“Technology can be used as an enabler and accelerator,” said Bruce Miller at the FamilySearch technology booth. FamilySearch is showing the technologies it uses to acquire, publish, and preserve historical record collections.
Larry Telford told us that FamilySearch has developed a new technology they called DCAM/X. DCAM/X is used with their digital cameras in the field. As important as it is to capture images of historical records, it is just as important to capture metadata about the records. Metadata is the information genealogists need to cite their sources and catalogers need to create catalog entries. FamilySearch has about 160 digital cameras on every continent (including Africa) and every major country. A camera operator can take about 450 to 600 images per hour. Weekly FamilySearch acquires a million images consuming 7 terabytes of storage, according to Paul Abbott.
FamilySearch has a committee that determines where to send the cameras, according to Telford. They consider where users’ ancestry reside, as well as what records are at risk. Miller said he is doing market research for the Content Strategy group to determine the records most needed and the treatment required. Miller is doing focus groups in Chicago, L.A., and Phoenix.
David Hardman showed a Digital Reading Room built on the Drupal content management system. It allows record custodians to view their records digitized by FamilySearch.
Scott Flinders reviewed the accomplishments of the past year and the goals for the coming year. He explained that they are designing a new system to deal with the throughput.
Jeffrey Crossley spoke about record preservation. FamilySearch uses hard drives and magnetic tape. Tape has proven to be one of the best long term storage mechanisms for digital data.
If you’re in the Salt Lake area, bring your family history photographs and documents down and FamilySearch will scan the documents for you. Your document images will be stored on the Internet and you will receive an e-mail with a link to them.
The FamilySearch Technology Booth is open to the public along with the rest of the RootsTech Expo Hall in the far North end of the Salt Palace Conference Center.