Thursday, October 21, 2010

FamilySearch Bloggers Day in Salt Lake continued -- Part Three

More observations and notes directly from the Bloggers Day at FamilySearch sitting in the briefing room. There are more questions and comments than could ever be reported, at least by me. (The views and observations in this post and others are my own, they are not necessarily those of the presenters or FamilySearch). As a note, I was worried about having electrical outlets to keep the computer and etc. running. There are about ten outlets every three feet or so everywhere.

Some of these notes may be rather obscure, I would suggest that you send me a comment with any questions. I will also try to clarify issues in future posts, if there is interest.

Observations and notes:

FamilySearch Indexing; Accessing microfilm is a process of negotiations with those claiming rights to the records. The process is acquisition, scanning, indexing, and publishing online. 3.5 billion images in the 2.4 million rolls of microfilm in the Granite Vault. Only 1.1 % of the records are now online. No collections are being added to Pilot FamilySearch all new records are going into the Record Search on Indexing started in 2006 and all of the public is invited to participate. 1/3 of the microfilms have now been digitized but obviously not yet available. Goal for 2010 is 200 million names indexed. There is an involved process in setting priorities for the setting up of projects for the Indexing participants based on a number of factors. It is estimated that it will be 10 more years to digitize the records in the Granite Vault and 300 years, at the present rate, to index the records. Many people do not even know that this project exists. Non-English speakers are needed for volunteers. They will be allowing indexers to see how their batches have been arbitrated. Quality is more important than quantity in the Indexing program.

Family History Library/FamilySearch Centers: There are 4600 Family History Centers and adding about 100 a year, mostly in Latin America, Africa and other countries. 6 million visits annually to Family History Centers with 50,000 volunteers. Day to day operation of the Centers is under the directors and local ecclesiastical leaders. 63% of patrons at the Family History Library find and ancestor when this is a goal. For anyone who uses a Family History Center computer, you may be aware of the survey request that pops up periodically, it is a good idea to take the survey. One of the issues is predictability of the Family History Center experience. There is also a concern that the Centers are open when they say they are. The plan is that space will be provided online for the FHCs to give information about their services and hours etc. Riverton is a substantially different Family History Center than the other regional centers. Questions about difference between digital and actual copies of books and their possible availability. FamilySearch is working on scanning equipment to allow patrons at FHCs to scan their own materials but this is still in development.

FamilySearch Online Research Courses: Goal is to deliver free online family history training to the world. Over 100 online research courses available today. There are included 31 Reading Handwritten Records lessons. FamilySearch is partnering with other genealogical organizations to provide instructional online presentations. There is also a goal to deliver core curriculum for beginners. The discussion revolved around the issue of providing an online mechanism for the dissemination and distribution of the online classes and other materials. This is an exciting area of development for the future.

In order to keep these posts at a manageable size, I will continue posting in series.

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