Friday, August 21, 2009

Record Search Futures

This article is one in a series of session reports from the recent BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy. I tweeted the session live, but I hate to send you to Twitter to read them because they appear there in reverse chronological order. I’ve straightened them out for you here. Additions are shown in italics.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Bryce Roper, product manager, "Record Search" (1:52 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
Like oil, getting access to records is not something we can all do. Bryce has quickly gone through the pipeline process. (1:53 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
See http://bit.ly/165ru7 (1:55 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
600 M names in 136 collections on Record Search pilot. In 2 weeks we are releasing Record Search 2.0 pilot. Looks a little different than current site. (1:57 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
It has been redesigned to become part of the FamilySearch Alpha. See http://labs.familysearch.org (1:58 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
Looks like current site but with color and font changes. Some minor layout changes. (2:00 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
They want to improve capability of wildcard searching beyond current limitation of 3 chars needed prior to wildcard. (2:02 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
Hover over a name in search result gives popup bubble. Click on name opens a slideout. Click on chevron to close the slideout. (2:04 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
Click on Save to copy to hard drive. Can then be inserted into your genealogy program. Click on Print; they've improved format. (2:05 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
Added new button: Share This Record gives option for Facebook or e-mail/message system. Produces a link in Facebook or in e-mail (2:07 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
...that someone can click. They've removed the link labeled "View Image." You must click on the thumbnail. (2:09 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
Link to Collection Information will link directly to the FamilySearch Wiki. In the search results, the icon to the left of a result (2:12 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
... is available. Print image now includes options: Fit to page, rotate, smooth, invert. Will be adding record details and notes. (2:13 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
In the lists of collections: * indicates new collection in last 30 days, "No images" and "Browse images only" are self explanatory. (2:17 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
Browse items are called waypoints. New version has longer lists, that is, more items are shown at a time. Image viewer comes up at bottom of page, waypoints still visible up (2:18 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
... above. Zoom control moves to thumbnail at lower-right. Showed icon with green arrows. Means the original image is on an affiliate site (2:20 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
Clicking icon takes you to affiliate site. They can charge.
Q. Does the Church get any money for that?
A. No. (2:24 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
Q. Weren't indexers supposed to get free access to the images?
A. Currently don't require login. In future when that option is available, (2:25 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
you will be able to see some records only if you sign in. Others only if you are member of the LDS Church. Others if you are an indexer. (2:27 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
These are called "roles."
Q. Will images be available for 1880?
A. Not certain about 1880, but in general, yes, if we can show images we will. (2:29 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
The recent 5 collections from Canada today are index only. When we have login, we will be able to show any registered user the image (2:30 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
Some contracts specify "FamilySearch Member":
- LDS members,
- users who are at a FHC, and
- active indexers. (2:32 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
Q. How long will it take to digitize the vault?
A. Don't know. 10 years give or take 10 years. (2:34 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
Q. What about 1880 census entry where enumerator wrote wrong name? How do I correct it?
A. We call it "user annotation." Working on that. (2:36 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
Q. Can we click on NARA icon at Footnote and get 1860 images?
A. [From a knowledgeable audience member:] After Footnote's exclusive runs out in about 3.5 years. (2:37 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
What's coming?
- Non-Flash version.
- Collection-specific search fields,
- exact match,
- global search,
- super collections, (2:38 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
- persistent URL for sharing links (current links _might_ break),
- better source citation,
- better image control,
- sign in,
- wildcards, (2:40 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )
- link to NFS & other sites,
- 1 Billion+ names by end of year (quadruple current capacity).

Now taking questions. (2:41 PM Jul 30th from TweetChat )

Remember that tweets are limited to 140 characters. Less the #byugen hashtag, each tweet could not exceed 132 characters. Hence, tweets often use abbreviations, bad grammar, and lack proper punctuation.

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