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Monday, June 14, 2010

New FamilySearch Beta Test

A recent announcement from FamilySearch began another round of Beta Testing of the New FamilySearch program. This particular Beta Test was aimed at three changes to the program. Quoting from the announcement E-mail:
We need your feedback on the following changes:
· New Discussions feature. This feature allows users to post and respond to discussions about deceased persons in the new FamilySearch. Users can share and coordinate information they have.
· New exact search feature. This feature allows users to do an advanced search in which they check which information (names, dates, or events) they want to be searched exactly as they entered the information.
· Revised standardized places feature. The process has changed to help the user choose standardized place names. Standardized place names help the system search for specific records.
·Numerous smaller changes that enhance performance and make the system easier to navigate.
There has been some discussion on one of the major problems facing users of the New FamilySearch program, that is, the number of duplicate individuals in the program and the inability of the users to correct or even comment on incorrect information. It is heartening to see that FamilySearch is addressing at least one of the problems; the ability to comment on the information contained in the file.

I had a short look at the comment or discussion feature and it seems to be a good start at giving people a forum to express their frustrations with the inaccurate additions. But, there is nothing that will alert a users to the need to check for discussion information. As is happening currently, unsophisticated users duplicate the information already in the file, by simply uploading a GEDCOM file or typing in their information without checking for duplicates. There is nothing in the Beta program that would alert a user to the fact that there was anything in the Discussion field, so it is likely to be ignored like the admonition to check for duplicates.

When anyone starts commenting on the Beta site, they should follow the instructions and read the known issues with the program before making any suggestions.

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