bells in a given county with a practice on a Wednesday and are in the key of F#.

The work entailed in designing such a complex, feature-rich facility, was such that we had 'to draw a line somewhere' - otherwise, in trying to be comprehensive, we actually might have had to spend a greater amount of time, and actually finish up providing fewer features. When Ron Johnston and John Baldwin worked on the 9th Edition, we decided that Dove is primarily about listing rings of bells for use by church bell ringers, with the bells being rung 'full circle'. This we feel was also the decision not very far from the original compiler's mind (Ron Dove) when in earlier editions he chose to list rings in 'standard' typeface and to list chimes in italic typeface.

The question that naturally follows is "will chimes ever be reinstated into Dove?". That is one which is yet to be answered. We have felt that, interesting though they may be, their appearance on Mike Chester's website has removed the pressure for us to re-introduce them in the short-term.

Making the necessary design changes to the database to accommodate not only the storage of information about chimes (which is already actually possible), and also the more difficult problem of producing the necessary reports and making sure that the formatting is correct, and perhaps most importantly validating all the data, will be a mammoth task. All of this would have to be done before they could re-appear - and already we find it almost a full-time task looking after the database and incorporating the pNBR data. Making further progress with the latter we feel to be of wider interest, priority, and value to the ringing community at the current time.

So, perhaps, one day: but it's not likely to be 'tomorrow' that chimes will once again appear in Dove.

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11. I see you have only an approximate tenor weight against my tower; can I supply you a 'better value'?

There really are two different scenarios: the replacement value is either a precise one, or it is approximate.

If it is a precise one, then we will be anxious to learn how and whence that weight was obtained. If you can assure us that it is the by-product of a rehang or some work carried out by a bellfoundry, then we will happily accept it (noting, in passing, that there are FAR more numbers of "precise" weights ending in 0 pounds than might be expected from the sheer statistically-based 1 in every 28!). So, where you have an authoritative, measured, precise weight where we are currently showing an approximate one, we'll be pleased to learn of it, together with a detailed note of the source you are relying upon - and (only) then will amend our records accordingly.

The situation with a new approximation is quite different. Various people will make an estimate of a bell's weight and, almost by definition, one person's estimate will differ from another's. Alternatively, some people like to use a formula (see RW2004/459) which uses as one of its parameters the nominal raised to the 4th power, together with a constant whose value varies empirically from founder to founder and from age to age. While we agree that there is scope for this formula to be refined, we are not (yet) convinced that it produces significantly and consistently better results than an approximation by an experienced bell historian.

So, our present position is that, as a matter of principle, we will NOT replace an already showing approximate weight by any other approximation ... simply because that opens up a huge 'can of worms' about 'whose estimate is the better one?' - and THAT is a totally fruitless discussion. Moreover, it would result in endless changes to Dove towards no really improved end result: all the cognoscenti recognise the meaning of the word approximate and accept that an estimate is just that.

And does it really matter at the end of the day? What we need to know is either the most recent recorded precise weight (if the bell has been put on a set of scales - and THAT doesn't even address the question as to when those scales were last calibrated) or "approximately what can we expect to feel at the end of the rope when we start to ring here?"

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12. Why can't I search on a society affiliation?

There are two reasons for this. The first and principal reason is that it would not be obvious from the list of results exactly why some towers appear and some do not. That would only emerge if one also viewed every associated Details page, for it is only there that affiliations (if any) are presented. (Remember that the search result lines are designed so as to reflect just what appears in that same entry in the printed book.) While you may think that is no great problem when undertaking a simple search, we have to recognise that a number of search criteria may all be imposed at one time - and then possibly explain the results which are presented. It is important to us that you, the user, should easily be able to infer the reasons why some results do and others do not appear when you undertake a search of the entries.

The second reason is technically too complex to explain here in detail but (the current design of our webpages means that) adding it would actually serve to slow down absolutely EVERY search that is carried out and it is our considered opinion that this is an overhead which would not be justifiable.

So we have not added it to the search facility, nor do we plan to do so. However, if you have some special need for having a particular list for one society, an email to Dovemaster spelling out what you have in mind could well result in a report specially being produced for your requirement.

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13. How do GB users know which Ordnance Survey map to look at for a given tower?

We have NOT given any indication of the OS Landranger series map on which any given tower lies because there is overlap between these maps (although not as much overlap as there was with the former 1" Edition). This means that there is no single answer to the question. Moreover, the on-line mapping facility provided within Dove, using the OpenStreetMap, Google or Ordnance Survey map link which we DO show, gives one a good chance to get better 'all round coverage', ie, with the tower in question positioned centrally.

