Tuesday, 26 May 2009, FamilySearch announced that new features were coming to FamilySearch Indexing. Friday, they announced a delay in the downtime previously scheduled for 1 June 2009.
New features in FamilySearch Indexing
Several new features are included in the upcoming FamilySearch Indexing version 1.7.
Tip of the Day. A popup titled “Tip of the Day” will come up when you start FamilySearch Indexing.
Passwords. You can choose a password that doesn’t include a symbol. However, passwords still require at least one numeral.
Project Preferences. You can select preferences for the indexing projects you wish to index:
- the difficulty level and
- the languages you can read.
Project Selection Dialog Box. The Download From... Project Selection dialog box (below) includes three new features.
- The project Selection dialog box will have the option to show only those projects that match your preferences.
- The Project Selection dialog box will also display the difficulty level of each project.
- Double-clicking a project will be a short-cut that will download a batch.
Batch Sharing. This feature allows someone to view a batch you are working on so they can help you. For example, if you have a question that you need someone in Support to help you with, you could share the batch with them. Or you could share the batch with a friend who could help you with the handwriting. However, only the original indexer can save changes to the batch.
Prior to sharing a batch, you should save your work. Then click on File and Share Batch. FamilySearch Indexing will display a message reading
Contact the person you want to share this batch with and give him or her the following number: XXXXX.
Give this number to the person you want to help you. That person views your batch by taking the following steps:
- Open the FamilySearch Indexing application.
- Click the File menu, then select View Shared Batch…
- Enter the sharing number and click OK.
- To display the latest data typed and saved by the indexer, click on the File menu, then click Retrieve from Server.
Image Type. Image Type will be the first field in every batch. You will select the description of each image (such as Normal, Blank, or Duplicate) from the list provided.
New Icons. The icons used to mark a field or record unreadable will have a blue question mark on them instead of a red slash.
Header Data Tab. A new tab in the data entry area will enable indexers to enter information that applies to an entire document just once. Not all batches will include this tab, but if it is included, it will open first when you download a batch. I believe this is a feature available in Ancestry.com’s World Archives Project.
Mid-batch Quality Check. Click the Quality Checker tab before getting to the last field of the last record and you can see and correct all errors up to that point. You won’t be warned, however, about empty required fields until you do the final quality check.
Fields Marked for Review. To mark fields for review, you can choose to display either the red wavy line as in the past, or the colored background. (Is that what the Ancestry.com World Archives Project uses?) You can also change the color and transparency.
You can read more in the Help article, “FamilySearch Indexing: What’s new in indexing for release 1.7.”
Click the Start Indexing button on the
FamilySearch Indexing web page if you
have problems after the upgrade.
Along with the new features, FamilySearch announced an associated downtime when the new features would be rolled out. Friday, they announced that the downtime previously scheduled for 1 June 2009 from 9 AM to 5 PM (MDT) would be delayed for as much as a week. FamilySearch will post a notice during the week giving at least 24 hours warning before the downtime actually occurs.
Usually, when a new version of FamilySearch Indexing is available, it will download to your computer automatically. But if it doesn’t, you may experience problems using FamilySearch Indexing. During this week, or the first time you index after this week, if you experience problems, close FamilySearch Indexing, go to the FamilySearch Indexing web site (http://indexing.familysearch.org) and click the Start Indexing button (see illustration above or to the right). This should download the new version 1.7 to your computer if it hasn’t already. This will fix any problems associated with using the old version on your computer after FamilySearch headquarters is using the new version.
A couple questions and comments:
1) Question: re the Project Selection Dialog Box, are one's preferences going to be saved? I would presume so. This is a welcome feature especially regarding the language of the projects. I have never indexed anything but English, but the other day when I (rarely done) just said download instead of picking from the "Download From" box, I got a French project which I promptly sent back.
2) Question re batch sharing: what is the utility of this? It seems to me more time efficient for all concerned to just send back a batch one is having problems on, if it involves multiple items on the image.
On the mid-batch quality check and fields marked for review, again for time efficiency, these seem not terribly useful to me. This isn't a timed test where one needs to first concentrate on getting the most answers right before returning to difficult items. I either resolve an item or move on and leave it that way. I often consult Ancestry's census index when I have a problem to see how others have read it, and also more quickly look at other images in the enumerator's hand. But again just quickly before moving on.
Features I would like to see:
a) Auto-numbering of line numbers - it is very annoying to miss a name and go back and insert a field for same and then have to renumber all the lines after that. Perhaps I am missing a better way to do this though.
b) The "Download From" box having *all* current projects for which there are batches available in the list, according to one's language and other preferences. However maybe this is already so and more projects than I think are awaiting processing for indexers.
c) Auto-quality check, or rather a way to accept at the time a field marked by the software as potentially in error to be OK. Basically I mean performing the quality check as one goes instead of all at once at the end. Not a biggie but I would like it better that way.
Also I would like to mention that I would appreciate it if headquarters could share its long and short term plans. For instance after the 1920 census is done what is next? 1910? Just curious.
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