Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kehrer Webinar: New FamilySearch Catalog

I’m sharing some of my notes from the 21 June 2012 webinar by Robert Kehrer, senior product manager, search technologies. The webinar was titled “FamilySearch Historical Records and Library Catalog.” Look for my comments in parentheses.


The holdings listed in the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) are expanding beyond those included at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. So it is only natural that the new catalog is called the FamilySearch Catalog.

The new catalog is still called a beta. There are key features missing. “If you don’t need those missing features,” said Robert Kehrer, “then I highly recommend you use the new catalog.” The data is the same between the old and the new. And some things are better in the new catalog.

FamilySearch has tried to optimized the number of pages you must pass through to get what you want. (I care less about the number of pages and more about the number of mouse clicks.) Kehrer demonstrated the page savings. What used to take five or more pages is now done in two. (Here are my measurements, including clicks and keystrokes.)

Action Old Catalog New Catalog
Select search type (Place name) 1 click
1 page
2 clicks
0 pages
Select location
(Texas)
5 keystrokes (depending)
2 clicks
2 pages
3 keystrokes (depending)
2 clicks
1 page
Select record type (Vital records) 1 click (minimum)
1 page (minimum)
1 click (minimum)
0 pages
Select title
(Texas death records)
1 click (minimum)
1 page (minimum)
1 click (minimum)
1 page
TOTAL 5 keystrokes (depending)
5 clicks (minimum)
5 pages (minimum)
3 keystrokes (depending)
6 clicks (minimum)
2 pages

What used to take five (or more) pages now is done in two. It is not necessary to type in the entire place name. As you type, a drop down list presents matching names. As soon as your desired place shows up, click on it.

(The old catalog has a slight edge on the minimum number of mouse clicks. However, the actual number of clicks is highly dependent on the amount of scrolling needed through long lists of subjects and titles. What the new catalog gains in reduced page count it loses in the long length of the pages.)

View the webinar to see a demonstration of the new catalog, or to get more information about all the features I’ve mentioned in this series of articles.

2 comments:

  1. Hi-

    I guess I am really cofused. I may be the only one who says this but who gives a rip about the number of keystrokes. Are they trying to say that it is quicker and easier to navigate through the site????

    I am not trying to be cynical, but aren't there others more important parts to blog about?

    Sorry for the negative comment

    ReplyDelete
  2. How does one get changes made in incorrect titles to some Historical Records in the Card Catalog? This affects both the process of ordering useful microfilm and creating accurate source citations.

    ReplyDelete