Having said that, the OS website gives a very good range of facilities for finding out the best map, even printing a small section of it for your own use - and these days some people find the Explorer series more useful than the Landranger series.

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14. I wish to contact a particular tower itself. How do I go about it?

We suggest the following strategy if you wish to make contact with any given tower.

1. First look to see whether the relevant details page actually shows a URL for a website particular to that tower. Dove now shows such a link for more than 40% of towers, and most of these provide further details about contacting either their tower correspondent or someone who might be able to help with the information you are seeking.

2. If the tower hasn't a website of its own (or if the website pointed to from Dove doesn't provide a method of contacting that particular tower), then in all probability it will be affiliated to a local ringing association or guild or society, or in a few instances more than one. For most towers (rings of 3 being the principal exceptions) Dove also indicates these affiliations. Its name provides a link to that part of the Central Council's website where each affiliated society's URL is presented. You may need to search a little more down that page before you come to the actual entry you are looking for. Click on that link and then you can usually find a list of towers and some indication of who is the relevant contact person for each tower.

With the advent of social networking facilities (eg, Twitter, Facebook), some towers have chosen to use those facilities as a means for potential visitors to get in touch. If such is the case, we suggest that their own website is the appropriate place to provide a link for that purpose.

Clicking on the 'Contact' link in the bottom lh corner of any webpage provides a means of sending an e-mail to those who maintain the Dove website; it does not provide a mechanism for contacting any particular tower. To achieve that would mean keeping accurate an even larger amount of constantly changing information than is already held within Dove, and we feel that we'd NEVER be completely up to date with a comprehensive list of details for tower correspondents.

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15. That particular value which is showing against that particular bell is clearly "wrong". Should I write to you questioning it?

Please do NOT immediately write telling us that any one particular datum for a bell must be wrong.

We say this because the pNBR is essentially a corpus of individual facts (a Dove entry simply being a subset thereof), the total number of which exceeds half a million. It is virtually impossible that a collection of such a size is without error. Thus our collective aim must be to ascertain the correct value for that datum: simply knowing that it is "wrong" takes us hardly anywhere towards that goal. In fact, we are probably better placed than most in being able to detect that any one particular item is likely to be incorrect and, moreover, to be able estimate a more "likely value" for it as we have such a large number of comparators.

Moreover, telling us that something is wrong merely results in adding to our list of queries, already many hundreds of items long, and it "puts the ball in our court" for its solution. That also makes it yet another item to file - and to find when the next challenge arrives. The likelihood of that pile of issues ever being cleared is thereby simply decreased. It is FAR better that you join in the task of providing a resolution.

So, please, first look at what we show as the source for the pNBR data: often it is a published work or a set of data that is easily accessible via the internet. If a transcription error appears to have occurred - which is not impossible - then do please write in and tell us without further ado and, if confirmed, it will be corrected. It may be that we already have a database note indicating that the originally published value has been corrected by its original author, or a reliable subsequent worker, and then we will respond in such a vein. (Corrigenda to published works are not invariably produced and are often incomplete unless they are internet based.)

If the question remains, however, then the appropriate course of action is, please, to get in touch with the person who is identified as the Contributor for that particular tower's data, or even of the update in question. In both cases, the name is presented in such a way as to facilitate e-mailing the person concerned. That person should be best placed to pursue the matter and bring about its resolution. We will automatically receive a copy of that enquiry, and thus we can make a note that some proactive action has been taken.

By following this route, the work of getting the pNBR data as correct as possible will be addressed and you will "spread the load" rather than focussing all necessary action on us.

There is of course one exception to all of this. That relates to our practice of not altering an estimate for a bell's weight (particularly for a tenor which will probably have been the value shown for some time in the Dove entry). Here our answer given to FAQ#11 applies.

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16. What shall I do about some data showing in the Dove entry that I know to be wrong or out of date?

Please DO immediately write telling us if you know for certain that some part of the Dove entry is not now correct.

People are very quick to let us know when a tower or ring is out of action for some reason ... but then, all too often we hear no more, sometimes for several years. Everyone seems to 'leave it to someone else'. The most common situation is when bells are being restored. Also you should note that we now have a webpage showing brief details about restoration projects.

While we do prefer someone connected with the tower itself to provide information, we'd far rather be told about what needs to be corrected than to leave something that is misleading to be showing for an unduly long time.

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17. How can I buy a printed copy of the latest edition of Dove's Guide?

It is astounding to us that people keep asking this question, for there has been a link from the Dove home page for this very purpose for years.

But, because it appears not to have been found, we have recently added some material about getting hold of a copy, with an even more obvious link to it from the Home page.

