Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New features inside FamilySearch's Family History Library Catalog

Interestingly, a lot of the features of the FamilySearch online products go unheralded and virtually unnoticed. One newer feature involves searching in the Library Catalog. By the way, if you haven't noticed the Salt Lake Family History Library is slowly becoming known as a FamilySearch Center. Go to Beta.familysearch.org and you will see a menu item for FamilySearch Centers with the featured location of Salt Lake City. I would guess that the entire network of FamilyHistory Centers will be rebranded as FamilySearch Centers before too long. Here is a screen shot with the link to the FamilySearch Centers shown by the blue arrow:


 The red arrow shows the link to the new search engine for the Family History Library Catalog. If you click on the catalog link, you get a very simple search box with a drop down list of alternatives. If I do a search on a topic, such as the "Civil War," I get a long list of results, in this case, 8130. On the left side of the screen, I can now filter the list. Here is the new option: Digital Images. If I select digital images, I get a list of 75 items, all of which are available online in digital format. Clicking on the item, takes the user to the Family History Archives and a digital copy of the item. Here is another screen shot showing a book from the Family History Archives:

OK, here is another guess, we know that it has been a long time since any of the books being scanned by the Mesa Regional Family History Center have gone online. My guess is that FamilySearch is waiting to release the now Beta FamilySearch website before increasing the number of digitized items online. The two things are somehow related. Once the site is up, look for this new feature of being able to directly search for online items from the Library Catalog.

By the way, the feature is also available at the older FamilySearch.org website. If you do a Library Catalog search on any key word or title, there will be a button on the results page that will say Location Search, one of the locations listed is a link to online locations that filters the results to show those items available online.

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