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Thursday, November 11, 2010

New features on Beta FamilySearch

It is certainly interesting to watch the changes as the website continues to grow and improve. Thanks to Sue Maxwell at Granite Genealogy for quickly noticing the newest changes. It looks like many of the improvements to the Search capability and Library Catalog that were discussed at the Bloggers' Day in Salt Lake, have now been added. The actual announcement discusses the features in depth.

I like the new "Give Back" page. The link is indicated by the red arrow:

Clicking on the link takes you to page offering links to FamilySearch Indexing, adding articles to the Wiki, making donations and giving feedback.

There are also marked improvements to searches in the Family History Library (FamilySearch Library) catalog:

FamilySearch has implemented the gazetteer function that was so useful in the older catalog search. By clicking on the place name search again, you get a list of associated place names. Here is FamilySearch's explanation of the changes:

We’ve wanted to enhance the Library Catalog for quite some time. With this release we’ve introduced the first of several enhancements to the catalog. You’ll notice when you do a place search in the catalog that the system now lets you choose a specific place from a list of known places in the catalog. This lets you easily narrow your search to just those items that apply to a specific place. We’ve also enhanced the search results when doing a place search to organize the results by subject. This makes it easy for you to see how many items are in the catalog for a given subject in a certain place.
  There are also some technical improvements to the search function described as follows:
We constantly monitor feedback about how search is working for people and make changes every release. One of the common points of feedback has been a sense of being overwhelmed with how many search results are returned. To help clarify the quality of the results we’ve added an indicator into the results that identifies where the exact and close matches stop and the partial matches start. We’ve also adjusted the design of the results preview arrow (the little arrow located on the far right of each row of results) to make it easier to see and easier to click on. The preview arrow lets you see more information about a record without having to leave the search results screen.
 Looks like real improvement with more changes to come.

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