|Charles Glancy, Peer Trees BYU Family History Technology Workshop|
My overall impression is that this is a fabulous time to be involved in genealogy. The technology will make a huge difference in the way we view the subject in the future. The older genealogists are not going to be prepared for all these changes for the most part. You can have a really interesting time learning about these programs. I will be very interested to write about these programs in the future. I have a long list right here of post topics.
Many of these programs focus on a connection with FamilySearch.org. I would think they will show up sometime in the FamilySearch Apps Gallery. I also got an understanding how short a time a two minute presentation takes. Many of these programs (apps) are focused on stories and history. I guess my questions arise as to how we connect stories into an accurate and well documented context. Another area is integrating timeline and historical context with family tree information. There is a basic assumption that the information in a particular family tree is accurate and that integrating that information is also accurate. I don't think I have quite the same level of confidence in the content of online family trees.
Some of these programs are aimed at crowd sourcing research tasks and monetizing the crowd sourcing by paying researchers to add information to online family trees.
Many of these programs are in the development stage but a few are already in use on the Internet. All of these programs are network based. Very few, if any, would be considered a "stand alone" program. It is apparent that the day of selling a program on a disk or CD is now dead. There is still software out there on disks of some sort, but their days are numbered.
I have to remark on Scanstone from BYU. This is a deal changer in automatically transcribing headstones. One BYU app that will show up shortly involves relationship views on FamilySearch Family Tree. The program will shortly show the proximity of relatives and expand the viewer to show your relationships to others. BYU also has the virtual pedigree, a new way of viewing records on FamilySearch. See Virtual Pedigree. Another programs involves Auto-zoning newspaper articles for the purpose of corpus development for training OCR systems. This program is aimed at OCR reading of obituaries. "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," Arthur C. Clarke.
One of the challenges I see is that if we assume that all of these really good ideas are put into applications, the quantity alone will become an issue. This is a good example of a type of feature creep, where new features begin to obscure some of the basic goals of doing family research.