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

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

#RootsTech 2016 -- Innovators Summit -- BYU The Cutting Edge

Academic research develops the technology of the future. Doing research in high risk areas, where the profits are not obvious. Some wins, some losses. Bill Barrett and Daniel Zappala
See the BYU Family History Technology Lab.

Reminder: For more information do Google searches on my notes.

Success Stories
Daniel Zappala -- 20 minute genealogy project. Started in 2009 at BYU. To expedite involvement in genealogy. Color coding the status of genealogical research on a fan-type chart. Leaf program on BYU. The product then became The technology then migrated to in the Family Tree.

Bill Barrett - developed technology to scan microfilm for Now digitizing millions of images into the Historical Record Collections. Scanstone project now scanning about 10 Terabytes of new sources records a day. Digital microfilm pipeline.

One of the most impressive efforts was also featured yesterday, the developments in handwriting technology. I will be writing more about this in the near future. They are also working on intelligent, automated indexing. They also mention Relative Finder and Virtual Pedigree.

Note: The WiFi here at the Salt Palace is currently provided by FamilySearch, but there is a commercially available system from the Salt Palace that tends to interfere with the reception.

Current Work -- 16th annual BYU Family History Technology Workshop from Daniel Zappala

  • Ancestor Cloud -- network of genealogists willing to provide research assistance worldwide. 
  • Our Story -- document stories of your life
  • Withu -- iPhone app for forming a social network. Putting the cost into a foundation that will continue to pay for connection.
  • Kid Chatteroo  - Record your children answering questions
  • Studio by Legacy Republic - built a digital studio in a briefcase that will let you digitize your documents. 
Today's personal history is tomorrows family history. 

Challenges of the future
  • Trepo -- open source online API for developers. Currently in Alpha stage.
  • TapGenes Data Privacy -- what can and cannot be shared
  • Tree Quality -- Discussed by FamilySearch trying to rank and categorize the quality of the information in the Family Tree. Help to assess which people in Family Tree need help. This is a proposed application. May be coming to the Family Tree. 
  • Visualizing historical maps visualizing where relatives lived and where they moved over time considering boundaries. Layers of different jurisdictions. 
Current Research
  • Automated Obituary Indexing -- This is one area I will be writing about when I have some time to get all the information. They are now at 90%+ accuracy and have started implementing this 
  • Checking auto-extracted data- contextual checking to see if the data is reasonable. 
  • Semi-automated transcription of hand writing recognition at the detailed level. 
  • Handwriting recognition with recurrent neural networks. 
  • Reading off-line handwriting. 
It is obvious that the next big thing is handwriting recognition. This is the most labor intensive part of genealogy. 

Their wish list of new programs and developments

What are they looking at: Virtual Pedigree and Find-A-Record
Looking for an automated research expert in an artificial intelligence program
Research Ties -- program for a research log
Looking ahead they want their own personal reminder program to help them with research

Working on collaboration
WikiTree profile managers 
FamilySearch is the last edit wins
They are looking to find a way to allow collaboration without the hassle.

Exploring Analytics
How complete is my family tree
How many documents have I found 
Has the quality of my tree improved over time

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