Tara Bergeson teaches
Family History Consultants
Go to www.familysearch.org/serve, login, and click on Family History Consultant Conference Presentations—2012 (New).
FamilySearch Digital Book Collection
I also couldn’t attend Dennis Meldrum’s “Family History Online Books: A New Step Forward.” I wrote about the website change a month ago. (See “Changes to FamilySearch.org Website.”) Meldrum is manager of Digital Book Processing at FamilySearch.
The FamilySearch collection of family and local history books keeps growing. The size of the collection has grown to “over 45,000.” The collection contains more than just family histories and local histories. According to Meldrum’s syllabus, it also contains “directories, how-to books on genealogy, genealogy magazines (including some international magazines), medieval books (including histories and pedigrees), and gazetteers.”
The website doesn’t seem to include any help on how to search. Meldrum presented wildcards and keywords that affect the search:
- ? is a single character wildcard
- * is a multiple character wildcard
- Use "quote marks" to match an exact phrase
- AND, OR, NOT, and parentheses can be used to create logical expressions
On the drive home from the Expo, I tried to view a book (the example, above). I clicked on the title at 5:36. The blue progress bar crawled agonizingly slow. At 5:39, the bar was less than 25%. I went off and did some text messaging. At 5:42 it was about half way, but I wasn’t going to wait 12 minutes to bring up a book.
The last time I reviewed the site, I registered a complaint with FamilySearch support that book viewing was really slow, much slower than the old BYU site. The response was “I tested a couple books and the browsing experience was fine, the image displayed in an expected time frame.”
What!? Google books doesn’t make me wait that long. Internet Archive doesn’t make me wait that long. BYU didn’t make me wait that long. No online book archive that I have ever used makes me wait that long.
The respondent went on to state that “FamilySearch is only displaying the files, which are hosted by the different digital library” and to suggest that I view the same book at the other library and compare.
Isn’t that what I did to begin with? Didn’t I already compare? Didn’t I find that BYU loading one page was hundreds of times faster than FamilySearch loading hundreds of pages?
I can say one thing… Well, two things, actually. One thing is that the new FamilySearch book viewer stinks.
The second is that support organizations are consistent. This isn’t just a FamilySearch problem, but every multi-tiered support organization I deal with. By the time I contact support, the situation is way beyond what a first tier support person can handle. I get a canned response and the case is closed. I have to reopen and ask to be escalated.
I wish FamilySearch support would track how often a person’s cases required escalation, and to what level. If all my issues require escalation to tier 3, don’t subject me to tiers 1 and 2. Automatically route my issue up.
And while you’re solving the world’s multi-tiered support issues, how about finding a way to let me see a page of a book without waiting over 10 minutes.