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

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bits and Pieces -- IGI to RootsTech

In the old days when things got so complicated, we used to make an analogy to a "three ring circus." I don't think too many people think a circus, even one with three rings, is nearly as complicated as watching the Internet. I had so many ideas this week that I kept forgetting what I was going to do next and ended up working on what was right in front of me. Here are a few topics that bear attention:

The International Genealogical Index or IGI: The Ancestry Insider began a series of articles giving the historical background to the IGI and leading up to its disposition is updated FamilySearch website.  Some of what he said in this multi-part series I already knew, but much of it was very helpful background information. I have been hearing moaning and groaning about the "loss of the IGI" from all quarters recently and it is extremely important to realize as The Ancestry Insider says in his most recent post that "Because it was not designed as a tool for genealogists, the IGI osterized conclusions and evidence together in one big mess. I cringe to think of how many cases we have all witnessed of people using the IGI as if every entry was trustworthy. (I doubly cringe to think of the number of times in the 70s that I did it myself. But I digress…)" A very perceptive and appropriate comment.

For many years, I have seen the IGI used as if it were an original source. Because it was on the website and easily searchable, information was almost always copied out of the IGI and used just as it was as a conclusion of fact. It would be impossible to count how many genealogical databases around the world have information that came directly, without interpretation or evaluation, from the IGI. I can look at my own databases at a list of sources and I too used the IGI as a source. The Ancestry Insider's explanation puts into words what I have always knows about the IGI but did not verbalize. If you have ever used the IGI, take time to read this series of articles.

The next item on the weeks whirlwind is DearMYRTLE's "Seven examples of great genea-blogging." She appropriately cites The Ancestry Insider's post on the IGI as one of her first examples. I will certainly attend her Blogging for Beginners class at the Mesa Family History Expo (if I am not teaching a class at the same time). I may be able to spend some time commenting on her examples in the near future.

In another development, the LDSTech website was completely redesigned. Although this site does not directly deal with genealogy, the technology projects discussed in this site include many of the online resources and mobile resources affecting the genealogy community.

This week we had the first (I would guess of many) online Webinars with the BetterGEDCOM Wiki participants. The meeting went very well and it was interesting to hear the comments and see the wide range of participants, some of which I was surprised to see attend (but not really).

During this week at the Mesa Regional Family History Center, we continued our efforts to integrate the online resources and other individual and collective genealogical resources onto to the Wiki. This resource, which is available under the "Learn" tab on the website, as of today has 46,252 articles. We will be helping to establish a prototype for contributions to the Wiki from the 4,500+ family history centers across the world. I will shortly be establishing a WikiProject for the Center with the help of FamilySearch. I also recently became one of the FamilySearch Wiki:WikiProject Support Team members. released a new Tree Viewer. Included in the update was the following:
  • They increased the number of generations you can view at one time in the pedigree view
  • They made it possible to drag your tree around the screen to view more of your tree
  • They adjusted the borders so the view will expand to the full width and height of your monitor
  • They built a new family view so you can see more of your extended family like siblings, aunts and uncles.
Oh, there was more, but I need to get on with another project right now. I will be back with more news, updates, commentary and tirades in the future. I didn't forget RootsTech, which listed all of the Blogger Participants.

1 comment:

  1. James,

    Thank you for your kind words. Keep up the great job you're doing with your blog.

    -- The Ancestry Insider