I figured I had written enough in the last six posts for anyone who cared to have read, but I thought I would add just a short note on our visit to Salt Lake City and the headquarters of FamilySearch.
Here are some random observations:
FamilySearch is a large and complex organization. Although controlled, to some considerable extent, and sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is a separate company with a very delineated structure of employees. Although the whole Raison d'être of the company lies with Church doctrine, the employees are professionals in every sense of the word and do a very good job of balancing the religious mandates with the secular needs to get the job done of maintaining all of the FamilySearch resources.
I have read items online that somehow question either the motive or quality of the FamilySearch products and even that of the Family History Library on religious grounds. Although the extensive discussion of New FamilySearch may have less interest to those who do not yet have access, there was very little, if anything, in the very long discussion yesterday that did not apply generally to those outside the religious mandates.
The FamilySearch team is well aware of most of the limitations and flaws in the present program offerings and are working hard to overcome those difficulties in the context of the existing structures of the program. Sending feedback to FamilySearch on any of the websites or programs is essential to help them focus on the real world issues and concerns of the users.
I felt everything said by the Bloggers was well received and given careful consideration. The whole session was recorded on video to allow employees not present at the briefing to hear the comments made by the Bloggers. Just as I find the FamilySearch Help Center to be a valuable resource, I found the same attitude from those at FamilySearch. I thought they maintained quite a good attitude given the almost insurmountable issues with the data in New FamilySearch.
I felt that it was an extremely valuable experience and well worth the time to come to Salt Lake. I hope they do it again some time and I get invited. FamilySearch paid for travel expenses and meals for participants in the Bloggers’ day. There were no understanding or agreements concerning whether or how any Bloggers would cover the event.