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Sunday, September 12, 2010

FamilySearch.org status and update

Indications are that FamilySearch must be getting closer to releasing the new version of their FamilySearch.org website. This last week or so, a banner appeared on the original site inviting users to try the new beta version. There is also an invitation on the FamilyHistory Library startup page to try the beta version of the Family History Library Catalog which is incorporated in the beta site.

The beta site for FamilySearch.org is not new news. It has been around for many months in some form or another. It started out as a nearly empty shell on the FamilySearch Labs website (labs.familysearch.org) where it still resides. The newer beta site incorporates features of FamilySearch Record Search (pilot.familysearch.org), the FamilySearch Wiki site (wiki.familysearch.org) and FamilySearch Forums (forums.familysearch.org). At various times FamilySearch presenters have indicated that each of these now independent programs will cease to function independently but will be incorporated into a newer website called simply "familysearch.org." The present beta site is the present end product of that incorporation.

The present format of the Beta FamilySearch.org website is interesting, but upon implementation will probably create a whole set of questions from the users about where everything in the old site has gone, such as the International Genealogical Index and the Ancestral File. I am still a little undecided on the design of the new site since it follows the minimalist tendencies of web browsers, that is, try an guess where all the information is hidden.

The new Beta site has main tabs for "How To." "FamilySearch Centers," "Indexing," and a "Blog." There is a simple search form on the main start-up page with a few other selections. The Blog seems to have a number of writers and as a note, when I subscribed to the posts, the Blog came up as "FamilySearch.org - Indexing, Records, Resources" as the name of the blog. It appears that posts have become more frequent very recently. If you go to the Blog, you might want to check out the New and Press link. This link is a listing of Press Releases from FamilySearch.

In a post dated, September 7, 2010, LawyerDC listed the items included in a "Major Update for FamilySearch Beta." The list includes some design changes as well as historical records collections enhancements. The comments to the post are also interesting, showing that the site a ways to go before working properly.

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