RootsTech 2015

Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

#InnovatorSummit -- Latest Updates from Key FamilySearch Executives #RootsTech

This is a panel discussion with Don Anderson, David Burgraff, Rod DeGiulio, Craig Miller, Shipley Munson and David Rencher, the complete title of the presentation is, "FamilySearch Industry Leader Town Hall -- The Latest Updates from Key Executives, Open Q and A." This might be a hard presentation to report because it is mostly question and answer. It looks like David Rencher is not here.

The first question is what is coming for developers. They are expanding and updating their APIs. There is documentation and rich content. The tools available for developers have expanded greatly in the past four years. There are APIs for the Historical Record Collections and will add one for Photos and Stories. FamilySearch is opening up their standards. All records will be available.

Question about partnership with Ancestry.com. All of the developers are working at using the APIs.
There is a comprehensive agreement with Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com. FamilySearch records will be providing access to each of these companies including findmypast.com. You will see emerge in each of these sites is to share record and tree information between sites.

Question about history of RootsTech app. Featured apps by smaller developers will be included in the FamilySearch Fun Space at the Exhibitors hall.

Question about Chinese records being added to Historical Record Collections and the indexing of these records. There is a lot going on there is an agreement with the Shanghai Library to exchange their records access for those with FamilySearch.

Questions about Photos, Both Tree and Photos are being rewritten within the next year. This will solve the permissions issues with living and dead people on Family Tree and in Photos.

Question about how records of living are handled within privacy rules. Moving towards permission based model to who will get to see your data. You may be able to share your living data.

Question about search engine capabilities problems with spelling variations. FS is developing a name standards system to handle variations. See Labs.FamilySearch.org to Standard Finder where you can enter in variations. Always working on improvement in search. Search is a balancing act between precision and recall. So they are trying to build search that extends beyond the present system.

Question about using APIs for exchanging data. FS spent a lot of time in GEDCOM but two years ago they began looking at new technology. The APIs were written to support both flat file and database applications. Current standard to address both. GEDCOM X is supposed to survive for the next ten years or so. It is not their goal to be the standard company of the world. Anyone can build to the APIs. They are using GEDCOM X to pass the large amounts of data with the present partners. They want to make this work with all data types.

Question can there be a link from a record to an outside source. They do not have a model to embed a link inside of FamilySearch. MyHeritage.com will be an option to FamilySearch within this year. You can embed a URL inside as a source now, but what was asked is tying the record to another genealogical site. Investigating uploading videos.

Question about correcting Indexing on Historical Records. Yes, in 2015.

Question about synching GEDCOM files with Family Tree. Large market share desktop genealogy programs might be able to synch later on this year. (Family Tree Maker?)

Question about GEDCOM alternative. GEDCOM X is with a wide number of companies. They encourage transformation or synchronization software.

Question about all the changes in FamilySearch. Come to the consultant training to learn about all the changes. Subscribe to the newsletters. Learn a lot faster. Attend the Family Development Day. The rate of change is going to increase. Regular and incremental changes rather than bigger. The site is now simpler to use.

Question about download and upload process. What about people uploading tons of garbage. The upload does not go up into the tree. It sits in the file until the upload is done one by one. Its all just software. They have done a lot to make it hard to add GEDCOM files to Family Tree.

Question about most effective to provide Feedback to FamilySearch. The Feedback Button. Get Satisfaction is used extensively in product improvement. User feedback is shaping the product. They say they are listening.

Question about merging people that are IOUSs. As soon as New.FamilySearch.org goes away all that will be able to occur. Merge magnets is the term used and they are trying to not make what is happening worse.

Question about making records available through WorldCat.org. They are pleased with OCLC project, they will likely to continue to add partnerships with cataloging programs.

Question about how to find out about changes. They are working on a new system of FAQs. There are helps but the support system is being changed. Go to the Help Line 1-866-406-1830. The changes should start showing up new changes more rapidly. Especially for Family History Center volunteers.

Question about having their own tree. The open system Wiki model does work (note they used the wiki word). Contact FS about people making unsourced changes and arbitrary changes. They will not do a private tree. Looking to do a curator system.

Question about noting changes with a popup or a helpbox. They are working on that on some functions.

Question about RootsMagic to Family Tree problems linking error. This is due to changes to API and it will be fixed.

Sorry about any typos. This is the only way I can keep up.




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