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18. Please help me with loading Dove POIs onto my model XYZ SatNav

We cannot possibly know the details about every different model of SatNav. But there exists a BellNav chat list for SatNav users of Dove. So we strongly recommend you to join that group so that you can ask for help from others who might have precisely the same model and may have already overcome the problems that you are experiencing. Or again, your problems may be ones that are common across models and manufacturer types - and then the experience of others might well come in useful.

By the same token, it may help others - if and when you are familiar with your model - that you remain subscribed to this list and then offer help to those less familiar with it.

Please note that we strongly encourage ringers NOT to use what we show as the postcode for each UK tower for SatNav purposes. This is because, in general, it is, in Royal Mail terminology, only mail 'delivery points' that are assigned a postcode (and churches rarely are a mail delivery point). The postcode shown, unless subsequently amended, was (by and large) determined some years ago by using a facility (courtesy of Jibble) which approximated the church's grid reference to a nearby postcode. In contrast, we DO have confidence in the latitude / longtitude values that we show for each tower and which have been refined by the kind work of Anne Sladen, or (where we have one) those of its 'destination point' which is usually a convenient parking spot. So it is these latitude / longtitude values which we suggest are loaded into your SatNav device.

It has been pointed out to us, however, that being able to supply the postcode of a UK church to an emergency service can often expedite their attendance. So we do not intend to remove such data from our database and we will be pleased to be advised of any refinement that may be thought necessary or helpful.

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19. Why haven't I received an answer to my e-mail /submission to Dove?

There is a limited amount of time that can reasonably be spent on maintaining this resource by the efforts of volunteers who also have a life to lead. (John Baldwin is on record as having said 'Life is bigger and more important than ringing': RW2010/p675.) Thus we have an implicit set of priorities which govern the way in which we deal with things that occur.

Our first attention will be given to maintaining the functioning of the facility if at all possible. Complete absence of the Dove webpages would mean that no-one has access to what we consider now to be an essential resource for the Exercise, and so we will strive to ensure that some information, preferably not incomplete even if somewhat out of date, remains visible if at all possible.

Should a problem arise that means that 'normal service' is in some way interrupted, then users can expect us to indicate this relatively promptly via a News item on the Home page, together with updates as appropriate. So do please ensure that you visit that page with some regularity, or if you appear to have failed to elicit a response from us. During such a period our attention will be given to getting the facility back to an operational state; dealing with enquiring e-mails only serves to divert the finite available effort away from that primary goal so please don't send an enquiry unless you feel that what you have to say might help to solve the problem.

Next we will process e-mails that follow our guidelines and thus can quickly be dealt with. Preferably each e-mail should deal with ONE and only one subject: dealing with several towers / issues within the body of one e-mail makes it difficult not only to know where to file it (most are kept for future reference) but also for finding should the issue(s) be raised again subsequently.

pNBR submissions, and suggested SatNav destinations, using our standard editing forms fall into the 'easily-dealt-with' category. Regrettably, many people either do not seem to read, or take notice of, the associated guidance on the SatNav destination submission page and send an unnecessary one which then makes a more detailed response necessary which of course takes time to compose.

There is one very good explanation as to why you may not have received a reply from us when making use of one of our 'standard forms', such as for a pNBR submission. No check can be made of the address that you quote for yourself and which will be used for our reply. So if that has been entered incorrectly, we will have absolutely no way of getting back to you. A hint that you might not have entered it correctly will be given to you by the fact that you will not receive our standard acknowledgement that "Your enquiry has been submittted to Dove", for that too can only be addressed using the data you have submitted - so be most careful in entering it.

At the bottom of our priority list of items that arrive for attention are those e-mails, often with attachments, which are sent - albeit with good intention - but without prior discussion with us about preferred format nor about how the data therein might be assimilated into the Dove database. In the absence of such an agreement between us, no-one can assume that they know how best we can handle their data: what might be straightforward or convenient for the sender may well prove to be excessively labour intensive at the receiving end. Moreover, if there is any re-keying that is implicit, then there is the added question of checking whether what has been transcribed has been done correctly. It is FAR better to seek a solution which enables YOUR data to be imported into our database without any re-keying whatsoever: then all the mistakes within it will not be ours. (Errare humanum est: we make enough mistakes of our own, and without intending to do so. And do remember the whole of the dictum: errare humanum est, sed perseverare diabolicum: to err is human, but to persist in the mistake is diabolical.)

What really will make certain that your e-mail will have lowest priority for our attention is to send an enquiring e-mail to others within 'the Dove team'. It is our experience that correctly addressed e-mails do not go astray and that they WILL have been received. If you do not get a reply within a day or five, then please be assured that we are spending our time on higher priorities than those of your e-mail.

In normal circumstances you can expect a quick reply ... but even we like to have a holiday. A guideline for the expectation of a response is a maximum of a week in 'normal times' or 2 weeks (or, very occasionally, even longer) during holiday periods or when crises arise.

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20. How do I search the pNBR within the Dove database for all instances of one founder's work, for example?

We do not yet provide any capability to search the detailed data within the pNBR part of the database on a bell by bell basis. However, as stated elsewhere, we do offer to undertake relatively straightforward searches on an ad hoc basis, but with no guarantee as to response time.

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21. Please will you add the following URL to the Dove database for our tower's website?

We will happily do so with the proviso that it does not exceed 70 characters in length (some URLs have become impossibly long recently!). If you (or your service provider) insist on having a URL in excess of that maximum (which is constrained as a result of Dove being a database rather than simply 'free text'), then please use the free facility provided at the TinyURL website to get something which easily meets that constraint and suits both requirements.

It is our policy to show whichever URL the tower wishes against its Dove entry as opposed, for example, to one which its host association might prefer would be shown. Thus we suggest that requests for changes to any URL shown against a tower actually come from an official of the tower concerned and, should a conflict occur, it is the tower's preference to which we will accede.

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22. Why is the practice information showing for our tower wrong?: it has been ZZZ for NN years!

As the maintenance of what is shown against a Dove entry and its details on the pNBR (and making the modifications that are needed to the design of the database itself as new needs emerge) is already a task that takes one person typically 5+ hours per day each and every day of the year, we act only on information which is supplied to us rather than being proactive in attempting to check and re-check each entry. (The rate of change is dramatic: it has run at almost 4 Dove entries changed per day since March 2003 quite apart from the ~12,000 pNBR update submissions that we have already received.)

So our first retort would be "surely it is not too much to expect someone from your tower to have notified us in those last NN years of the need for a change to your entry".

The database underlying Dove was built, and began to be shown on the internet, in late 1990, and the information included was that which was to hand at that time. Typically each entry was that which appeared in (or was missing from) Edition 8 of Dove. The website which is built upon that database has been updated ever since and such is now normally done on a daily basis. A reference copy of ALL emails that are received is kept, together with our reply, and we are anxious that notifiers check that amendments which are offered are correctly implemented and to inform us if not. Further we indicate the timescales in which it is reasonable to expect such a change to appear in order to help with those few e-mails which are alleged to have gone astray. It is important to understand that using the Dovemaster link on a tower's details page should (relatively) instantly be acknowledged by a reply indicating that your message is being passed onwards: if such does not occur it is probable that you have entered your email address incorrectly and moreover as a result no change confirmation can be sent to you.

We asked, both in the Ringing World and on our website in the weeks (and months) leading up to the finalisation of information that would be shown in Edition 10 (published March 2012), for corrections and updates, and if no amendment was offered in respect of your tower's entry the data that which was then showing on (or was absent from) the Dove website would be as it was in Edition 9.

So, do please send us the correct information - but equally please do not seek to blame us for the years during which the wrong PN information has been showing, or that there has been none at all, but rather look much more closely to home for your scapegoat!

And a final word (to quote from the form that you completed to send us your message): if this message is concerning a specific tower, please state within your message your status with regard to the tower concerned (eg, Tower Captain, Vicar)

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23. Our bells are going to be out of action in two months' time. How soon should we let you know about this, and the estimated date for when things will return to normal?

There is difficulty with people sending us 'advance information'. While such may be felt to be helpful background knowledge, it does leave us with the problem of deciding just what part of an entry should be changed and when. We'd much prefer, for example, not to hear about anticipated changes three weeks before the event (which then means we would have to keep a diary note of precisely when to make the change): it is better by far that you tell us when they are (just) fait accompli. It is an all too common fact of life that circumstances change and the anticipated does not come to fruition precisely on schedule!

The best solution if you wish to show advance information is for YOU to have your own website (the URL for which - providing it is not too long - we'll happily show) and to put details of your plans and hopes there, including an anticipated return to normal date.

In summary, we prefer that you just tell us promptly what has already happened!

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24. May I provide you with a better URL for a given tower?

Deciding which is a better website is a very subjective process. Thus our policy in this regard is as follows.

Once we have started with showing one particular URL for a tower, normally we will only change it if we receive a specific request from the tower concerned to show a different URL and also that the revised URL does not exceed 70 characters in length. Alternatively, should one of our regular checks to ensure that all shown URLs are still working come up with a negative result, the URL will be deleted from our records.

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25. My iOS DoveApp does not now seem to work properly

Regrettably we have been unable to keep the iOS Dove App up to date with changes to other software on which it depends.

Accordingly we advise that this app is no longer available; nor does it work satisfactorily under iOS8.

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